Dedicated to preserving the birthplace and heritage of the renowned Dr. Booker T. Washington, this national monument is a must-see stop during your time in Smith Mountain Lake. Read on below to learn more about this wonderful monument and the legacy of the man behind it.
An Extraordinary Landmark in Smith Mountain Lake
Dr. Booker T. Washington was born in April of 1856 and lived as a slave for the first nine years of his life, until the end of the Civil War in 1865. He was an extraordinarily intelligent child with a thirst for knowledge that he wasn’t allowed to embrace until after attaining his freedom. He wrote an autobiography about his experiences, Up From Slavery, that detailed what his life was like as a slave, from growing up in the fourteen-foot by sixteen-foot cabin that remains standing today to sleeping on a dirt floor with only a bundle of rags for a bed. Dr. Washington overcame his beginning as a slave and rose to become one of the country’s most prominent authors, educators, orators, and presidential advisors.
At the Booker T. Washington National Monument, visitors can see the former plantation farm where Dr. Washington was born and freed, watch living history re-enactments of life on the plantation farm during the mid-19th century, take guided ranger tours of the park (with reservations and a minimum of ten people), see the exhibits on Dr. Washington at the visitor’s center, go hiking on the scenic plantation trail, go picnicking, and learn about the historic styles of gardens and types of farm animals that would have been observed on the farm during Dr. Washington’s youth.
The Booker T. Washington National Monument is located in Hardy, just west of Westlake Corner and northwest of North Shore. The park is open every day from 9:00am until 5:00pm, all year long, with the exceptions of Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission to the park is free.
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For further details on the Booker T. Washington National Monument and other one-of-a-kind attractions in Smith Mountain Lake, contact our office and reserve your stay with us today!
(Image By MarmadukePercy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons)