Born a slave, Booker T. Washington (18561915) studied at the Hampton Institute in Virginia and went on to become the first director of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Washington was a lecturer and writer and published his autobiography Up From Slavery in 1901.
Johnson's painting of Washington shows the famous African-American leader educating a group of students. Johnson also depicts a shovel, wheels, a plow, books, and writing implements to symbolized the "tools" that Washington felt were necessary to advance African Americans after emancipation from slavery.
Booker T. Washington Legend
oil on plywood
82.9 x 64.2 cm (32 5/8 x 25 1/4 in.)
Gift of the Harmon Foundation