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

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Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Dubois During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, unjust laws like the Jim Crow Laws which crippled the nation's capability to permit equality between the white community and African Americans. W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington were the two premier social and political figures that doubled as writers as well, and aimed to stifle unjust laws like these. Although both of these men advocated civil rights and cultural equality, they differed in that both of them planned to accomplish these feats via the execution of two very different procedures. Dubois' historical piece entitled, "The Souls of Black Folk," and Booker T. Washington's monumental piece entitled, "The Case of the Negro" are two superb selections of the mens' work revealing both the matters of opinion upon which the two agree, and of course, the subjects and points of view upon which they disagree. Similarities between these two African American historical figures are quite clear. Each of these men wanted equality between the black and white communities nationally, and the stifling of discrimination and segregation amongst the two creeds. ...read more.


In essence, he believed that the African American community should begin the transition to equality by embarking on the creation of an agricultural foundation in which black individuals show their capability to be responsible and successful on a vocational basis. After an agricultural foundation is created, and education on a vocational basis is established, Washington stresses the need for teachers, ministers, doctors, and then lawyers to build the foundation of the African American community; thus, enabling the creation of an existing network to support the eventual advancement of African American figures in the political and social realms. "If this generation will lay the material foundation," he began, "it would be the...surest way for enabling later generations to succeed...and surround themselves with some of the luxuries of life." Just as implied in this quote, it is evident that Booker T. Washington's point of view favored the idea of steadily increasing the African American political and social experience before establishing African American political power. Essentially, he thought it was best to first prove that the African American community could handle social and political responsibility through the "development of their own business enterprises" before acquiring higher economic status. ...read more.


Although Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois both had significant roles of the shaping of the political and social schemes of the civil rights movement, Washington's strategy to achieve equality better suits the early 20th century. His argument for the creation of a vocational foundation in which African Americans opted to build their repertoire of proven responsibilities before venturing out to climb the US economic ladder is more concrete and realistic as opposed to Dubois' argument simply to fight for higher power without having first maintained a social stability in the vocational realm. Essentially, Washington's argument that one must 'crawl' before they can 'run,' is much more pragmatic and sensible when compared to Dubois' wanting to just 'run,' especially when the time these men are talking about is during an era in which the white community was at a point where they didn't even want to drink from the same water fountain as the black community. Essentially, the white community could not be expected to trust African American political figures if such trivial concepts still could not be grasped. Both sides needed time. Both sides needed gradual change in order to move forward socially and politically on a permanent basis. ...read more.

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