Dubois Vs. Booker T. Washingto Essay, Research Paper
Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Dubois
African American leadership near the turn of the century was divided between two tactics for racial equality, which may be termed as the economic strategy and the political strategy. The most heated controversy in African American leadership at that time raged between two remarkable black men Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois.
Both Washington and Dubois wanted the same thing for blacks, First-class citizenship, but their methods for obtaining it was different. Washington believed blacks, starting with so little, would have to begin at the bottom and work up gradually to achieve positions of power and responsibility before they could demand equal citizenship. Dubois understood Washington s program, but believed that it was not the solution to the problem. Dubois believed that the blacks should study the liberal arts, and have the same rights as white citizens. Dubois and his followers believed that they should not have to sacrifice their constitutional rights in order to achieve a status that was already guaranteed.
Booker Taliaferro Washington was one of the most influential black leader and educator of his time in the United States. Booker T. Washington was born a slave in Hales Ford, Virginia. After the U.S. government freed all slaves in 1865, his family moved to Malden, West Virginia. There, Washington worked in coal-mines and salt furnaces. From 1872 to 1875, Washington attended the Hampton Institute, an industrial school for blacks in Hampton, Virginia. Four years later, he became a teacher at the institute. In 1881,Washington founded and became the principal of Tuskegee Institute. He started this school in an old abandoned church and a shanty. The school taught specific trades, such as carpentry, farming, and mechanics. As Tuskegee Institute expanded, Washington spent much of his time raising funds.
Washington believed that blacks could benefit more from a simple and a practical education rather than a college education. Most African American who lived in the South were living in poverty, and Washington felt that they should learn some skills, work hard, and acquire property. Washington predicted that blacks would be granted civil and political rights after gaining a strong economic foundation. He explained his theories in his book, Up from Slavery .
Washington s opposition was W.E.B Dubois, a historian and a sociologist. Dubois criticized Washington’s educational practices. Dubois supported higher education for talented blacks that could serve as leaders. He feared that the success of Washington’s industrial school would limit the development of true higher education for blacks. Dubois accepted the need for industrial training. However, he believed that blacks should also have the opportunity to obtain a college education.
William Edward Burkhart Dubois was one of the most important leaders of African American protest in the United States. During the first half of the 1900’s, he became the leading black opponent of racial discrimination. W.E.B. Dubois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He graduated from Fisk University in 1888. In 1895, he became the first African American to receive a Ph.D. degree at Harvard University. From 1897 to 1910, Dubois taught history and economics at Atlanta University.
Dubois strongly opposed Booker T. Washington. Washington believed that blacks could advance themselves faster through hard work than by demands for equal rights. However, Dubois wanted the African Americans to speak out against discrimination. According to Dubois, the best way to defeat prejudice was for college educated blacks to lead the fight against it.
By 1910, Washington’s influence had started to decline as Dubois and others began new movements. These movements led to the creation of such organizations as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ( NAACP ).
In 1909, after an outbreak of rioting and several murders of African Americans in Springfield, Illinois, a protest meeting was held in New York that led to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Dubois was one of the founding members of the organization. The NAACP was a union of black and white radicals, which sought to remove legal barriers to full citizenship for African Americans. The association began an intensive campaign to bring about the enforcement of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. The NAACP fought against segregation and discrimination mainly in the courts.
Both Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Dubois were educated men. Being the first African American to receive a Ph.D. degree at Harvard University could be a reason why Dubois wanted African Americans to educate themselves at a high level. That could only be possible if Dubois received funds for liberal arts training programs. In those days, all the funds were going to the Tuskegee institute. This made Dubois very angry and jealous of Washington.
Washington and Dubois were different in many ways. Washington s work is based on economic equality, where as Dubois work is based on civil equality. Washington was never as strict and firm as Dubois. Washington s words were more appealing to whites while Dubois words were more fiery and less appealing to whites.
One of the biggest differences between the two was that Washington wanted everybody to come together as one complete nation. Whereas Dubois thought that if black and white people come together as one nation, then the African American would never be truly equal.
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Dubois were also similar in some ways. Both blamed African Americans for their conditions. Both strongly believed in Black Nationalism. They encouraged the development of African American business. They both agreed that the African American people should receive industrial training.
Over all Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Dubois, were very different African American leaders. One wanted the African Americans to stand on their own two feet and blend in with the white people. The other wanted civil equality for his people. But the intentions were the same; both wanted a better and improved life for African Americans.