MAAP | Mapping the African American Past

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Thelma Jackson-Abidally on the Booker T. Washington Home
Thelma Jackson-Abidally, a community activist, shares some history of Booker T. Washington’s summer home in Fort Solonga, a structure she helped preserve.
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Booker T. Washington born into slavery in 1856. Founding the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and publishing Up from Slavery, Washington was among the most influential people of his time.

Portrait of Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington's summer home is privately owned. Community based efforts to preserve and restore the house are ongoing.

View of the Booker T. Washington House

Booker T. Washington House

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in 1856, and labored on the Burroughs tobacco farm in Virginia. Nine years later, he and his family were freed as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation and moved to West Virginia, where he worked in the salt mines while attending school. He later attended Hampton Institute, which had been founded in 1868 to offer opportunities to southern African Americans. Years later in 1881 Washington capitalized on his experience at the Institute to found the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He presided over the University until his death in 1915. Washington is remembered as an educator, author, proponent for African American education, and a prominent leader in the African American community.

Between the years 1911 and 1915, Washington traveled from Alabama to Fort Salonga for rest and relief from the hottest months of the summer. Located on the north shore of Long Island in the Town of Huntington, Fort Salonga was a peaceful, scenic place for the Washington family to spend their vacations. Their two-story summer home stood on a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound and the family worshipped at the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Huntington. Washington taught Sunday school there, and gave several speeches in the area. His house still stands but it is threatened by coastal erosion and local development.

Washington authored four books, including the autobiographical Up From Slavery. He spent the last few summers of his life in Fort Salonga, leaving behind a legacy of activism in causes related to African American rights and education in both the North and South.

This entry contributed by the Center for Public Archaeology at Hofstra University

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Video
Thelma Jackson-Abidally, a community activist, shares some history of Booker T. Washington’s summer home in Fort Solonga, a structure she helped preserve.

Images
Booker T. Washington's summer home is privately owned. Community based efforts to preserve and restore the house are ongoing.
Booker T. Washington's summer home is privately owned. Community based efforts to preserve and restore the house are ongoing.
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in 1856. Founding the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and publishing Up from Slavery, Washington was among the most influential people of his time.



Produced by CCNMTL, Chase, Teachers College, and CCI