BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
few minutes, till I was sure that no passer-by could see me, and then crept under the sidewalk, and lay for the night upon the ground with my satchel for a pillow."
When he awoke in the morning, he found that he was near a large ship which was unloading a cargo of pig iron. He went directly to the ship, told the captain his situation, and asked for work in order that he might earn money with which to buy some food. The captain gave him work and was so well pleased with him that he gave him employment for several days. Washington was anxious to get enough money to take him to Hampton as soon as possible. So in order to save as much of his wages as possible, he continued to sleep under the sidewalk where he slept the first night he arrived.
Many years after that, he was given a great reception in Richmond, at a place near this spot, and Washington says that his mind was more upon that sidewalk that night than it was upon the great reception given him by the two thousand people present.
After a few days of work in unloading the vessel, he felt that he had enough money to take him to Hampton; so he continued his journey. Several days later he reached Hampton, with just exactly fifty cents.
What a wonderful journey it had been! And
- "Up from Slavery," by Booker T. Washington, pp. 48-49.