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Comparing And Contrasting The Ideolodies Of Booker T. Washington And W.E.B Du Bois

1204 words - 5 pages

William Edward Burghard Du Bois and Booker Taliaferro Washington were both civil rights leaders of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Du Bois was born as a freeman in Massachusetts, he studied at Harvard University and became the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard. . Washington was born as a slave in Virginia, he worked in the salt mines while attending school, and later attended the Hampton Institute to learn trade skills. Although Du bois and Washington had the same goal of achiving equality, they sharply disagreed on strategies concerning voting rights, social change, education, and the role of the black man in the South, Washington had a gradual approach as opposed to Du Bois who wanted immediate equality.
Du Bois and Washington differed greatly on voting rights. Du Bois was outraged at racial injustice and inequality. He demanded that African Americans be given the right to vote, equal rights, and more educational opportunities. . On the other hand, Washington agreed that African Americans needed to become economically independent and better their place in the world and gradually gain their rights. Washington also believed that that the literacy test should be given to all races equally as he stated in Up From Slavery, "whatever tests are required, they should be made to apply with equal and exact justice to both races." (Document 10) While Du Bois wanted immediate voting rights, Washington preferred that African Americans work to get their voting rights.
Du Bois and Washington's approaches towards social change differed greatly. Du Bois stated in The Negro Problem, "The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men...developing the best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races".(Document 1) In which Du Bois argued that social change should come immediately and could be accomplished by developing a small group of educated blacks called "the Talented Tenth", the term described the likelihood that one in ten black men will become leaders of their race though continuing their education and becoming directly involved in social change. Unlike Du Bois, Washington believed that African Americans should accept discrimination for the time being and elevate themselves through hard work and economic gain to win the respect of whites. . Washington stated in the Atlanta Compromise speech, "interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one...we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress."(Document 9) in which he argued that when white people see African Americans contributing as productive members of society, they would accept them as equals. Although Du Bois wanted an immediate social change and rights for African Americans, Washington wanted a gradual social change.
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