Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B Dubois

Topics: W. E. B. Du Bois, Black people, African American Pages: 2 (735 words) Published: April 22, 2007
English 4322

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois offer different strategies for dealing with the problems of poverty and discrimination facing Black Americans. Booker T. Washington's gradualism stance gives him wide spread appeal among both blacks and whites, although W.E.B. Du Bois has the upper hand when it comes to ideology dealing with economic prosperity and education amidst blacks. Product of slavery, reconstruction, and black codes, Washington favors the humble - ask nicely; appreciate what you're given; and say "thank you" - approach to obtaining social equality. Washington addresses the issue with meticulous caution, in doing so he not only comes across as an advocate of blacks gaining "all privileges of the law", but also of blacks being prepared "for the exercises of these privileges." By taking this approach Washington is gaining the appeal within the black audience as well as the white community. In contrast to this seemingly effective stance, Du Bois stands on the platform of ask, but ask incessantly with a loud and firm voice. Du Bois even goes as far as to say that if the black community wants social equality they must simply complain. The opposing approaches of Washington and Du Bois are far from unnoticeable, and receive recognition from both sides. In Washington's "Atlanta Exposition Address" he comments that the "wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist 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 763). This statement, delivered at a time when blacks and whites have separate water fountains, directly condemns the blunt complaining with which Du Bois is aligning himself. "The way for a people to gain respect is not by continually belittling and ridiculing themselves; that, on the contrary, Negroes must insist continually, in season...
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