Born a slave in Virginia, Booker T. Washington (1856–1915), became the most influential black leader in the United States between 1895 and his death in 1915. Washington founded Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute and built it into one of the nation’s best-known colleges. In 1900, he organized the National Negro Business League to foster black entrepreneurship. With an extensive network of supporters called the Tuskegee Machine, Washington exercised control over black federal appointments, the funds for black colleges, and the editorial policy of some newspapers. His power waned as racial violence and discrimination escalated. Washington recognized the NAACP as a challenge to his leadership and retaliated by trying to undermine the NAACP’s fund-raising.