I recently finished reading Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery. I expected it to be interesting (or else I wouldn’t have read it) but I was a little surprised by how unputdownable it was in the first half of the book. The later chapters were mainly about speaking tours and fund-raising for the Tuskegee Institute and was less interesting to me.
Overall it was a worthwhile, educational read. You get from it a slightly different picture of the era of slavery and the first decades after emancipation. Of course, Washington himself may not have had the complete picture even though he was there. He seems to have been well-treated by white people. In his writing he comes across as a polite and optimistic person. In some ways also, he seems naive but I don’t think he actually was. He just saw the value of looking on the bright side and believing that the near future would be much better. Here are a few quotes:
The individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of race.
When bills are on the eve of falling due, with not a dollar in hand with which to meet them, it is pretty difficult to learn not to worry, although I think I am learning more and more each year that all worry simply consumes, and to no purpose, just so much physical and mental strength that might otherwise be given to effective work.
No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual, and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is long left without proper reward.
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Last week I downloaded, from Project Gutenberg, several classic science fiction books and stories. The Burning Bridge by Poul Anderson is a fairly simple story but, though it is over 50 years old, it does not seem especially dated. A group of political dissenter colonists are on route to their new home when they receive a transmission from Earth informing them that there has been a change in leadership and that they should turn around and come back to Earth so they must decide whether to return or continue.
Two nights ago I started reading City of Endless Night, a novel by Milo M. Hastings. It was written after the end of World War I but well before the beginning of WWII. It has WWII not happening until 1988. The action takes place decades after that. And it seems the Germans are still the bad guys. That’s about all I know so far. More after I have finished it.