Washington V. Dubois

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Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Dubois Debate
* the debate over the best course for racial advancement in America by 1905 was run by: * Booker T. Washington
* Booker T. Washington did not think that social equality of the races was as important as economic equality. He said: * "The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that 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, Atlanta Exposition Address, 1895. * W. E. B. Du Bois

* Du Bois later called Washington's Atlanta Exposition Address the "Atlanta Compromise," because it compromised social equality of the races in order to gain economic equality. Du Bois wrote to Washington and said of the Atlanta Address: * "My Dear Mr. Washington: Let me heartily congratulate you upon your phenomenal success in Atlanta -- it was a word fitly spoken."-- Letter, Du Bois to Washington, Sept. 24, 1895 Education:

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON: * Leading promoter of "industrial education." In addition to basic skills like reading and writing, it was important to learn a trade that would lead to a real job. * "Many have had the thought that industrial training was meant to make the Negro work, much as he worked during the days of slavery. This is far from my idea of it. If this training has any value for the Negro, as it has for the white man, it consists in teaching the Negro how rather not to work, but how to make the forces of nature -- air, water, horse-power, steam, and electric power -- work for him.... There should be a more vital and practical connection between the Negro's educated brain and his opportunity of earning his daily living."-- Washington, The Future of the American Negro, 1899 * "There is no defense or security for any of us except in the highest intelligence and development of all. If anywhere there are efforts tending to curtail the fullest growth of the Negro, let these efforts be turned into stimulating, encouraging, and making him the most useful and intelligent citizen."-- Washington, Atlanta Exposition Address, 1895W.E.B. DUBOIS * Du Bois emphasized the importance of higher education for African Americans. * "The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first be to deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races."-- W. E. B. Du Bois, The Negro Problem, 1903 * "I am an earnest advocate of manual training and trade teaching for black boys, and for white boys, too. I believe that next to the founding of Negro colleges the most valuable addition to Negro education since the war, has been industrial training for black boys.” -- Du Bois, The Negro Problem, 1903

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Politics: Accommodation or Agitation?
The racial climate in the United States in the 1890s and early 1900s was described by the African American scholar Rayford Logan as "the nadir of Negro life in America." Lynching of African Americans was not uncommon. Southern states had disenfranchised African Americans. Segregation of public facilities, schools, and public transportation was widespread. Given this potentially explosive climate, African American leaders pondered the best way to approach racial issues. Should they be dealt with quietly behind the scenes to avoid conflicts -- or should they be approached with open, public protest?

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON:
* Washington practiced the politics of accommodation. His public statements throughout most of his career can be characterized as cautious, conservative, and designed not to cause open conflict with the whites who held political power. * "One third of the...
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