117+ Best Booker T. Washington Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Booker Taliaferro Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to multiple presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African-American community known as a Black elite. Inspirational Booker T. Washington quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for life quotes and sayings that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of inspirational George Washington Carver quotes, amazing powerful Susan B. Anthony quotes, and most inspiring Martin Luther King Jr quotes.

Most Famous Booker T. Washington Quotes

Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work. – Booker T. Washington

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. – Booker T. Washington

There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. – Booker T. Washington

I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed. – Booker T. Washington

We all should rise, above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness, and selfishness. – Booker T. Washington

Every person who has grown to any degree of usefulness, every person who has grown to distinction, almost without exception has been a person who has risen by overcoming obstacles, by removing difficulties, by resolving that when he met discouragement he would not give up. – Booker T. Washington

No white American ever thinks that any other race is wholly civilized until he wears the white man’s clothes, eats the white man’s food, speaks the white man’s language, and professes the white man’s religion. – Booker T. Washington

No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. – Booker T. Washington

I believe that my race will succeed in proportion as it learns to do a common thing in an uncommon manner; learns to do a thing so thoroughly that no one can improve upon what it has done; learns to make its services of indispensable value. – Booker T. Washington

There is no escape – man drags man down, or man lifts man up. – Booker T. Washington

Dignify and glorify common labor. It is at the bottom of life that we must begin, not at the top. – Booker T. Washington

Lay hold of something that will help you, and then use it to help somebody else. – Booker T. Washington

You go to school, you study about the Germans and the French, but not about your own race. I hope the time will come when you study black history too. – Booker T. Washington

Too often the educational value of doing well what is done, however little, is overlooked. One thing well done prepares the mind to do the next thing better. Not how much, but how well, should be the motto. One problem thoroughly understood is of more value than a score poorly mastered. – Booker T. Washington

Remember that everyone’s life is measured by the power that individual has to make the world better-this is all life is. – Booker T. Washington

In order to be successful in any undertaking, I think the main thing is for one to grow to the point where he completely forgets himself; that is, to lose himself in a great cause. In proportion as one loses himself in this way, in the same degree does he get the highest happiness out of his work. – Booker T. Washington

Whenever your life touches mine, you make me stronger of weaker… there is no escape… people drag others or lift others up. – Booker T. Washington

Leaders have devoted themselves to politics, little knowing, it seems that political independence disappears without economic independence that economic independence is the foundation of political independence. – Booker T. Washington

The thing to do when one feels sure that he has said or done the right thing and is condemned, is to stand still and keep quiet. If he is right, time will show it. – Booker T. Washington

No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race, he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts. – Booker T. Washington

In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. – Booker T. Washington

Living is the art of loving. Loving is the art of caring. Caring is the art of sharing. Sharing is the art of living. If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. – Booker T. Washington

If no other consideration had convinced me of the value of the Christian life, the Christ like work which the Church of all denominations in America has done during the last 35 years for the elevation of the black man would have made me a Christian. – Booker T. Washington

I believe that any man’s life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement, if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day, and as nearly as possible reaching the high-water mark of pure and useful living. – Booker T. Washington

There is no defense or security for any of us except in the highest intelligence and development of all. – Booker T. Washington

…those who are guilty of such sweeping criticisms [of the rich] do not know how many people would be made poor, and how much sufering would result, if wealthy people were to part all at once with any large proportion of their wealth in a way to disorganize and cripple great business enterprises. – Booker T. Washington

“I think I have learned, in some degree at least, to disregard the old maxim “”””Do not get others to do what you can do yourself.”””” My motto on the other hand is; “”””Do not do that which others can do as well.” – Booker T. Washington

Progress, progress is the law of nature; under God it shall be our eternal guiding star. – Booker T. Washington

We shall prosper as we learn to do the common things of life in an uncommon way. Let down your buckets where you are. – Booker T. Washington

The longer I live and the more I study the question, the more I am convinced that it is not so much the problem of what you will do with Negro, as what the Negro will do with you and your ‘civilization’. – Booker T. Washington

One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him. – Booker T. Washington

Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others. – Booker T. Washington

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him. – Booker T. Washington

The highest test of the civilization of any race is in its willingness to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. – Booker T. Washington

The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what the man or woman is able to do that counts. – Booker T. Washington

Educated men and women, especially those who are in college, very often get the idea that religion is fit only for the common people. No young man or woman can make a greater error than this. – Booker T. Washington

We must not only become reliable, progressive, skillful and intelligent, but we must keep the idea constantly before our youths that all forms of labor, whether with the hand or head, are honorable. – Booker T. Washington

At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the bottom of religion, there must be for our race economic independence. – Booker T. Washington

Character, not circumstances, makes the man. – Booker T. Washington

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. – Booker T. Washington

Never let your work drive you. Master it and keep it in complete control. – Booker T. Washington

Ignorance is more costly to any State than education. – Booker T. Washington

It often requires more courage to suffer in silence than to rebel, more courage not to strike back than to retaliate, more courage to be silent than to speak. – Booker T. Washington

You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you have to overcome to reach your goals. – Booker T. Washington

I early learned that it is a hard matter to convert an individual by abusing him, and that this is more often accomplished by giving credit for all the praiseworthy actions performed than by calling attention alone to all the evil done. – Booker T. Washington

In any country, regardless of what its laws say, wherever people act upon the idea that the disadvantage of one man is the good of another, there slavery exists. Wherever, in any country the whole people feel that the happiness of all is dependent upon the happiness of the weakest, there freedom exists. – Booker T. Washington

Success always leaves footprints. – Booker T. Washington

The man who has learned to do something better than anyone else, has learned to do a common thing in an uncommon manner, is the man who has a power and influence that no adverse circumstances can take from him. – Booker T. Washington

The individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of his race. – Booker T. Washington

There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, simple and useful life. – Booker T. Washington

Great men cultivate love and only little men cherish a spirit of hatred; assistance given to the weak makes the one who gives it strong; oppression of the unfortunate makes one weak. – Booker T. Washington

I shall never permit myself to stoop so low as to hate any man. – Booker T. Washington

There is a certain class of race problem-solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public. – Booker T. Washington

The happiest people are those who do the most for others. The most miserable are those who do the least. – Booker T. Washington

Most leaders spend time trying to get others to think highly of them, when instead they should try to get their people to think more highly of themselves. It’s wonderful when the people believe in their leader. It’s more wonderful when the leader believes in their people! You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him. – Booker T. Washington

Success waits patiently for anyone who has the determination and strength to seize it. – Booker T. Washington

I would permit no man, no matter what his color might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him. – Booker T. Washington

There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up. – Booker T. Washington

Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color. One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him. – Booker T. Washington

Never get to the point where you will be ashamed to ask anybody for information. The ignorant man will always be ignorant if he fears that by asking another for information, he will display ignorance. Better once display your ignorance of a certain subject than always know nothing of it. – Booker T. Washington

Decide to be your best. In the long run the world is going to want and have the best and that might as well be you. – Booker T. Washington

Political activity alone cannot make a man free. Back of the ballot, he must have property, industry, skill, economy, intelligence, and character. – Booker T. Washington

Holding a grudge does not hurt the person against whom the grudge is held, it hurts the one who holds it. – Booker T. Washington

I never liked the atmosphere of Washington . I early saw that it was impossible to build up a race of which the leaders were spending most of their time, thought and energy in trying to get into office, or in trying to stay there after they were in. – Booker T. Washington

Start where you are with what you have, knowing that what you have is plenty enough. – Booker T. Washington

Think about it: we went into slavery pagans; we came out Christians. We went into slavery pieces of property; we came out American citizens. We went into slavery with chains clanking about our wrists; we came out with the American ballot in our hands. – Booker T. Washington

The wisest among my race understand that agitations of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. – Booker T. Washington

I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed. – Booker T. Washington

The circumstances that surround a man’s life are not important. How that man responds to those circumstances IS IMPORTANT. His response is the ultimate determining factor between success and failure. – Booker T. Washington

The older I grow, the more I am convinced that there is no education which one can get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be gotten from contact with great men and women. – Booker T. Washington

Those who have accomplished the greatest results are those…who never grow excited or lose self-control, but are always calm, self-possessed, patient and polite. – Booker T. Washington

You may fill your heads with knowledge or skillfully train your hands, but unless it is based upon high, upright character, upon a true heart, it will amount to nothing. You will be no better than the most ignorant. – Booker T. Washington

We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary. – Booker T. Washington

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him. – Booker T. Washington

Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon. – Booker T. Washington

If you can’t read, it’s going to be hard to realize dreams. – Booker T. Washington

We do not want the men of another color for our brothers-in-law, but we do want them for our brothers. – Booker T. Washington

Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company. – Booker T. Washington

You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him. – Booker T. Washington

To hold a man down, you have to stay down with him. – Booker T. Washington

No man, who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward. – Booker T. Washington

I let no man drag me down so low as to make me hate him. – Booker T. Washington

The time will come when the Negro in the South will be accorded all the political rights which his ability, character, and material possessions entitle him to. – Booker T. Washington

It means a great deal, I think, to start off on a foundation which one has made for oneself. – Booker T. Washington

I think I have learned that the best way to lift one’s self up is to help someone else. – Booker T. Washington

Mere connection with what is known as a superior race will not permanently carry an individual forward unless the individual has worth. – Booker T. Washington

A race, like an individual, lifts itself up by lifting others up. – Booker T. Washington

Let our opportunities overshadow our grievances. – Booker T. Washington

The negro has within him immense power for self-uplifting, but for years it will be necessary to guide and stimulate him. – Booker T. Washington

From some things that I have said one may get the idea that some of the slaves did not want freedom. This is not true. I have never seen one who did not want to be free, or one who would return to slavery. – Booker T. Washington

Do not do that which others can do as well. – Booker T. Washington

Each one should remember there is a chance for him. – Booker T. Washington

The actual sight of a first-class house that a Negro has built is ten times more potent than pages of discussion about a house that he ought to build, or perhaps could build. – Booker T. Washington

You must understand the troubles of that man farthest down before you can help him. – Booker T. Washington

I learned the lesson that great men cultivate love, and that only little men cherish a spirit of hatred. I resolved then that I would permit no man, no matter what his color, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him. – Booker T. Washington

An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction. – Booker T. Washington

I believe that one always does himself and his audience an injustice when he speaks merely for the sake of speaking. I do not believe that one should speak unless, deep down in his heart, he feels convinced that he has a message to deliver. – Booker T. Washington

The Negro is not the man farthest down. The condition of the colored farmer in the most backward parts of the Southern States of America, even where he has the least education and the least encouragement, is incomparably better than the condition and opportunities of the agricultural population in Sicily. – Booker T. Washington

To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbor, I would say ‘Cast down your bucket where you are.’ – Booker T. Washington

No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. – Booker T. Washington

My whole life has largely been one of surprises. – Booker T. Washington

By habits of thrift and economy, by way of the industrial school and college, we are coming up. We are crawling up, working up, yea, bursting up-often through oppression, unjust discrimination and prejudice-but through them all we are coming up, and with proper habits, intelligence, and property, there is no power on earth than can permanently stay our progress. – Booker T. Washington

Don’t ever let them pull you down so low as to hate them. (also cited as: I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.) – Booker T. Washington

Let us keep before us the fact that, almost without exception, every race or nation that has ever got upon its feet has done so through struggle and trial and persecution; and that out of this very resistance to wrong, out of the struggle against odds, they have gained strength, self-confidence, and experience which they could not have gained in any other way. – Booker T. Washington

We must reinforce argument with results. – Booker T. Washington

A sure way for one to lift himself up is by helping to lift someone else. – Booker T. Washington

A life is not worth much of which it cannot be said, when it comes to its close, that it was helpful to humanity. – Booker T. Washington

In my contact with people, I find that, as a rule, it is only the little, narrow people who live for themselves, who never read good books, who do not travel, who never open up their souls in a way to permit them to come into contact with other souls – with the great outside world. – Booker T. Washington

An inch of progress is worth a yard of complaint. – Booker T. Washington

In proportion as one renders service he becomes great. – Booker T. Washington

I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery. – Booker T. Washington

Many strikes and similar disturbances might be avoided if the employers would cultivate the habit of getting nearer to their employees, of consulting and advising with them, and letting them feel that the interests of the two are the same. – Booker T. Washington

If I have done anything in life worth attention, I feel sure that I inherited the disposition from my mother. – Booker T. Washington

No one can degrade us except ourselves. – Booker T. Washington

If you truly want to measure the success of a man, you do not measure it by a position he has achieved, but by the obstacles he has overcome. – Booker T. Washington

In all things social we can be as seperate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. – Booker T. Washington

It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of those privileges. – Booker T. Washington

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