NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Booker T. Washington Playground

W. 107 St. to W. 108 St., Columbus Ave. and Amsterdam Ave.

Manhattan

Directions via Google Maps

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This playground is named for African American educator and civil rights leader Booker T. Washington (1856-1915). Washington was born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia. After the Civil War, he moved with his mother to Malden, West Virginia, where he worked in a salt furnace and coal mines. Washington put himself through school between his heavy work schedule, and in 1872 he enrolled at the newly formed Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, now known as Hampton University, where he worked as a janitor in order to help pay for his tuition. In 1881, Washington helped establish the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama (now known as Tuskegee University) and served as its first principal. 

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Directions to Booker T. Washington Playground

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