Booker T Washington National Monument

Booker T Washington National Monument

Just For Kids

To Be A Slave

". . . I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse . . . would be about the same as getting into paradise."

Booker T. Washington

In this program, students participate in a flannel-board story activity and a walk that helps students compare their lives to the enslaved child, Booker. Students see, touch and smell life on the mid-19th-century Burroughs plantation. While exploring objects and clothing related to Washington and the farm, students understand the very personal meaning of slavery as seen through the eyes of a young boy.

Be A Junior Ranger

Junior Ranger programs engage young people in age-appropriate activities that allow them to discover the significance of a specific site, introduce them to the national park system and to the mission of the National Park Service. They reveal to children that these amazing places belong to them. Junior Ranger programs are designed to provide participants with the flexibility to discover and interact with the park at their own pace and within the limits of their visit.

They encourage children and their families to explore things they might otherwise have missed, to get out and walk around, to explore further by visiting specialized programs, park movies, exhibits, trails overlooks, talking to a ranger, and others.

You can become a Junior Ranger at Booker T. Washington National Monument by choosing to do the Junior Ranger Booklet or by participating in the Junior Ranger Summer Program.

The Junior Ranger Booklet is available at the Visitor Center. Please set aside around 2 hours to complete the program.

The Junior Ranger Summer Programs will also last 2 hours and give children ages 6 to 12 the opportunity to interact with park rangers in exciting ways. Pre-registration is required. Please contact a Park Ranger at (540) 721-2094 to register.

The programs offered this summer are the following:

June 14 – 10:00 a.m.
To Be a Ranger
Take a behind the scenes tour of the duties of a park ranger at Booker T. Washington National Monument.

July 12 – 10:00 a.m.
To Be a Leader
Learn about team building and the leadership styles of Booker T. Washington.

August 2 – 10:00 a.m.
To Be a Naturalist
Hike the Jack-O-Lantern Branch Trail and study plants and animals like a naturalist. Participate in a stream activity to learn about the importance of clean water.

Lifting the Veil

"A race, like an individual, lifts itself up by lifting others up."

Booker T. Washington

The problem of social and political equality remained, although the Civil War released four million people of African descent from the bonds of slavery. Above all other American principles, freedom and democracy continued to be the most sought after ideals. The struggle for equality would become a challenge that Booker T. Washington, a former slave, would face head on.

During this program at Booker T. Washington National Monument, students explore and discuss the reality of an uncertain future faced by millions of freed men. While exploring the tobacco field, students compare and contrast sharecropping and convict lease.

Discussing Washington's determination to secure an education, his commitment to teaching others and his ascension to national leadership, students learn how education improved Washington's life and how he used it to better the lives of people he touched and influenced. Booker T. Washington's struggle up from slavery is a role model for children today.

War on the Home Front

"Freedom cannot be given; it must be purchased."

Booker T. Washington

How did the debate on slavery and the Civil War affect the slave-holding farms and plantations in the South? How did the slaves and owners react to the creation of the Confederacy and the Civil War?

Students discuss the causes and effects of the war and how people on the home front viewed the war. By comparing and contrasting the experiences of owners and slaves during the Civil War, and subsequent emancipation, students evaluate how these events affected both master and slave living on the Burroughs plantation.

For Kids

There are a lot of interesting things kids can do at Booker T. Washington National Monument that can make the trip fun and a great learning experience.

Become a Junior Ranger.

Explore the birthplace of Booker T. Washington.

Visit the farm area.

Hike the Jack-o-Lantern Branch Heritage Trail.

Learn about slavery, the Civil War and Tuskegee Institute.

Learn about tobacco.

To Be a Ranger

June 30 - 10:00 a.m.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a Park Ranger?

Do you really know what Park Rangers do?

Junior Rangers participating in this program will learn through exploration about the duties of a National Park Service Ranger. Each child will take part in some activities introducing them to the different types of positions held by park rangers including interpretation, administration, law enforcement, wild land fire, and maintenance. The Junior Rangers will view a video with some of the over 390 National Parks throughout the United States. Participants will also learn about the history and mission of the National Park Service.

To Be a Leader

July 21 - 10:00 a.m.

Everyone has the ability to be a leader. Some leaders are natural, while other need guidance to reach their full potential. After building a strong educational tradition at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Booker T. Washington became the most influential African America of his time.

How did he make the transition from being a slave to a leader? What were some the obstacles he had to overcome? How can we use his experience as a road map to reach our leadership potential?

Young people are invited to explore these questions on July 21, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. as the park presents "To Be a Leader." This program is for young people 6 -12 years old. Free registration is required, so please call a Park Ranger at (540) 721-2094.


Lesson Plans & Teacher Guides

In-depth program descriptions and curriculum materials can be accessed through the park. If you would like to receive an interactive education cd, please contact the park's education coordinator by phone at (540) 721-2094.

Trouble Don

Samuel is an eleven-year-old slave who lives on the farm until he attempts to run away with a fellow slave. The two travel to different refuges of the Underground Railroad. Samuel uncovers a secret from his own past. This book was the winner of the 2003 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Discussion Questions

1. Who takes care of Samuel? Why?

2. What did Harrison mean when he told Samuel to 'sleep with his top eye open'?

3. If you were Samuel, would you risk your life to be free; or would you live an uncertain life in slavery? Explain.

4. Why did Harrison steal the Hackler's belongings?

5. Why did Harrison want to find the 'River Jordan'?

6. What did 'The River Man' tell Samuel to do?

7. Why did Harrison want to keep the gray yarn?

8. What does Samuel find out about Harrison?

9. Why do you think the Constable let Harrison , Samuel, and Ordee go?

10. Did you enjoy Trouble Don't Last? Tell 'why' or 'why not'. What was your favorite/least favorite part of the book? Explain.


Young Readers Book Club

Join Park Rangers as they read amazing adventures about people escaping from slavery and fighting for freedom.

The club is open for children in elementary and middle school, although the focused reading level is between the fifth and sixth grade.

Admission is free. The books are available at the park's bookstore located in the visitor center. You may also find these books at your local library or bookstore. For more information, please contact a Park Ranger at (540) 721-2094.


For Teachers

It is the mission of Booker T. Washington National Monument's education program to satisfy the curriculum needs as specified in the Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools utilizing the park as a classroom. The programs and activities included in the Educational Guide to Booker T. Washington National Monument are designed to meet these requirements while introducing students to the life of the young slave boy, Booker.

By engaging in pre-visit, on-site, and post-visit activities, students will focus on learning concepts appropriate to their grade level while developing an appreciation for the problems and hardships of the people in Franklin County over a century ago, especially those of African American descent.

The activities included in this guide enable students to investigate, research, and participate in "hands on" learning experiences. They will build a strong foundation in communication skills, research techniques, computer skills, writing, and thinking in terms of multiple points of view. These activities also have cross-curriculum applications.

At Booker T. Washington National Monument, students will learn about the cultural diversity that makes up Franklin County, Virginia. It is the hope of Booker T. Washington National Monument's educational staff that by learning about the past and the life of Booker T. Washington that we can evolve in our understanding of the context of race in our American Society.

Each program content page details how the park can serve as a classroom. It describes unit activities and gives specific objectives for each lesson. 

Cast Down Your Bucket

"Racial Battles are to be won by marching forward, not by holding back."

Booker T. Washington

Efforts to take away these new liberties began as the Reconstruction Era ended. A leader in the post-Reconstruction era, Booker T. Washington was the most prominent voice for African Americans at a time when equality was only a dream. Washington urged our nation to "Cast down your bucket" into the waters of equality and liberty for all.

During their visit to Booker T. Washington National Monument, students explore the Southern plight from the 1880s through the turn of the 20th-century as African American struggled, fought and even died for the right to vote. Students analyze the politics and commercial industries of the South, examine the speeches and papers of Washington and other leaders of the era and debate the economic and social philosophy of Booker T. Washington. While analyzing, describing and discussing the climate of the post-Reconstruction South, students discover that drive and determination can change a nation.

Curriculum Materials

Monumental Education is the curriculum-based program at Booker T. Washington National Monumental. The program consists of five education programs addressing different phases of Washington's dynamic life. Students will be engaged to compare Washington's life as a slave to their lives today while they are in preschool through first grade. In the second and third grades, the students will examine Washington transition from slave to educator. The impact of the American Civil War is the focus of our fourth and fifth grade program. How Washington dealt with the challenges of the post-Reconstruction South is discussed with sixth through eighth graders. While, 11th graders are challenged to analyze the philosophies of Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois.