Washington's work for the African-American race can be most clearly seen when looking at the Tuskegee Institution, which still exists today. The school opened in July 1881 and was at the outset only space rented from a local church, with only one teacher, that being Washington. The following year Washington was able to purchase a former plantation, which became the permanent site of the school, and the students themselves erected and fitted the buildings, as well as growing their own crops and rearing their own livestock. While the Tuskegee Institute did offer some academic training for teachers, its main focus was on providing practical skills needed to survive in rural areas, such as carpentry and modern agricultural techniques. It can be argued that this more vocational slant towards teaching was damaging in the progression of African-American rights, however Washington believed that to become socially equal to whites, African-Americans must first become economically equal and show that they are responsible American citizens, who had something to offer society. Also, it can be argued that the practical teaching of the Tuskegee Institute was far more beneficial for the time than academic teaching would have been. The Institute is also a good example of why perhaps Washington had some merit with his views of appeasement. Washington was able to use his friendship with powerful white men to help finance the school and even got ex-slave owners, such as George W. Campbell, to support the new school. Without this aid it is unlikely that the Tuskegee Institute would have ever evolved from a small rented room into the huge institution that it is today.