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In Defense Of Booker T. Washington.

1445 words - 6 pages

"Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century." - Du Bois, "The Soul's of Black Folks" (613)W.E.B. Du Bois, the courageous author who penned "The Soul's of Black Folks", deserves to be commended for his work. But in terms of his disagreement with Booker T. Washington, Du Bois does not deserve the acclaim for what he advocates in it. Du Bois' argument against the illogical agreement of Booker T. Washington with the Caucasian dominated majority that there is no place for African-Americans in higher education is very well founded and respectable. However, I believe that what Washington professed was not as off-target as Du Bois interpreted it. Du Bois makes several claims in his work in opposition to Washington's belief that African-American were in need of vocational skills that were vital to them in their endeavors to accumulate wealth and to better their living situations. Among these claims is his argument that Washington is foolish to think this is feasible because, as Du Bois asserts, white people will never teach these skills to blacks. As he states in support of his opinion that African-Americans are not only at a severe disadvantage but will continue to be unless they heed his guidance, "When these variously constituted human particles are suddenly thrown cast on the sea of life, some swim, some sink, and some hang suspended, to be forced up or down by the chance currents of a busy hurrying world."(618) He truly has a gift with words, and the way he is able to wax poetic about such an appalling subject is a feat in itself. Not only is Du Bois wrong, but I believe his entire reasoning to be mistaken as well.Prior to and during Reconstruction, this country was subjugating African-Americans even more than today. In Du Bois' "The Soul's of Black Folk's" he outlines his main argument: that blacks need education not only to succeed but also as a means to provide an environment that will act as a stimulus to their creativity and that will develop their intellects. To do this, he believes that they need black teachers, trained and schooled in all-black colleges surrounded by fellow blacks. He feels this is both essential to black success because the main objective of the white man is to keep blacks (black men to be specific) down.Du Bois' comes direct in his approach, not wasting any time in passionately taking up his cause. The notable difference between this work and others in the same vein is that Du Bois accomplishes this in such an incredibly eloquent and poetic way. His schooling and true intellectualism is evident simply by reading his collection of essays. Poetic as it is, Du Bois' writing style also comes across as hostile and condemning in "The Soul's of Black Folk's". He finds fault with those who adhere to Washington's proposal and ostensibly "sell-out". This is where Du Bois' work wanes.Du Bois terms African-Americans "a sort of...

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