The Philosophies of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois

Essay by texy October 2004

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Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois had diverse views of philosophy. Washington was born in the southern agriculture into slavery. He shared the hectic years of Reconstruction, and warily developed a compromise with the white establishment. Du Bois was born in the northern state of Massachusetts. He attended two different Universities and received his doctorate. Washington and Du Bois diverse philosophies, shaped from the differences in their backgrounds and environmental experiences.

Washington urbanized a philosophy of moral and economic "up-lift" through work. He also developed the theory that blacks and whites were equally dependent economically but could remain separate socially. Not wanting to cause disagreement with the white power that dominated the south, he emphasized the values of hard work and self-respect of labor. Washington was still willing to make compromises with racial issues.

Du Bois on the other hand was one of Washington's biggest critics. Du Bois was a sociological and educational pioneer.

He challenged the segregated system that harshly limited the educational opportunities of African Americans. Unlike Washington, Du Bois stood unyielding against segregation and racism. His relentless and strong efforts aided the outlaw of segregation in public schools. Du Bois believed a person's occupation should be determined by ability and choice instead of by racial stereotyping. Du Bois worked for deliberate social change, where as Washington compromised with the white society.