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Booker T. Washington Vs. W.E.B. Du Bois

Uploaded by harina92 on Dec 06, 2011

At a time when the black community was being afforded a free status, but not one of 
equality, many leaders arose to appeal to the white governing body for social equality. 
The transition from the nineteenth century to the twentieth century gave birth to two of 
these leaders, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although these two remarkable men 
were both in search of a common goal, their roads leading to this goal were significantly 
different. This is most evident in Booker T. Washington's The Atlanta Exposition Address 
 and W.E.B. Du Bois response to this, The Souls of Black Folk. Booker T. Washington’s gradualism stance gives him a popular appeal among both blacks and whites, although W.E.B. Du Bois has the upper hand when it came to ideology dealing with economic prosperity among blacks.
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 caution, 
in doing so he not only comes across as an advocate of Blacks gaining “all privileges of 
the law”(Up from Slavery, 457), but also of Blacks being prepared “for the exercises of 
these privileges.”(457) By taking this approach Washington is gaining the appeal 
within the black community as well as the white community. In contrast to this effective stance, Du Bois asks constantly 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. “Ceaseless agitation”( The Souls of Black Folk 563 ) he feels will do more in the fight for equality than “voluntarily throwing away”(563) the reasonable rights they are entitled to. The opposing approaches of Washington and Du Bois are far from unnoticeable, and receive recognition from both sides.
In Washington’s Atlanta Compromise 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.”(457) This 
statement, delivered at a time when blacks and whites have separate water fountains, 
blacks were lynched, and the majority of blacks were illiterate, directly condemns the 
blunt complaining with which Du Bois is supporting. Du Bois criticism is illustrated 
in The Souls of Black Folk; “The way for...

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Uploaded by:   harina92

Date:   12/06/2011

Category:   American

Length:   3 pages (727 words)

Views:   6313

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