DuBois and Washington on Education Essays

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DuBois and Washington on Education

Over 100 years ago W.E.B DuBois and Booker T. Washington began a debate over strategies for black social and economic progress, which is still prevalent today. Booker T. Washington believed that the role of education for African Americans should be an industrial one, where as W.E.B DuBois wanted African Americans to become engaged in a Liberal Arts education.
Washington's approach to solving the problems African Americans faced was rooted in his belief in an industrial education. Born a slave and educated at Hampton Institute Washington learned from a trade and skill based curriculum. He advocated a
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Washington believed that once African Americans had gained that economic foothold and proven themselves useful to whites, social equality would be given to them
W.E.B. DuBois, a black intellectual believed that Washington's strategy would only serve to perpetuate white oppression. DuBois initially advocated for Washington's strategy, however he grew to find it unacceptable as he became more outspoken about racial injustice. DuBois campaigned for a civil rights agenda and argued that educated blacks could accomplish social change. With the belief that African Americans should work together to battle inequality DuBois helped found the NAACP. DuBois was not content with attempting to gain an economic foothold; he wanted absolute equality in all aspects of life. DuBois believed that Washington "devalued the study of liberal arts, and ignored the economic exploitation of the black masses. He believed that "The Negro Race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education then, among Negroes, must first of all deal with the ‘Talented Tenth.' [which] is the problem of developing the best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the worst." He believed that the economic and political issues facing African Americans could be solved if the most talented ten
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