Born a slave on a small farm in the Virginia backcountry,Booker T. Washingtonnever knew his father, who he heard was a white man. After slavery ended, Washington completed secondary education at Hampton Institute. In 1881 he founded Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama. He secured his influence by delivering The Atlanta Compromise Address before the Cotton States Exposition in 1895, and went on to found the National Negro Business League. His prominence led him to be called to serve as an advisor to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.