How did General Armstrong influence Booker T. Washington?

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General Samuel Armstrong was the founder of Hampton Institute, which Booker T. Washington attended as a young man. Washington refers to Armstrong as a "great man" and "the noblest, rarest human being that it has ever been my privilege to meet." Washington got to know Armstrong well while he was...

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General Samuel Armstrong was the founder of Hampton Institute, which Booker T. Washington attended as a young man. Washington refers to Armstrong as a "great man" and "the noblest, rarest human being that it has ever been my privilege to meet." Washington got to know Armstrong well while he was at Hampton, and though the general suffered paralysis while Washington was there, Washington says that he learned a great deal from him. Essentially, Washington was profoundly moved at the effort that Armstrong and others put in to ensuring that young men like himself would have an education. He describes him as a relentlessly hard worker (a trait Washington always endorsed) and as being almost single-mindedly devoted to Hampton and its students. One specific lesson he says he learned at Hampton was the value of personal hygiene; bathing, brushing one's teeth, and using bedsheets were foreign to a young man like Washington who had grown up on a plantation. Washington remembers this as just one example of the ways that Armstrong and others instilled self-respect in the students at Hampton.

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