The Souls of Black Folk, written by W.E.B DuBois is a collection of autobiographical and historical essays containing many themes. DuBois introduced the notion of "twoness", a divided awareness of one's identity. "One ever feels his two-ness an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled stirrings: two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keep it from being torn asunder" (215). There are many underlying themes in this collection of essays. One of the themes that DuBois speaks on extensively is education.
DuBois stresses the importance of education amongst the black race. He believes that African Americans should be educated in order to guide and teach the uneducated blacks. DuBois stresses the fact that there is a need for higher education, the importance of role models, and the concept of self-motivation for the African American race.
DuBois wrote an essay in The Souls of Black Folk, which gives his opinion on Booker T. Washington's views on education. Booker T. Washington stresses individual education as the way for blacks to gain upward mobility. DuBois disagrees with this. He feels as though blacks first have to gain "the right to vote, civic equality, and education of youth according to ability" (248). Both Washington and DuBois want the same thing for blacks first class citizenship but their methods for obtaining it is different. Because of the Smith 2
interest in immediate goals contained in Washington's economic approach, whites did not realize that he anticipated the complete acceptance and integration of blacks in American life. Washington believes that blacks, starting with so little, would have to begin at the bottom and work up gradually to achieve positions of power and responsibility. DuBois understands Washington's program, but believes that this is not the solution. DuBois shows opposition to Washington's approach, not his intent.