What were the crucial differences in the ideologies of Du Bois and Washington and which of them do you think contributed most to the advancement of African-Americans in the early twentieth century?

Essay by caipirina007University, Bachelor'sB, November 2006

download word file, 9 pages 3.0

Black life in the early twentieth century was mainly dominated by the effects of Jim Crow tantamount to 'lynching, disenfranchisement, discrimination and other oppressions' . A full African-American citizenship had not been achieved yet and the population was split into different camps by two charismatic political figures who both tried to improve the situation for African-Americans: Booker Taliaferro Washington and William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. With their ideas and powers they tried to reshape the political, social and educational landscape in the post-Reconstruction South.

To understand the differences in the ideologies of these two men, one must have a closer look at their origins and personal developments which are closely connected. Therefore, this essay particularly aims at examining the interrelation between these factors as well as presenting their major achievements and failures at the height of their influence in order to finally discuss their actual contribution to the advancement of African-Americans in the early twentieth century.

Booker T. Washington was born into the racial caste system in 1856 in Franklin County, Virginia. Raised by his black slave mother on a small tobacco farm in the South and being ignorant of his white father's whereabouts, he had to learn very early what it meant to be black. He was employed in coal and salt mines, on a steamboat and eventually as houseboy for a General's wife. Here Booker T. Washington's future was decisively shaped, since this woman's support encouraged him to attend the local school after his work in coal and salt facilities. Finally he graduated successfully at the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia, where he was also educated in teaching in addition to the normal curriculum. Due to strong recommendations by Samuel Chapman Armstrong, Booker T. Washington was eventually selected to become first principal of a school...