Booker T. Washington was the founding president of Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, now a university, and headed it for 30 years until he died in 1915.

The fascinating life of Washington included a controversial relationship with President Theodore Roosevelt that started in 1901 and continued through the end of Roosevelt’s presidency in 1909.

Fox News Channel's Brian Kilmeade has penned a book about the interaction of these two very different icons. He will be in Fairhope on December 3 at 6 p.m. at Page & Palette Bookstore. Purchase of an advance copy of the book is required for admittance to the signing event. The $30 book can be purchased by calling (251) 928-5295 or at the book’s website.

Kilmeade will speak before starting a book signing line.

When Kilmeade held a book signing in Fairhope for a previous book, the site overflowed with locals lining the street for blocks.

The relationship between Washington and Roosevelt began with a surprise invitation from the President for Washington to come and dine in the White House with Roosevelt and his family. Come, he did.

Washington was the recognized leader of the Black community in the U.S., similar to the position of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968.

The invitation and the acceptance sparked harsh reactions from political leaders in the South. There was pressure on Roosevelt, a Republican, to rescind the invitation and to cease interaction with Washington. He never wavered.

The book depicts the dynamics of the wealthy U.S. President with the former slave who became a higher education leader.

A book review will be posted on

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at