Booker T. Washington Quote on Emancipation


“As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom…. [S]ome man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.”

– Booker T. Washington

Black-and-white portrait of Booker T. Washington sitting with his body slightly turned to the right. He is wearing a formal three-piece suit with a vest, white shirt, and bow tie. His expression is serious and contemplative, and he looks directly at the camera with clear eyes. The background is plain and dark, focusing all attention on his visage and attire.
Booker T. Washington


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Booker T. Washington Quote on Emancipation Sources

Washington, Booker T. Up from Slavery: An Autobiography. New York: Doubleday, Page, 1901 / Portrait taken circa 1905 – Johnston, Frances Benjamin, photographer. Booker T. Washington, half-length portrait, seated. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>. / Wikimedia Commons