W.E.B. Dubois Vs. Booker T. Washington Essay, Research Paper
Though Dubois and Washington both had great plans for the black race after it?s emancipation their very different ideas would ultimately lead to the same goal: power and the uplifting of the black race.
W.E.B. Dubois believed that, ?The Negro race…is going to be saved by its exceptional men.? By this he meant that the most educated of the blacks will uplift the race by giving back to the community. Dubois believed that these talented blacks should be schooled in colleges and universities so that they may produce the leaders of the new generation; well rounded, educated blacks. This would then cause a trickle down effect where the education of these few will transfer to the many.
Booker T. Washington has other ideas for the black race. He thought that blacks should, ?Cast down [their] buckets where [they] are…? Washington?s theory was that the race should explore agriculture, mechanics, commerce, domestic service, and the professions. He believed that blacks should not be ashamed of common labor and occupations of life that they once did because they would not prosper. If the black race would forget old grievances and aid the whites everyone involved would prosper. The black and the white race would both flourish and benefit from the unified struggle to better the Southern economy.
Though the two men were both successful, their theories of the black race gaining a similar success conflicted in many ways. Where Washington believed the only way for a race to begin to prosper would be to start at the bottom of life, Dubois directly disagreed by saying there was never a nation that was civilized from the bottom up. Dubois believed in educating the most intelligent of the race to make the decisions for the rest and then to educate them. Washington believed the way to gain the needed power was to take over industry then work their way upwards.
One other prominent conflict between the two theories was the assistance of the whites in the struggle to progress the black race and the South. Washington thought that helping with industry would be in the best interest of both races, so that both could benefit if blacks ran the fields, factories, and lands. Washington petitioned for the help of the whites, whereas Dubois thought that the whites would only continue to try to destroy the efforts of black advancement. He believed that assistance from whites showed faint-hearted compromise.
Even though their ideas for the black race were dissimilar, in the end, Dubois and Washington agreed on one important issue: the spirit and strength of blacks. They knew the capabilities of the black character and that they whites would have to realize these strengths. Washington stressed this point best with his statement,? Nearly sixteen million hands will aid you in pulling the load upward, of they will pull against you the load downward.?
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