Analyzing Essay On Washington And Du Bois

Booker T. Washington and W. E. B DuBois were both African Americans who devoted their time in the struggle for freedom of the blacks in America. Booker Taliaferro Washington was a well-educated man who was born in April 5th, 1856 and died on 14th November 1915. He was born

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from a slave family but later was freed from slavery when he was still a child. On the other hand, DuBois was born in 1865 on the 23rd of February in Massachusetts. His full names are William Edward Burghardt DuBois. He was a relentless African American activist who fought for rights of the blacks in America.

The two activists differed in their approach to be used in achieving equality and freedom for the African Americans. This is what this essay will discuss about. I will also compare and contrast their views on leadership and the means of achieving progress. These two leaders had certain similarities for example both were against racism, segregation of blacks by the whites because of their color and agreed that discrimination had to be fought. However, the two differed when it came to the means to be used in achieving these objectives.

DuBois often criticized the approach that Booker T. Washington was using. DuBois perception had been shaped by the experience he gained after spending some time with the liberal whites in the academy that he attended and thus he was able to think outside the box. Booker T. Washington believed that blacks would not achieve an equal status with the whites by resorting to open hostility but he believed that it was only through hard work that they would progress. (Hine D. C. and Harold, 2003; 45-97).

He was convinced that the first step that was to be taken by the Blacks in order to prosper was to create a strong economic foundation for them. He devoted all his energies towards realization of this goal. He was convinced that the Whites were superior to Blacks simply because they were able to work hard and that if the Black Americans

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embraced the same, then they would uplift their social status to be equal to that of the Whites. He strongly held the belief that no race in the whole world could survive without owning any property, having no skills, no economic foundation and the required intelligence.

To him the only way of Blacks achieving this was through learning the industrial education. He took it upon himself to spread education in the rural areas. He showed the rural farmers how they could start small businesses on their farms to supplement what they had. Farmers were taught on the techniques to apply so that they could increase their harvest. Booker T. Washington never hated the whites and never thought of how the Blacks could revenge but instead he saw the two races as intertwined.

Unlike DuBois who believed that the two races were supposed to be equal and that the blacks had to resort to overt resistance, Booker T. Washington argued the Blacks were supposed to humble themselves though that they would be recognized by the Whites. Much of criticism against him came as a result of the speech that he made in 1895 in the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlantic where he accepted the segregation of the Blacks by the Whites He became very popular amongst the whites because of how he praised them.

In his speech he said that just like the Blacks had served the whites in the past, they would continue doing the same and even put their lives at stake if there was need in protecting the whites. In accepting segregation he said, “In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to the mutual progress. ” (Cobb J. C. , 1994; 26-58) DuBois disagreed with booker T. Washington especially when he said that blacks above anything else should have a strong economic base.

On the contrary, DuBois believed that what Blacks needed was liberal education and having a strong economy was not the solution. Still on education both differed, Booker T. never advocated for liberal education as Dubois and instead urged the Blacks to go for the industrial courses. Washington and DuBois also disagreed in the approach that was to be used in achieving freedom. DuBois believed that the educated blacks that he referred to as the “Talented Tenth” would help in bringing social change.

He criticized Washington’s approach to unite the two races, which he deemed rather accommodative to the whites. He openly criticized Washington by referring him to as the first Uncle Tom. He may have been condemning Washington strongly because he had no knowledge of how bitter slavery was. DuBois was born in the North while Washington was born in the Southern America where slavery was well entrenched. (Elsa B. B. and Thomas C. H. , Eds. 2002; 82-135) DuBois unlike Washington strongly advocated overt confrontation if it was the only way that would end racism but Washington condemned this.

DuBois was for the idea of using demonstrations, staging boycotts to the segregated places and even striking and demonstrating in streets but Washington was against this something that was attested during his Atlantic speech, “The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be as a result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing.

” (Elsa B. B. and Thomas C. H. , Eds. 2002; 82-135). However, Washington believed that the whites had no right to deprive African Americans of their franchise right. But he did not mean that the blacks should confront the whites directly instead they were supposed to acquire properties, establish their own industries, intelligence and have a strong economy. Though the two leaders differed in many things, they both believed that education was the only tool of empowering the African American.

DuBois believed that the blacks would be freed from the shackles of racism if they pursued the liberal education. He constantly urged the brightest and well-educated African Americans to help their colleagues in fighting for their rights. To DuBois these ‘Talented tenth’ were those well-educated Blacks. He believed that before any thing else was done, the Blacks were supposed to have liberal education. At this point Washington also agreed with DuBois that education was the key to social change but he differed in the type of the education.

He believed that Africa Americans needed industrial skills that would help them to benefit from the southern environment, which was suitable for farming also he believed that if blacks were taught on how to increase their productivity, then they would become economically stable. He even established his own school, Tuskegee where he taught the blacks on industrial courses, a move that was highly welcomed by the Whites. Though both leaders agreed that racism was the main set back to the progress of the Blacks, they differed in the approach that was to be used.

DuBois advocated for open confrontation of racism. He believed that lack of reacting to the racism is what had legitimized and strengthened this menace. On the other hand, Washington held that there was no need of holding demonstration, conducting strikes and attacking the whites but instead they were supposed to address their demons of laziness and criminality. They were also expected to be hardworking people, less promiscuous and stop complaining excessively.

In confronting DuBois call for African American’s to agitate, he instead urged them to observe discipline. It is on this point that DuBois blamed Washington of excusing the Whites of the atrocities that they did to the African Americans and instead blamed all this on Blacks claiming that they were not trying hard like the Whites. Washington believed that it is for this reason that blacks were trailing behind the whites. They both believed that the status quo for blacks had to be uplifted to be like that of the whites. (Cobb J. C. , 1994; 26-58)

In conclusion, we can say that though the two leaders differed in their views especially in the approach to be employed they also had some things in common. They both believed that racism was a monster that had to be fought and they both believed that African Americans had to be educated so as to be able to face the ugly face of racism. Though they differed in the type of education, they also differed in the means of achieving freedom. For example when DuBois wanted overt confrontation the other one wanted gradual approach of economically empowerment of the Blacks.

They both played a significant role in the struggle for the emancipation of the black Americans for ach had a unique thing that they contributed. Reference: Hine D. C. and Harold, 2003. Africa American Odyssey Volume II Since 1863. Prentice Hall. Elsa B. B. and Thomas C. H. , Eds. 2002. Major Problems in Africa American History. Vol. 2. Houghton Mifflin. Cobb J. C. , 1994; The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Data and The Roots of Regional Identity. Oxford University Press, New York.

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W. E. B. Du Bois 1868–1963

(Full name William Edward Burghardt Du Bois) American essayist, journalist, historian, novelist, biographer, poet, playwright, nonfiction writer, speech writer, critic, and autobiographer.

The following entry provides an overview of Du Bois's career. See also W. E. B. Du Bois Criticism (Volume 2).

Du Bois was a major force in twentieth-century society who helped define African-American social and political causes in the United States. Alternately considered a leader and an outcast, Du Bois espoused controversial opinions about race and politics and was regarded by many as a prophet. He is widely remembered for his conflict with Booker T. Washington over the role of blacks in American society—an issue that he treated at length in the essays collected in The Souls of Black Folk (1903). A writer of important works in many genres, Du Bois is particularly known for his pioneering role in the study of black history. According to Herbert Aptheker, however, Du Bois was above all a "history maker," and his works and ideas continue to attract attention and generate controversy.

Biographical Information

Du Bois had an almost idyllic childhood in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Class and race distinctions were negligible in the small town of 5,000, where Du Bois's family was part of a community of fifty blacks. When his mother died soon after his high school graduation, some residents of the town gave Du Bois a scholarship on condition that he attend Fisk University, a southern school founded for the children of emancipated slaves. Du Bois accepted the scholarship and in 1885 traveled to Fisk in Nashville, Tennessee—his first journey to the southern United States. "No one but a Negro going into the South without previous experience of color caste can have any conception of its barbarism," Du Bois wrote in The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois (1968). Yet he was "deliriously happy" at Fisk, where he met students of his own race, excelled at his studies, and during summers taught young blacks who lived in destitute rural areas of Tennessee. After graduating with honors from Fisk, Du Bois entered Harvard in 1888. There he met several professors who would provide lifelong inspiration, particularly William James, who became a mentor and friend. After receiving a bachelor's degree, Du Bois studied for two years at the University of Berlin. In 1896 he received his doctorate from Harvard—the first black American to do so—and published his dissertation The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638–1870. Du Bois's efforts at finding a teaching position, however, proved frustrating. The University of Pennsylvania, for instance, commissioned Du Bois to do a sociological study of the city's black population but did not offer him a faculty position. Du Bois eventually found a position at Atlanta University, where he taught from 1897 to 1910 and 1934 to 1944. In 1905 Du Bois formed the Niagara Movement, the first black protest movement of the twentieth century. Du Bois helped institute a more lasting movement in 1909 when he became the only black founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). From 1910 to 1934 Du Bois served as the organization's director of publicity and research, and as editor of Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP, which became one of the most prominent journals directed at a black audience. Du Bois contributed editorials condemning lynching and disenfranchisement, and his discussion of arts and letters in Crisis has been credited as a catalyst for the Harlem Renaissance literary movement. Du Bois's popularity as a leader of black America began to decline in 1918 with the publication of the editorial "Close Ranks," which urged support for American involvement in World War I, and his conflict with Marcus Garvey, the popular Jamaican leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and "back-to-Africa" movement. Du Bois's position in the NAACP also became tenuous and strained. He was removed from the organization twice for ideological differences, once after opposing the NAACP's idea of integration, and later for supporting Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace for president in 1948 while the NAACP's executive secretary unofficially campaigned for Harry Truman. In 1951 Du Bois was indicted as an unregistered "agent of a foreign principal" because of his involvement in the "subversive" Peace Information Center, an organization that sought to inform Americans about international events and to abolish the atomic bomb. Although Du Bois was acquitted, his passport remained in the custody of the United States government. Awarded the Intermational Lenin Prize in 1958, Du Bois became a member of the Communist Party of the United States in 1961, shortly before renouncing his American citizenship. He died at the age of ninety-five in Accra, Ghana.

Major Works

Du Bois's works spread across a wide range of genres and subjects including history, sociology, fiction, biography, and autobiography. His most celebrated work, The Souls of Black Folk, is a collection of fourteen essays that comment on the state of blacks in America. According to Arnold Rampersad, The Souls of Black Folk became "perhaps the most influential work on blacks in America since Uncle Tom's Cabin." In the essay "On Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others," Du Bois praised Washington for preaching "Thrift, Patience, and Industrial Training," but condemned his apologies to those in power, maintaining that Washington "does not rightly value the privilege and duty of voting, belittles the emasculating effects of caste distinctions and opposes the higher training of our brighter minds." Other essays were largely autobiographical and discussed the "twoness" of being both American and black—"two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder." The Philadelphia Negro (1899) is a systematic, sociological study of Philadelphia's black population. Commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania, the study includes data gathered from approximately 5,000 interviews and pioneered the scholarly study of black Americans. Du Bois's historical works include The Gift of Black Folk (1924), which examines the contributions blacks have made to civilization; Black Reconstruction (1935), a revisionist interpretation that employs a Marxist perspective and focuses on the role blacks played in Reconstruction; and Black Folk, Then and Now (1939), in which Du Bois outlined the history of blacks in Africa and America. In addition to his nonfiction, Du Bois also published five novels during his career. The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) centers on a young black man who, after gaining some education, travels North, where he becomes involved in politics and then returns to the South to further the struggle of blacks for education and a better life. Dark Princess, published in 1928, concerns a young black man who, embittered by racism, leaves America for Europe, where he becomes involved in politics and a plot against colonialism. The Black Flame (1976) trilogy includes The Ordeal of Mansart (1957), Mansart Builds a School (1959), and Worlds of Color (1961). The trilogy centers on the life of a black man who strives to serve his race as a teacher. Though not gifted intellectually, the protagonist is honorable and through his story, Du Bois dramatizes the major events of black history in America and the culture of the American South. Capitalism is depicted in a negative fashion in the novels whereas socialism is portrayed in a positive light.

Critical Reception

Much of the commentary on Du Bois has centered on his controversial political views, particularly his turn toward Communism and support for Stalinism. His fiction, for example, has been largely ignored. Nevertheless, many of Du Bois's works are considered ground-breaking. The Philadelphia Negro, for example, was the first systematic study of an urban black population, while The Souls of Black Folk, scholars contend, remains one of the most profound and succinct delineations of the dilemma of black Americans. "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line," declared Du Bois to the Pan-African Congress in 1900, and his famous statement, which became the introduction to The Souls of Black Folk, has been hailed as prophetic. Despite the controversy that surrounded his ideas and actions throughout his lifetime, Du Bois continued to fight for equality between races. Arnold Rampersad wrote: "Far more powerfully than any other American intellectual, [Du Bois] explicated the mysteries of race in a nation which, proud of its racial pluralism, has just begun to show remorse for crimes inspired by racism."

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