Initially, higher education for African Americans trained them to be teachers of and leaders in vocational education. This practice reflected the view that opportunities for African Americans would continue to be limited.
One of the most influential and controversial proponents of vocational education was Booker T. Washington (1856-1915). Born into a slave family in Franklin County, Washington attended Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (1872-75) and went on to develop Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute on the Hampton model. Washington believed that blacks should be educated for industrial and agricultural work. He was criticized for emphasizing vocational education at the expense of academic development and civil rights. Washington’s autobiography, Up from Slavery (1901), was translated into many languages and influenced, among others, the educational philanthropist Julius Rosenwald.