The Great Debate
Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. DuBois
Booker Taliaferro Washington was born a slave on a small farm in Virginia. After the emancipation he moved with his family to work in the salt and coal mines. After an education at Hampton Institute Booker received a teaching position at Hampton that sparked ideas for his future. In 1881 Booker found Tuskegee Institute. Though he offered nothing that was innovative in industrial education, he became the chief black exemplar and spokesman. He convinced the southern white employers and governs that Tuskegee offered an education that would keep blacks “down on the farm and in the trades”(Washington. 1963). He even convinced the self-made white northerners like Carnegie and Rockefeller to “help” him and to his people living within post-reconstruction south, he gave them industrial education. Booker wanted his people educated and out of the web of sharecropping and debt. Washington urged blacks to accept segregation and the loss of voting rights in exchange for Southern support of educational and economic opportunities. He wanted his people to have small businesses and to own land. Booker cultivated local white approval and secured a small state appropriation. This is why I feel some of his people didn’t follow him. I mean come on now, a black man during this time with the power Booker had was dangerous! I mean to the white man’s plan. If and only if all of his people would have recognized that they could have created a revolution. History would have been different. Booker didn’t want to be “equal” he wanted to be respected. He wanted to see his people thrive in the land they were forced to live on. I mean this is a black man that’s making moves and changes and getting the whites attention and money. To some he was a sale out and a want-to-be white man. Yes, it is true Booker was doing a lot of ass-kissing. However, he got want he needed done. That ass-kissing made Tuskegee the...
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