Essay on W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington

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

Two great leaders of the African American community in the late 19th and early 20th century were W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. They disagreed on strategies for African American social and economic progress in the face of prejudice, poverty, and segregation:

Booker T. Washington, a former slave and the founder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, believed that African Americans needed to accept segregation and discrimination for the time being and concentrate on elevating themselves through hard work and material prosperity. The eventual acquisition of wealth and culture by African Americans would gradually win for them the respect and acceptance of the white community. This
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Booker T. Washington, early in his life noticed that those who were considered educated were not that far removed from the conditions in which he was residing. Therefore, he disagreed with the post-emancipation ideologies of blacks who believed that freedom from slavery brought freedom from hard work. In addition, education of the head would bring even more sweeping emancipation from work with the hands. He did not want his black people to be ashamed of using their hands, but to have respect for creating something and a sense of satisfaction upon completion of that task. His feeling was that black Americans had to rise up out of oppression by self-improvement. He believed that Black people could not survive without the help of the white American.

This belief included that the best thing for the black American to do was to learn and develop a skill for example, carpentry. These skills would transpire into a more prominent future, thus a rise in the economic ladder or social status. Washington believed that African Americans should seek a primary education, which would both supplement work and life preparation, such as: hygiene and good manners. This belief summed up in a single sentence is that through hard work, thrift, and self-help, blacks would improve their social status and
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