Information on:

Booker T. Washington National Monument

12130 Booker T. Washington Highway


The Civil War interrupted the routine on the Burroughs farm, when all of the sons left to fight for the Confederacy. James Burroughs, the father and master of the farm died in 1861, leaving the supervision of daily farm activities to the Burroughs women. Shortages of luxury goods and certain food items were common during the war years. Washington recalled that the white people suffered from the lack of products they were accustomed to. However, the war did more than create shortages and hard economic times. Only two of the Burroughs sons survived the war physically unscathed.

With the southern defeat in 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation issued in 1863 was enforced to free southern slaves. Washington remembered listening to a Union soldier read the document on the porch of the Burroughs house. After receiving the joyous news, his mother Jane took her three children to West Virginia to be reunited with her husband who worked there in the salt mines.

The southern economy suffered tremendously after the war and the Burroughs were not spared from economic and social turmoil. The emancipation of the slaves reduced the Burroughs family's net worth by one half. Post-war land values also plummeted. Since none of the children desired to farm the Franklin County property, Elizabeth Burroughs, James' widow, unsuccessfully attempted to rent or sell it for several years. In 1893, the family sold the property to John Robertson and his family.


Sean B.

Saturday, July 7, 2018
What an amazing man! I had just finished reading his autobiography and while traveling found that I was on a highway named after him and I saw the sign for his monument for where he was born and freed. What a nice monument with historical displays, short film, trails and historical sights. All free. What a great gift to our nation his life was and is, and this monument is worth a visit of your are ever in Virginia.

Sharon Curtis

Sunday, June 24, 2018
I visited last weekend while I was in Smith Mountain Lake. The volunteers/workers were very knowledgeable regarding the history on Booker T. Washington, as well as the visitor center contained a short film on him and there were interactive items in a smaller section that you could do while reading the history. There were replicas outside regarding what the buildings may have looked like back then. They had a big marker by the visitor center and pamphlets outlining what each building was, but having markers outside of each one explaining the history of it would've been nice. Otherwise, I enjoyed my visit here and would recommend it.

ToNita Lowery

Saturday, July 21, 2018
Very beautiful landscape, friendly staff, and quaint souvenier shop as you walk in. The museum was also informational. The mini movie about his life was moving and inspirational. But alas, it has changed over the years. There wasn't much livestock and no volunteers making soaps, blacksmithing etc. However, this place holds great historical significance and should be visited, as Booker T. has made many contributions to the free world. Specifically for the betterment of African-Americans.

Alicia Smith

Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018
Seeing the reconstructed cabin and the setup of the farm, the humble beginnings of such am impressive man, truly makes history come alive. The short film is spectacular and knowledge of the staff and volunteers is amazing!

David Coon

Saturday, July 7, 2018
Tranquil recreation of the farm where BTW spent his early years as a slave. Very helpful staff in visitors center. Will go back when I have more time to walk the trails.

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