The debate between Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois turned out to be one of the greatest intellectual as well as inspiring battles in our United States history. This great debate sparked the interest of African Americans and whites throughout the entire country. Both men had distinct views on how blacks should go about progressing politically, socially, as well as financially here in the United States. Both Du Bois and Washington wanted African-Americans to have the same rights as white Americans; But Du Bois encouraged African-Americans to demand equal rights, while Washington, on the other hand, often ignored discrimination.
He believed that it was important for blacks to develop good relationships with whites because He was afraid that blacks who demanded equal rights would create bitterness between themselves and white Americans. Dubois ridiculed Mr. Washington’s tactics believing Washington’s accommodations program asked blacks to give up political power, insistence on civil rights, and higher education for Negro youth. Although Bois was ridiculed by these tactics he still respected him he says “Among his own people, however, Mr.
Washington has encountered the strongest and most lasting opposition, amounting at times to bitterness, and even today continuing strong and insistent even though largely silenced in outward expression by the public opinion of the nation. Some of this opposition is, of course, mere envy; the disappointment of displaced demagogues and the spite of narrow minds” (W. E. B Dubois 3) While their strategy may have differed, both of these remarkable men had a common goal in the uplift of the black community.
Born into slavery on April 5, 1856 Booker T. Washington would become an educator, author, and before his passing one of the most influential leaders during his time. Mr. Washington views for social, economic and political growth differed immensely from his counterpart w. e. b Dubois. Unlike Washington web Dubois grew up free in a community that was relatively tenant and integrated, he would become the first African American to graduate with a doctorate from Harvard University.
Booker did not believe having equal rights was a necessity evident by the Atlanta compromise speech Washington says “In all things purely social we can be as separate as the five fingers, and yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. ” (Washington). Booker T. Washington main focus was on having education for real life jobs that he believed would eventually turn African Americans in an economic powerhouse or at least dig themselves out of the financial whole they were already in.
He believed by working hard and playing second fiddle to the white man would ultimately give black America the equal rights and respect that they always wanted. WEB Dubois focused on the exact opposite things that of Booker T. Washington. Unlike Washington, Dubois felt that inequality with whites was one of the utmost importance issues facing black America. Dubois demanded for all black citizens to have the right to vote, civic equality, and give our young blacks the right to a proper education.
Dubois firmly believed that persistent agitation, political action, and academic education would be the means to achieve full citizenship rights for black Americans. His educational philosophy directly influenced his political approach. He stressed the need for liberal arts training because he believed that in order for blacks to obtain leadership skills was through education at a college. One of the biggest disagreements in philosophies between the two men was over the issue of black suffrage. In terms of voting, Dubois believed that agitating for the ballot was necessary, but opposed giving the vote to the uneducated blacks.
He believed that economic gains were not secure unless there was political power to safeguard them. Washington, on the other hand, felt that the right to vote was not a necessity and the only thing that would come out of protesting for voting rights is the irritation of whites. In conclusion, the debate between W. E. B Dubois and Washington was nothing short of remarkable and genius. Although both men had two separate ways about doing things they both shared the same common goal, which was bettering the lives of African Americans. In my opinion, W. E. B Dubois plan to go strongly for African American rights and equality was the better strategy. Not only did he help bring us together but he gave blacks a sense of self confidence that they didn’t possess before. For once blacks believed not only can you be as good as the white man but better. While some may agree that Mr. Washington’s plan to endure the second citizenship title was only degrading and keeping the black man down. Although Washington had honorable goals Dubois gave the people a strong sense of empowerment and worthiness that has helped the black race grows into what it is today.