Page:Boys Life of Booker T. Washington.djvu/62

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BOOKER T. WASHINGTON


General Armstrong wrote at once about Washington. The next Sunday night, during the chapel exercises, a telegram was handed to General Armstrong. It was from the committee in Alabama. He opened it, and read it to the audience. It said: "Booker Washington will suit us. Send him at once."[1]

Washington prepared to go at once to his new field. After finishing his work at Hampton, he paid a visit to his old home at Malden, and a couple of weeks later, early in June, he arrived at Tuskegee, Alabama, to begin his new task.

Tuskegee at this time was a quiet little town of about two thousand inhabitants. It is on a small branch railroad, five miles from the main line, which runs from Atlanta, Georgia, to Montgomery, Alabama. The town is about fifty miles from Montgomery. It is right in the heart of what is known as the "Black Belt" in the South. A large and typical population lived round about. The town was the county seat of Macon County, in which lived a large number of negro farmers, all living very much as the negro family lived in the South at that time. The white people and the negroes were about equal in population in the town and lived in cordial and friendly relations.

Booker Washington had a great surprise awaiting him when he reached Tuskegee. He thought that this school that he was to be the head of was

  1. "Up from Slavery," by Booker T. Washington, p. 107.