|Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 11
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"WE DID IT OURSELVES." (BOOKER T. WASHINGTON PART SIXTEEN)
John Wooden Video Clip (65 sec.): Coach Wooden is asked: "What piece of advice do you wish you would have been given before you started coaching?" Very valuable insight.
Booker T. Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and adviser to several presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, he was the dominant leader of American educational innovation and reform.
In 1881, Mr. Washington arrived in Tuskegee to start the first school in Alabama where African American students could receive a post-secondary education to become teachers. He had no school building and no money. He describes what happened next in his 1901 autobiography, Up From Slavery:
"We had only the little old shanty and the abandoned church which the good Black people of the town of Tuskegee had kindly loaned us for the accommodation of the classes. The number of students was increasing daily."
Nothing could stop Booker T. Washington. He borrowed $250 from a friend and purchased an abandoned plantation for $500 with a promise to pay the balance in a year.
"I lost no time in getting ready to move the school on to the new farm. At the time we occupied the place there were standing upon it a cabin, formerly used as a dining room, an old kitchen, a stable, and an old henhouse. Within a few weeks we had all these structures in use. The stable and the henhouse were repaired and used as recitation-rooms.
Nearly all the work of getting the new location ready for school purposes was done by the students after school was over in the afternoon. As soon as we got the cabins in condition to be used, I determined to clear up some land so that we could plant a crop. I took my axe and led the way to the woods. When the students saw that I was not afraid or ashamed to work, they began to assist with enthusiasm. We kept at the work each afternoon, until we had cleared about twenty acres and had planted a crop. The first animal that the school came into possession of was an old blind horse given us by one of the citizens of Tuskegee."
Twenty years later Mr. Washington described what came of the one horse: "At the present time the school owns over two hundred horses, colts, mules, cows, calves, and oxen, and about seven hundred hogs and pigs, as well as a large number of sheep and goats."
The run-down shanty had become a self-sufficient educational mega center. The students all did the work themselves!
What’s in your wallet?
Yours in Coaching,
Forgotten petty difference now,
Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)
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