. . . While the Negro should not be deprived by unfair means of the franchise, political agitation alone will not save him, and that back of the ballot he must have property, industry, skill, economy, intelligence, and character, and that no race without these elements could permanently succeed.
Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery, 1901
If a man like Booker T. Washington, who was born a literal slave, can lift himself out of the horror of institutional bondage then build his own character through a stoic dedication to hard work and self-improvement to eventually start a college in the heart of the South, any 21st century American with all of the technological and social privilege that time has granted us can rise to higher aims.