W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington DBQ

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Although Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du bois differed in their approaches to combating racial discrimination between 1877 and 1915, both men developed unique and effective strategies designed to improve the lives of all African Americans. Booker T. Washington could be considered a complete opposition, tactic wise, to W.E.B. Du Bois. Washington preached a message of accommodation and self-help. He encouraged the black population to join schools and educate themselves in order to improve themselves (A). He received high criticism for his ideals of accommodation, many other black reformers thought about him as an Uncle Tom for not wanting to change the conditions of the blacks sooner. But Washington believed in a patient game of chess, let the others play their pieces and when the time comes the whites will see how truly valuable and capable blacks are. Later the NAACP, largely due to Du Bois, will bash on his ideas and methods for change. This is after his Atlanta Address of 1895 where he again advocated for accommodation (D). Washington advocated a "go slow" approach to avoid a harsh white backlash. The effect was that many youths in the South had to accept sacrifices of potential political power, civil rights and higher education. His belief was that African Americans should focus on their education and economy of their southern home. Washington valued the "industrial" education, as it provided critical skills for the jobs then available to the majority of African Americans at the time, as most lived in the South, which was overwhelmingly rural and agricultural. He thought these skills would lay the foundation for the creation of stability that the African-American community required in order to move forward. The address mentioned many of the things blacks had accomplished for the nation, calling for whites to look at this Negro population: educated, organized, patient, faithful, law-abiding, unresentful people. 25 year-old Washington sought to improve the Negro condition, and in such ambition founded the first all-black institute, Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama (G). The new school opened on July 4, 1881, initially using space in a local church. The next year, Washington purchased a former plantation, which became the permanent site of the campus. Under his direction, his students literally built their own school: making bricks, constructing classrooms, barns and outbuildings; and growing their own crops and raising livestock; both for learning and to provide for most of the basic necessities. Both men and women had to learn trades as well as academics. Washington helped raise funds to establish and operate hundreds of small community schools and institutions of higher educations for blacks. The Tuskegee faculty used all the activities to teach the students basic skills to take back to their mostly rural black communities throughout the South. The main goal was not to produce farmers and tradesmen, but teachers of farming and trades who taught in the new schools and colleges for blacks across the South. The schools which Washington supported were founded primarily to produce teachers, as blacks strongly supported literacy and education as the keys to their future. Graduates had often returned to their largely impoverished rural southern communities to find few schools and educational resources, as the white-dominated state legislatures consistently underfunded black schools in their segregated system. To address those needs, Washington enlisted his philanthropic network to create matching funds programs to stimulate construction of numerous rural public schools for black children in the South. Working especially with Julius Rosenwald from Chicago, Washington had Tuskegee architects develop model school designs. This however, was not safe from criticism by the Du Bois followers and others who preferred a more “active” method of gaining influence. They believed an education would make no difference...
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