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W.E.B Du Bois Vs. Booker T. Washington

W.E.B Du Bois Vs. Booker T. Washington



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Published by: Scott on Apr 07, 2008
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W.E.B. Du Bois Vs. Booker T. WashingtonScott SuasoBooker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, both early advocates of the civilrights movement, offered appropriate strategies to achieving solutions to thediscrimination experienced by black men and women in the nineteenth andtwentieth centuries. Despite having that in common, the two men had almostcompletely polar approaches to that goal. Washington, a man condoningeconomic efficiency had a more gradual approach as opposed to Du Bois, whosecourse involved immediate and total equality both politically and economically.For the time period, Washington overall offers a more effective and appropriateproposition for the time whereas Du Bois's approach is precedent to movementsin the future. Both have equal influence over African Americans in politics, butWashington always seemed to have the high card in white politics. Washington'sproposal excels in reference to education while Du Bois can be noted for achievingtrue respect from white Americans.
Du Bois urged African Americans to involve themselves in politics. Gaining this power would be essential to immediate beseeching of rights. Political association would prevent blacks from falling behind because when the Negro found himself deprived of influence in politics, therefore, and at thesame time unprepared to participate in the higher functions in the industrial development which thiscountry began to undergo, it soon became evident to him that he was losing ground in the basic thingsof life (Doc I). Du Bois also directly challenged Washington when he stated that the way for a people togain their reasonable rights is a not by voluntarily throwing them away and insisting that they do notwant them (Doc E). W.E.B. Du Bois goes on to criticize that that the principles of democraticgovernment are losing ground, and caste distinctions are growing in all directions (Doc F). All of these political demands are comprehensible but Du Bois desired a radical change; Negroes must insistcontinually, in season and out of season (Doc E). This is close to nagging, which was surelyunfavorable among primarily white politicians. The effectiveness of perpetual complaining wouldsteadily decrease. Washington avoids political involvement which in general is a neutral action neither  promoting nor causing defacement of the Negro population.
In 1880 the percentage of 5-19 year olds enrolled in school for whites wasapproximately 60% while the percent of blacks was roughly half that, which was avast improvement over just thirty years before when black enrollment was aroundzero (Doc A). Although black students appear to be bettering themselves, it is stillquite unfortunate; there may be more black students enrolled but their educationsystem was still below that of white folk. This in effect explains why the illiteracyrate of the white population was at 10% while the percentage of the blackpopulation unable to read sky-lined at 60% (Doc B). Both Washington and Du Boisrecognized the gap but took completely different approaches to achieve a remedyand also had differing views of what necessary education was. Washingtonbelieved that if blacks focused their attention on striving economically they wouldeventually be given the rights they deserved. To do this, he encouragedattending trade schools like the ones which he worked with. The TuskegeeInstitute of Alabama, which he founded, was where no time was wasted on deadlanguages or superfluous studies of any kind. Then he proposed working either
industrially or agriculturally since their education would be based on what ispractical and what would best fit the young people for the work life (Doc G). DuBois, on the other hand, had grown up well rounded culturally. A historianspecializing in the history of blacks and a renowned sociologist, at the age of 93he became a member of the communist party and exiled himself to Africa. DuBois had high hopes for the Talented Tenth: after thorough education they couldsucceed. The fight for first class citizenship could be earned through the universityeducated Negro through the court systems. Although it is a well thought outsolution, the number of black college students enrolled was still quite low at thetime. He believed along with others, that industrial education would not standAfrican Americans in place of political, civil, and intellectual liberty (Doc H). It istrue that being cultured is important but for the time, labor was the necessity andwould bring supposed status.W.E.B Du Bois, however, is able to surpass Washington in the area of overallrespect and morality concerning white folk. Booker T. Washington made a pointthat if blacks could prove themselves useful, they could achieve their rights.Washington stated, “No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of theworld is long in any degree ostracized”. It is important and right that all privilegesof the laws be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for theexercise of those privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just nowis worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera house.In theory, Washington concluded that in order for African Americans to succeed, itwas imperative for them to befriend the white men. Only then would the strugglefor blacks end. He continually sounds of begging when stating to the white men:Casting down your bucket among my people, helping and encouraging them asyou are doing on these grounds, and to education of head, hand, and heart Whiledoing this you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your familieswill be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and civil people thatthe world has seen. All this had been said in his Atlanta Compromise Address in1895 (Doc D). It was also apparent to everyone African American who did nottotally agree with Washington's idea that this was a sign of submission for theblack race. The submissive part was, if none else, the fact that we were to acceptthat black people were going to continue to use their hands as a means to beproductive to a white society. Many blacks turned away from such a statementand this is where W.E.B. Du Bois came to relieve them. Although Fortune stated, Itis impossible to estimate the value of such a man (Doc G), Du Bois rejected thephilosophy of Booker T. Washington declaring that he was condemning their raceto manual labor and perpetual inferiority. He argues that the way for a people togain respect is not by continually belittling and ridiculing themselves (Doc E). TheDe Facto segregation, such as a separate water fountain for colored only (Doc J)proposed by Washington did alleviate white and black tension but nonethelesswas degrading. He presents that the wisest among the African-American raceunderstand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly,and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us mustbe the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing (DocD). Barnett criticized that Washington, one of the most noted of their own raceshould join with the enemies (Doc H). Such attitudes from Washington could truly

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