Up from Slavery - Booker T. Washington I read this book in 2nd or 3rd grade. I can remember the scene: The teacher had spread out a group of biographies on the Willie Harris Elementary school library's table and asked us to chose one to read and do a report on. For whatever reason, I picked up Booker Washington's and enjoyed it. It was probably my first conscious introduction to slavery and blacks in American society; and his philosophy of self-reliance and education has influenced my own outlook to this day.

I don't know how I would react to it today but it's probably one of those books that I should reread.