Booker T. Washington: Study Clarifies Death of a Black Pioneer

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Booker T. Washington died of high blood pressure, a review of his medical records has determined, lifting a cloud over his death left by one of his doctors more than 90 years ago.

The doctor wrote in 1915 that Washington had died of "racial characteristics," an often dismissive term that included high blood pressure, but also syphilis.

Washington's records were obtained with the permission of his descendants for a University of Maryland medical conference that looks each year at the cause of death of a historical figure. Past conferences have looked at the deaths of Alexander the Great, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Florence Nightingale and Edgar Allan Poe.

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