Booker T. Washington was born in Franklin County, Virginia in a slave cabin. He believed that education was the most important way to achieve success and happiness in life. While he was a boy, he worked in salt mines in West Virginia. When he was 15, he left his home and went to Hampton Institute where he cleaned buildings and classrooms to pay for his college tuition. In 1881, Washington had been picked to be a leader to a brand new school for blacks called Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. After that, he became a leader. He was the leader for black Americans who fought for integration and equality. Booker T. Washington was a great man that soon turned out to be one of the most powerful African-Americans of his time.