Booker T. Washington fought his way out of slavery to become an educator, statesman, political shaper, and proponent of the "do it yourself" idea. In his autobiography, he describes his early life as a slave on a Virginia plantation, his steady rise during the Civil War, his struggle for education, his schooling at the Hampton Institute, and his years as founder and president of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, which was devoted to helping minorities learn useful, marketable skills. He gives an account of his travels, speeches, and meetings with various leaders, including Theodore Roosevelt in the White House. Employing a didactic tone, Washington deftly sets forth his belief that the black man's salvation lies in education, industriousness, and self-reliance. This is the true-life story of a man of real courage and dedication.