Page:Boys Life of Booker T. Washington.djvu/48

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The highest honor at Hampton was to be selected as commencement speaker. This honor Booker was anxious to win. He worked very hard for it, and, when commencement day came in June, 1875, he sat on the platform among the honor men of his class as one of the orators. He was given his diploma, and his college days were over.

He had done a good job. He had done the kind of work that makes real men. He had trained his mind and his hands. He had built character. He was not ashamed. He could hold his head up and look the world in the face. He had learned to help himself. He was independent and had gained self-confidence and self-control. He knew little of Latin, but he knew much of labor. He knew no Greek, but he knew how to dig. He knew the soil. He knew people. He was ready for the great work that lay before him.