Influential African American Leaders

Topics: W. E. B. Du Bois, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, African American Pages: 2 (575 words) Published: December 4, 2013
In the years following Reconstruction, many African Americans rose to the challenge of bringing rights and equality to blacks. Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Ida Wells-Barnett are just of few examples of the outstanding influential African American leaders that had an impact on the people, time period, and history.

Booker T. Washington did what seemed like the impossible for blacks; he founded the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. It was there that the former slave trained uneducated African American students in a trade that would help them achieve economic freedom and experience the same equality as whites. To achieve this freedom and equality, he taught that if blacks excelled in fields like teaching, agriculture, and manual labor trades (blue collar fields), then eventually they would be treated as the equals they strived to be. Even though the Institute became an important center for technical education in the South, many blacks found his philosophies and teachings controversial. While those blacks wanted to integrate and become a bigger part of society, Washington saw no problem with segregation. One of his most famous doings is his Atlanta speech given 1895. In support of his campaign for segregation, he said during the speech, “In all things that are purely social, we (whites and blacks) can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.”

As always there as two sides to everything, and Mr. W.E.B. DuBois was the exact opposite of Washington. W.E.B. DuBois was the very first black Ph. D. graduate from Harvard University. DuBois was one of those African Americans that found Washington’s philosophies and teachings controversial, and he disagreed with him on many things. Offended by the ideas that Booker T. expressed in his Atlanta speech, DuBois saw Washington as someone that only wanted to please the white community and population. In response to Washington’s Atlanta speech, DuBois delivered the...
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