— Booker T. Washington African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor 1856 - 1915
Variant: Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life, rather by the obstacles one overcomes while trying to succeed
Source: 1900s, Up From Slavery (1901), Chapter II: Boyhood Days
Source: Up From Slavery: An Autobiography
Context: I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. Looked at from this standpoint, I almost reached the conclusion that often the Negro boy's birth and connection with an unpopular race is an advantage, so far as real life is concerned. With few exceptions, the Negro youth must work harder and must perform his tasks even better than a white youth in order to secure recognition. But out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass, he gets a strength, a confidence, that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race.