Top 10 Booker T. Washington Quotes

Booker Taliaferro Washington(April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an African-American educator, civil rights activist, and founder of Tuskegee University. 

Here are Booker T. Washington’s top ten most inspirational quotes:


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 overcome while trying to succeed.

man in hoodie standing in front of the mountain


We all should rise, above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness, and selfishness.

man sitting on rock during daytime


I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.

person standing on the cliffIV.

Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone that to be in bad company.

black and white photography of peopleV.

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.

silhouette of man and womanVI.

You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.

silhouette of man on mountain hill


Character, not circumstance, makes the man.

person standing near the cliff of the mountainVIII.

There are two ways of exerting one’s strength; one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.

silhouette of man standing on hill during starry nightIX.

Start where you are with what you have, knowing that what you have is plenty enough.

woman in blue jacket walking on desert during sunsetX.

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.

landscape photography of mountain hit by sun raysThank you Booker T. Washington!

Interesting Facts:

  • He was born into slavery and began working at age 5.
  • His middle name Taliaferro is Italian for “ironcutter”.
  • He was the first African-American on a US postage stamp.
  • He wrote two autobiographies, “The Story of My Life and Work” and “Up From Slavery”.

What are some of your favorite quotes?


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