Is There Life After Work? - The New York Times

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log cabin, about fourteen by sixteen feet square

School would always be begun before Ireached it, and sometimes my class had recited. Toget around this difficulty I yielded to a temptationfor which most people, I suppose, will condemn me;but since it is a fact, I might as well state it. I havegreat faith in the power and influence of facts. It isseldom that anything is permanently gained by holdingback a fact. There was a large clock in a littleoffice in the furnace. This clock, of course, all thehundred or more workmen depended upon to regulatetheir hours of beginning and ending the day'swork. I got the idea that the way for me to reachschool on time was to move the clock hands fromhalf-past eight up to the nine o'clock mark. ThisI found myself doing morning after morning, tillthe furnace "boss" discovered that something waswrong, and locked the clock in a case. I did notmean to inconvenience anybody. I simply meantto reach that schoolhouse in time.

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since been known. Later in my life I found thatmy mother had given me the name of "BookerTaliaferro" soon after I was born, but in some waythat part of my name seemed to disappear and fora long while was forgotten, but as soon as I foundout about it I revived it, and made my full name"Booker Taliaferro Washington." I think thereare not many men in our country who have had theprivilege of naming themselves in the way that I have.

People often ask me if I feel nervous beforespeaking, or else they suggest that, since I speak sooften, they suppose that I get used to it. In answerto this question I have to say that I always sufferintensely from nervousness before speaking. Morethan once, just before I was to make an importantaddress, this nervous strain has been so great thatI have resolved never again to speak in public. Inot only feel nervous before speaking, but after Ihave finished I usually feel a sense of regret, becauseit seems to me as if I had left out of my address themain thing and the best thing that I had meant to say.


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The time that I was permitted to attend schoolduring the day was short, and my attendance wasirregular. It was not long before I had to stopattending day-school altogether, and devote all ofmy time again to work. I resorted to thenight-school again. In fact, the greater part of theeducation I secured in my boyhood was gatheredthrough the night-school after my day's work wasdone. I had difficulty often in securing asatisfactory teacher. Sometimes, after I had securedsome one to teach me at night, I would find, muchto my disappointment, that the teacher knew butlittle more than I did. Often I would have towalk several miles at night in order to recite mynight-school lessons. There was never a time inmy youth, no matter how dark and discouragingthe days might be, when one resolve did notcontinually remain with me, and that was adetermination to secure an education at any cost.

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railroad - that I had traversed nearly six yearsbefore, when I first sought entrance into HamptonInstitute as a student. Now I was able to ridethe whole distance in the train. I was constantlycontrasting this with my first journey to Hampton.I think I may say, without seeming egotism, thatit is seldom that five years have wrought such achange in the life and aspirations of an individual.