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Specific Purpose: After hearing my speech, my audience will be able to name 2 major achievements of Booker T. Washington.
Central Idea: Booker T. Washington not only founded Tuskegee Institute, but he is also considered one of America’s great orators.


  1. Most of us dream of excelling in one career, but can you imagine excelling in over 6?! The person I’m going to be talking about today did just that. He was an orator, civil rights activist, professor, organization founder, educational administrator, author, and poet. Can anyone guess of whom I’m speaking?

  1. Well, if you said Booker T. Washington, you’d be right.

  1. You may be sitting there wondering what Booker T. Washington has to do with you and why I would choose to speak about him. The reason is this…without Booker T. Washington’s contribution to the civil rights movement; many of us wouldn’t be sitting in this classroom today.

  1. Admittedly, I am not an expert on his life, but I did become interested in him last semester in my History 101 course so I decided to do further research on this fascinating man.

  1. Since I couldn’t possibly tell you everything about his life in 5-7 minutes, I want to concentrate on 2 areas that affect you and me the most: his founding of Tuskegee Institute and his career as an orator.

(Transition: Let’s look first at the founding of Tuskegee



  1. Booker T. Washington is best known for founding Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

    1. growth of school under Washington’s guidance was


      1. when the school opened in 1881, it had one

dilapidated building and 40 students

      1. upon his death in 1915, it occupied 2,000

acres, had over 1,500 students, and 200


    1. Tuskegee remains a leader in applied research and

practical education.
(Transition: Now that we have looked at Washington as

founder of Tuskegee Institute, let’s look at his career as an


  1. Booker T. Washington is known as one of the ablest

speakers in American history.
    1. He delivered approximately 4,000 speeches

in his 30-year career as an orator.

    1. the “Atlanta Exposition Address” of 1895 is his most

famous speech

1. he urged blacks to strive for economic advance-

ment rather than to agitate for immediate social


2. speech remains highly controversial

a. some praise speech as a brilliant example of

audience adaptation in a difficult situation

b. others condemn it for failing to denounce

racial segregation and inequality


I. In closing, I would like to reiterate how great a man Booker

T. Washington was – from his founding of Tuskegee Institute

to his ability as an orator.

II. I leave you with this quote from 1908 by Ray Stannard Baker

(an investigative journalist for American Magazine);

“Measured by any standard, white or black, Washington must

be regarded today as one of the great men of the country and

will be so honored in the future as well.”

  • The structure and organization on this outline is excellent. However, the highlighted areas show areas of weakness.

  • The highlighted area in the relevancy section leads us to believe that the speech will be about BTW’s life as a civil rights activist (which it isn’t).

  • The highlighted area in the credibility section begins by negating all of the speaker’s authority. Leave these types of comments out of your speech.

  • Lastly, the ending quote (although not bad), leaves the audience hanging and seems to beg for a concluding statement to wrap everything up.


  1. Booker T. Washingtons̓ Own Story of His Life and Work; Washington, Booker T. and Holsey, Albon L. J.L. Nichols Co., 1915.

  1. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915);


  1. Interview with Dr. John Doe, Professor of History at University of Higher Learning, September 9, 2011

  1. Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901-1915; Harlan, Louis R.; Oxford Paperbacks, 1987.

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