February 3

Booker T. Washington – Influential speaker and educator who learned conjuring and folk magic from an enslaved uncle as a child.


Booker T. Washington's experience with folk magic as a child:

Booker T. Washington and the Magical Roots of His Journey

Booker T. Washington grew up to become one of the most prominent African American leaders in history. As an influential speaker, author and educator, he advocated for racial uplift through education and entrepreneurship. But where did he gain the vision and conviction that fueled his monumental achievements? As a child, Washington learned the arts of conjuring and folk magic from his enslaved uncle, which some say imbued his life's work with deeper purpose.

Washington was born into slavery in 1856 on a Virginia tobacco farm. Though denied formal education, he displayed curiosity and wisdom from a young age. His uncle was brought to the farm from another plantation and took notice of the bright young boy. In secret lessons away from the white masters, his uncle taught him the folk magic practices that enslaved Africans had carefully preserved from their ancestral roots.

Under the tutelage of his uncle, Washington learned herb-lore, divination, ritual symbolism, and how to craft charms for protection and luck. These mystical skills gave Washington a sense of power over his circumstances and perhaps planted the seeds of his later educational aspirations for himself and others. While slavery sought to strip Africans of their heritage and autonomy, these lessons kept alive mystical traditions passed down from elder to youth through centuries.

After emancipation, Washington worked tirelessly to open schools and spread education as the path to advancement for African Americans. As a child, his uncle's teachings showed him the power and promise of learning, even in a system that denied it. The charms he learned warded off harm and strengthened his resolve. The messages within conjuring affirmed human dignity.

Some say Washington used his magical knowledge throughout his career to read people's intentions and foresee challenges ahead. Though he does not speak directly of these experiences, they shaped the leader he became - one with unique talents to uplift his people against all odds. What others saw as only oppression, Washington saw opportunity - perhaps the greatest magic of all.

Booker T. Washington Learningtogive.org

Booker T Washington HistoryCooperative.org

Booker T. Washington: An Education | The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

Booker T Washington DocSouthUNC.EDU

Booker T Washington The History Channel


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