The boy Booker, was born into slavery. The man Booker T. Washington, was an advisor to two presidents of the United States of America. When Booker T. Washington says it is character, not circumstances that makes the man, the man is speaking from experience.
After the emancipation, Booker taught himself to read and began attending school. At that time he needed to come up with a last name (never knowing who his father was he didn’t have one). So he chose the name of Washington, his stepfather. On the way to becoming a man, the boy named himself.
Working in salt furnaces and coal mines to make money, Booker Washington made his way through post-secondary school. By the time he was 25 he was the first leader of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute – now Tuskegee University.
Positive that the best way to enable blacks to gain equal rights was to demonstrate, “industry, thrift, intelligence and property,” he helped raise funds to open up hundreds of schools for blacks.
On close terms with the Republican Party, both presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft often asked Booker’s political advice.
Belief in potential
A strong belief in potential, his own and the potential of his community made Booker T. Washington a man on a mission. According to Wikipedia, “He believed that by providing needed skills to society, African Americans would play their part, leading to acceptance by White Americas. He believed that blacks would eventually gain full participation in society by acting as responsible, reliable, American citizens.”
Character can be adapted
No matter what circumstances we were born into, or what our situation now, each of us has the ability to make positive changes within ourselves to enable us to work towards a better tomorrow. Circumstances may be out of our control. Character can be adapted.