W.E.B. Du Bois opens by stating that the “Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men.” He starts by explaining that the African American elite must guide the rest of the African Americans away from the worst of the race. Throughout the essay, Du Bois makes many references and responses to Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” On a few occasions, Du Bois makes reference to Washington’s proposal to focus mainly on getting African Americans out of poverty; he criticized Washington’s main focus of economic gain. Du Bois believes that the main focus on the road to equality is to make “manhood the object of the work of the schools.” He emphasized that only with both education and work will the African American race become equal to White Americans; He doesn’t neglect to contrast this to Washington’s views that they should work (Tuskegee Institute). Du bois also contrasts Washington’s view that African Americans should start at the bottom and work their way up, like “all other races;” he points out that never has any race and or culture started from the bottom and worked their way up; the “Talented Tenth” must get to the top and fill the rest of the African American culture out to the bottom. Du Bois concludes by saying that these “exceptional men” are going to save the rest of the race. Society’s current “Talented Tenth:”
1. Jesse Jackson- Civil Rights Activist. Bachelors of Science in Sociology. 2. Oprah Winfrey-CEO of two companies. Degree in speech and communications.* 3. Bill Cosby-Activist. Doctor of Education.
4. Don Thompson- CEO of McDonald’s. Doctorate in engineering. 5. Barack Obama- President of the United States. Juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.