America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Booker T. Washington National Monument

Booker T. Washington National Monument, Virginia

In some ways, the least important part of Booker T. Washington's life was spent on this farm in Hardy, Virginia, now reconstructed as a National Monument, due to all the fantastic and important achievements in his life to come. In other ways, the rise of Washington from slavery on this farm, his upbringing by his mother, and the overcome to become one of the preeminent educators in the history of the United States could not be more important. Without this past, it would be difficult to understand the importance of his future. And that future, boy, was it important, whether that be his early education days at the Hampton Institute or the more prominent years as a educator at Tuskegee. So if you get the chance to travel through the western mountains of Virginia some day, take the opportunity to learn where Washington came from and how far he went. It's an important story of Americana bad and what would become great. Image above: Farm at Booker T. Washington National Monument, Melissa Johnson. Courtesy National Park Service.

Sponsor this page for $100 per year. Your banner or text ad can fill the space above.
Click here to Sponsor the page and how to reserve your ad.

Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Cabin at Booker T. Washington National Monument

Booker T. Washington National Monument, Virginia

Washington was born on April 5, 1856 into the slave kitchen cabin, fourteen by sixteen feet, earth floor, on the site of this Hardy, Virginia farm known then as the Burroughs Plantation. His mother, Jane, was a slave, the plantation cook. His father is thought to be a white man from a nearby plantation, whom Washington did not know. Washington did not attend school while living on the plantation, but did carry books for the Burroughs daughter, Laura, to her teaching position.

At nine years old, with the Civil War now over with Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, only sixty-five miles east, Booker T. Washington and his family were free. In the fall of 1865, they (mother Jane, brother John, and sister Amanda) moved from the plantation to Malden, West Virginia where his mother married another free slave, Walter Ferguson.

Once in Malden, Booker T. Washington started school at nights while working in the salt mines. In 1872, that education took him to Hampton Institute, where he graduated in three years and later became a professor. That position would lead to his involvement in the establishment of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in the fall of 1881.

Image above: Interior of the cabin at Booker T. Washington National Monument, 1980-2006, Carol M. Highsmith. Courtesy Library of Congress. Below: History class at the Tuskegee Institute, 1902, Frances Benjamin Johnston. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Class at the Tuskegee Institue

Where Is It

Booker T. Washington National Monument is located at 12130 Booker T. Washington Highway, Hardy, VA 24101. That's in southwest Virginia, Franklin County, twenty-five miles southeast of Roanoke if you're traveling along the I-81 corridor, and sixteen miles northeast of Rocky Mount.

What is There Now

The National Monument of Booker T. Washington's birthplace is situated on a two hundred and seven acre site in Franklin County, Virginia. It includes a Visitor Center with exhibits, a twelve minute film, bookstore, and visitor orientation. There are several trails, the Plantation Trail that takes you to the reconstructed buildings of the Burroughs Plantation, as well as a one and one half mile walking trail, the Jack-O-Lantern Branch Heritage Trail through the countryside.

There is also a picnic area, farm animals, and an example of a Piedmont Virginia area garden in the summer.

When Open and How Much

The homestead farm at the National Monument is open year round, except major holidays, and is free to visit.

Fees subject to change.

Booker T. Washington National Monument

History Nearby

When you're in the area, you are not far from the sites of the Appalachian Mountains, including the famous trail, the Shenandoah Mountains, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. For Civil War sites, you are a little more than one hour away from Appomattox Station and Appomattox Court House, site of two battles that precipitated the surrender of Robert E. Lee to General U.S. Grant in 1865. The sites of Richmond and Petersburg battlefields are east of there.

Buy Chronology

Chronology Book Ad

Great Book for the History Fan with Fifty Short Essays Telling the Story of American History.

Photos, History, and More Spotlights

Jemez Pueblo

January Spotlight

Jemez Historic Site, New Mexico.

Fort Matanzas

February vSpotlight

Forts of St. Augustine, Florida.

San Jacinto Battleground

December Spotlight