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The birth of Fannie Norton Smith Washington in 1858 is celebrated on this date. She was a Black educator and activist.
Born in Malden, West Virginia, she was the daughter of Samuel and Cecilia Smith. She knew Booker T. Washington for most of her life. As one of his pupils, she gained admission to Hampton Institute, but left it in 1878, for lack of money. Smith then taught school for two years near Malden, walking three miles daily and tending to her mother’s needs after school. Smith graduated in 1880 and married Booker T. Washington that summer.
She joined the faculty of Tuskegee Institute immediately, broadening the curriculum for Tuskegee girls and developing a home economics program. The Washingtons had one daughter, Portia Marshall.
Fannie Washington died on May 4th, 1884.
Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century.
Edited by Leon Litwack and August Meier
Copyright 1998, University of Illinois Press