Booker T. Washington

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

download word file, 1 pages 0.0

Booker T. Washington believed that the key to black equality was through the hard work and determination of the black race. He urges blacks not to be obsessed with immediately bettering one's social status. Rather, one should be patient and allow the hard work and integrity of the black community to gradually gain the respect of others. By working hard from humble beginnings, the blacks will slowly gain the acceptance of whites. In turn, whites will give them the job opportunities to climb out of their social quagmire, allowing them to progress along with the other races of America. On the other hand, W. E. B. DuBois believes that blacks should be entitled to all the rights that white citizens are allowed as justified by emancipation. He makes the assumption that new freeman are able and willing to take the rights which have been denied to them. He believes that they should all vote and not be subjected to discrimination.

The difference between the two viewpoints is that Washington takes on a more realistic and sensible strategy for achieving black equality. DuBois demands an automatic transition from slave to equal for every black man, whereas Washington understands that overturning southern society will require the patience and would best be completed by gradually earning the respect of whites through diligent work.

Washington's proposals were more acceptable to whites because they didn't entail drastic changes to the South's social structure. Washington argued that blacks should accept their lot to secure a stable place in society. Slowly, they would transcend their societal limitations by slowly gaining the respect of whites. White southerners at the time were strongly reluctant to grant blacks any power so suddenly. They viewed Booker T. Washington's approach as more tolerable because they could retain the power while keeping...