Although best known for his numerous other accomplishments, Booker T. Washington was one of the pioneers of the modern animal welfare movement. Mr. Washington formed a local chapter of the Bands of Mercy at Hampton University. The Bands of Mercy were conservationists and animal welfare advocates. Booker T. Washington and his Bands of Mercy colleagues called for an end to the over-hunting of wild animals, the protection of wild animals’ habitats, and the end of abuse of livestock and pets.
Fittingly, he is also the namesake of Chattanooga’s beautiful Booker T. Washington State Park, which partners with For Fox Sake in the protection and conservation of our local wildlife and natural resources. During Chattanooga’s deeply troubled past, Booker T. Washington State Park was established by a team of black conservationists as one of just two state parks in all of Tennessee that was accessible to our local African-American community. The park remains an important center for education, recreation, and conservation here in Chattanooga.