Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington

The Gospel of the Toothbrush! The go-to-book for proper toothbrush etiquette and moralism.

\”In all my teaching I have watched carefully the influence of the tooth-brush, and I am convinced that there are few single agencies of civilization that more far-reaching. \”

\”The gospel of the toothbrush as General Armstrong called it. No student is permitted to remain who does not keep and use a tooth-brush. Several times, in recent years, students have come to us who brought with them almost no other article except a tooth-brush. They had heard from the lips of older students about our insisting upon the use of this, and ao, to make a good impression, they brought at least a tooth-brush with them. I remember that one morning, not long ago, I went with the lady principal on her usual morning tour of inspection of the girls; rooms. We found one room that contained three girls who had recently arrived at the school. When I asked them if they had tooth-brushes, one of the girls replied, pointing to a brush: \”Yes, sir. That is our brush. We bought it together yesterday.\” It did not take them long to learn a different lesson.

\”It has been interesting to note the effect that the use of the tooth-brush has had in bringing about a higher degree of civilization among the students. With few exceptions, I have noticed that, if we can get a student to the point where, when the first or second tooth-brush disappears, he of his own motion buys another, I have not been disappointed in the future of that individual. Absolute cleanliness of the body has been insisted upon from the first.\”

I have observed that those who have accomplished the greatest results are those who “keep under the body”; are those who never grow excited or lose self-control, but are always calm, self-possessed, patient, and polite. In order to be successful in any kind of undertaking, I think the main thing is for one to grow to the point where he completely forgets himself; that is, to lose himself in this way, in the same degree does he get the highest happiness out of his work.

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