Born a slave, Booker T. Washington was freed at age 9. By the time he was 16 he was attending Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, followed by Seminary school. Washington became the principal of the Tuskegee Institute, and also travelled the country speaking on educational philosophy and his theory concerning the advancement of African Americans, and raising money for the Institute.
On March 16th, 1911 he spoke on Staten Island at the Staten Island Academy in New Brighton (see article below).
Husband and wife philanthropists William Goodenow Willcox and Mary Otis Willcox were supporters of Washington's mission and the Tuskegee Institute. William sat on the Board of Trustees and Mary filled his seat after his death.
Read a short biography of Booker T. Washington at: https://tinyurl.com/y6j62nhg.