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Booker T. Washington recalls the poverty and racial discrimination of the Reconstruction Era. To help the family subsist, he went to work in salt furnaces and coal mines at the age of nine. His deep longing for an education caused him to walk hundreds of miles from West Virginia to enroll in the Hampton Institute, a school for black students. Washington became an instructor, founded the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and became one of the foremost black educators in the United States.