Booker T. Washington & W.E.B. Du Bois political differences

Essay by IgmatheoHigh School, 11th grade April 2004

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Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois dealt with black poverty and discrimination in different ways, through different methods of education and public movements.

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois differed on how blacks should be educated. Washington believed that education should incorporate both academics and a trade. He believed that slavery led to racism, and racism would end once African Americans acquired useful labor skills and proved their economic value to society (Doc D). However W.E.B. Du Bois alleged that racism was the cause of slavery, and that the only way to achieve economic success was to obtain political rights. Du Bois was quoted, "What must we do then . . . complain . . . ceaseless agitation, unfailing exposure of dishonesty and wrong- this is the ancient, unerring way to liberty..." (Doc F). Hence his idea on the "Talented Tenth." Which is where the best and the brightest of the black race must receive the higher education they need.

Both men also criticized each other's public movements. Booker T.'s Atlanta Exposition address called for a gradual approach to racial equality. He suggested, "it is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top." However, Du Bois degraded this view, and later named it the "Atlanta Compromise." In 1905, he founded the Niagara Movement, which in 1910 became the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

At the end of the nineteenth century and in the beginning of the twentieth century, black poverty and discrimination were both alive and well. But two great African American leaders, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, put forth their ideas on how to rid society of this evil. From their own ideas on how to bring education to the black race and raise...