In the late 19th century and early 20th century, in the era of segregation, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du bois had conflicting views to improve the black community. Booker T. Washington’s speech in 1895 at the Atlanta Cotton States and the International Exposition was about praising the south on improvements the whites have made for the blacks in the south. W.E.B Du Bois in 1903 boldly shares his opinions of Booker T. Washington and felt Washington held the black community from opportunities of excelling. Booker T. Washington was a passive civil rights activist whereas Du bois believed in a more active approach for the fight of equality. Both leaders were trying to defeat racism and were fighting for equality the best way they felt fit.
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois were leader of the late 19th century early 20th century was racism and segregation was heavily present. Jim Crow laws were created to allow segregation to be present. In the Jim Crow era black and whites when to separate school drank from different water fountains and so forth. The idea was “separate but equal” but separate was really not equal black facilities were not of equal value of white facilities. At the time Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du bois slavery has expired but blacks were still inferiors to the white race. They lacked certain rights such as the right to vote or own property. Looking back at the writing that is presented to us by Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du bois it is possible that we can’t quite fathom the history. But leaders such as Washington and Du bois ought to be praised more often. They have allowed blacks to live a more comfortable life where racism, although still alive today, is only is seen subtlety.
Booker T. Washington was a wise man and was favored among the whites because he didn’t pressure reform of racial equality like many other black activist of the time. In the “Atlanta Exposition Addressee” Washington asked for harmony among the blacks and whites. Washington’s plan was to embrace what the whites have done and to not force justice:
This wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly, and that the progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing(Washington 237).
His focus was to better the black community by appreciating how the laws have changed. He encouraged working hard and take advantage of the “common labor” that has been offered to black at the time. Washington believed “The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house.” Washington encouraged the black community to work their way up to the great privileges and to expect progress to come steadily.
W.E.B. Du Bois was an intellectual African American activist. He was a part of the movement to racial equality starting the early 20th century. He believed in the fight for equality and was a strong believer in bettering the black man through education. Du bois was a graduate of Fisk University a historically black university. He was the first African American to earn his Ph. D at Harvard University. Because of his educational background he was against all policies that enabled blacks from social, political and educational advancements. He encouraged the black youth to get an education to better them. In “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington”, he speaks about the duty of blacks condemning the southerners pertaining to laws of discrimination. Du Bois believed that the whites hated the blacks to advance in fear of competition. Dubois believed that the “the south ought to be led, by candid and honest criticism.” He was against Washington and the beliefs of depriving the black man to submission. Du...