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Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Carter G. Woodson, George Washington Carver, WEB Dubois, Rev. Martin Luther King.  All were prominent Americans of the 19th and 20th centuries.

There's one prominent American who isn't included in this pantheon of historical greats.  In fact, he's one of the most underappreciated historical figures in American history.

Born into slavery, he was determined not to allow his past, nor his race, to determine his future.  He pursued education and emphasized character development and self-determination.  He also stressed the obligation and the virtue of­ work.

His ability to transcend enormous hardships saw him help build a school literally from the ground up.  Though he repeatedly refused the temptation to become a politician, his record of personal and professional excellence enabled him to advise presidents Roosevelt and Taft.  Despite his extremely modest beginnings, he became an influential black intellectual and one of the foremost educators of his time.

As a result of his influence on Negro education and economic development — in addition to his desire for racial conciliation in the South — he was once called the "foremost man of his race in America."

Who is this great man?

Booker T. Washington.

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