Booker Taliaferro Washington was an African American born into slavery. Freed from a plantation aged nine years old, he worked in salt furnaces and coal mines, teaching himself to read and write in order to progress to a further education college, going on to lead a university.
He visited Europe, including the sulphur mines of Sicily in 1910.
A sulphur mine in Sicily is about the nearest thing to hell that I expect to see in this life.
A leading voice for former slaves and their descendants, he championed black progress through education and entrepreneurship.
The musician Booker T. Jones (Junior) of Booker T. and the M.G.’s attended Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee.
Green Onions is always worth a listen.
In Phosphate Rocks the ball and chain took the form of a keyring that connected Tall Willy to his factory.
When that keyring was found next to an unidentified body in the ruins of his old factory, it was only natural that questions were asked.
Phosphate Rocks: A Death in Ten Objects is published by Sandstone Press and available to order here.