Up from Slavery.

Blockson —“The book’s reputation was not confined to the United States…”


The critically-acclaimed, second autobiography of Booker T. Washington, African American educator, author, orator, and first principal of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, today Tuskegee University (HBCU).

First published in England in 1901 by T. Fisher Unwin, this scarce 1902 edition was published by the London firm Grant Richards. Of the seven institutions we locate that own this edition, only one copy is found in America, at Howard University.

In Up from Slavery, Washington discusses his and his wife’s 1899 three-month trip to Europe which included a visit to England:

Very soon after reaching London we were flooded with invitations to attend all manner of social functions, and a great many invitations came to me asking that I deliver public addresses. …  It was a great privilege to meet throughout England those who had known and honoured the late William Lloyd Garrison, the Hon. Frederick Douglass, and other abolitionists. The English abolitionists with whom we came in contact never seemed to tire of talking about these two Americans. Before going to England I had had no proper conception of the deep interest displayed by the abolitionists of England in the cause of freedom, nor did I realize the amount of substantial help given by them.

When Washington died in 1915, British students and teachers in New York sent an enormous Union Jack in tribute.

Blockson 101 #51 (for First American Edition): “Washington’s Up From Slavery is listed among the most widely read autobiographies […]The book’s reputation was not confined to the United States and was ultimately published in more than twelve languages […] One scholar stated that Up From Slavery was possibly as familiar to the American reader as Franklin’s Autobiography.”


Description: Up from Slavery.

London: Grant Richards, 1902. Frontispiece portrait, viii, 330 pages. 8vo. Publisher’s red cloth with gilt titling. Spine slightly cocked and lettering dulled; brief wear to ends of spine and to gilt lettering on front board; foxing to title-page, Dedication, and seen scattered throughout text; Good.

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