Booker. T and Dubois
Running Head: BOOKER. T AND DUBOIS
Booker T and DuBois: Comparison of Evolving philosophies and Organizational Approaches of Booker T. Washington and W.B. DuBois
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Comparison of Evolving philosophies and Organizational Approaches of Booker T. Washington and W.B. DuBois
Booker T. Washington for decades laid down the principle of gradualism and accommodation among the blacks in the United States but it later emerged that leadership of the blacks fighting against oppression was passing onto more militant personalities like W.E.B Du bois. These two were some of the people who led black Americans in warfare against racism that had then taken root. The Negros were treated as inferior citizens deprived of their civil and human rights. White supremacy was legalized and Negros left at the pity of ex-slave masters. This deteriorated condition led to leaders of the Negros like Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois to come up with different strategies on how to tackle the white dominance (The MacMillan Centre, 2010)
The MacMillan Centre (2010), states that the main target for the Negros was to have racial equality. Two different allied to two different Negro leaders were employed. This included the economic strategy allied to Washington. He was the main spokesperson for the gradualist economic policy. Contrary to Washington, Dubois was the major supporter of the gradualist political plan (Gibson)
Washington’s program emerged when the social, political and economic conditions for the Negros were on the death bed. His prominence rose in 1895 while giving a speech that brought out his social and racial strategy. He was the first Negro to address a mammoth crowd of southern whites. In ‘Atlanta compromise’ an address that he did, he told the white Americans to give jobs and vocational education for the Negros to bring to stop their demands for social equality and civil rights. Washington in the same address tells Negros to focus on economic empowerment as it far much better than socio- political equality. He believed that in the event that blacks acquired economic independence and proved indispensable to whites, other things like civil rights and social equality would definitely be granted to them. He encouraged blacks to toil like farmers or artisans and laborers to convince whites that not all blacks were liars and thieve (Du Bois, 1903)
According to Gibson (2010) Washington’s philosophy was that of accommodating the white oppression. He advised blacks to accept the existence of white supremacy. Washington insisted on the mutual interdependence between whites and but blacks in the south but cautioned that they should remain socially separate, “In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” Washington advised blacks to remain stay put in the south, acquire education, work hard, save money and buy property and eventually they would earn full citizenship.
Washington’s program had its own merits. The white Americans reacted with zeal to his racial strategies and made him the national leader of the Negros. The program attracted the admiration of the north because of its lack political and civil aspirations but instead they saw the message of peace between the blacks and whites in the south (Gibson, 2010).
Washington’s conciliatory of the whites led to substantial contributions from philanthropists who were whites to Tuskegee an institution for blacks that Washington founded and to other institutions hat incorporated this philosophy. Gibson (2010) points out that he won a lot of white support thus becoming and excellent black leader in education and charity, labor associations and commerce, political affairs and all communal affairs. Despite the merits the program too had shortcomings as it allowed blacks to be treated as lesser citizens in the hope that they would gain upward mobility. It’s actually a long way to gaining freedom when one is suffering.
W.E.B Dubois emerged as the critic of Washington’s philosophy. He became known as the leader of the resistance. Before then in the 1890s Dubois and Washington read from the same script. They both believed that for the black man to emancipate himself from slavery, economic growth was the route to achieving that. But later between 1901 and 1903 saw the transition of Dubois’ philosophy. He found Washington’s program unbearable (Gibson, 2010). DuBois believed that demonstration, political battle and academic education would be used as a means to getting full citizenship by the black Americans. He insisted on the significance of liberal arts education since he believed leadership of the blacks would come from college trained individuals. In his essay entitled ““Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others,” he argues that Washington’s philosophy encouraged the inferiority nature of the blacks to the whites. He advocates for the rights of the Negros to take part in an election, civic equality and learning of the Negro youth. Dubois’ ‘talented tenth’ philosophy held that college educated elite would maneuver using their knowledge to gain economic elevation of the Negros.
Dubois founded a fundamental civil rights protest body the “Niagara Movement.” This movement started a campaign for complete equality and justice for blacks emphasizing on political rights in 1905. The movement insisted on compulsory education to all American children, adequate high school education and college education offered without preference to class. It also demanded for upright judges in courts and fair ruling not based on color of ones skin. The movement also pleaded for access to good health and better housing for the blacks (Du Bois,1903). In 1909 after the wide spread rioting and murders of Negros in Illinois, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People were formed championed by Dubois. NAACP comprised of both whites and black radicals who wanted to remove obstacles to complete nationality for Negros. It brought about Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. NAACP fought against discrimination and segregation in courts.
Dubois’ program has an advantage in the sense that it pushed the whites to the wall to realize that the blacks were actually being oppressed and couldn’t hold it any longer. But the main disadvantage was that it led to confrontations that resulted in the loss of lives and development of bad blood between the two races.
In the modern world Washington’s program is the one applicable by the blacks in their struggle with the blacks. It is a civilized society and violence is deemed as backward and retrogressive. Mutual existence and diplomacy as illustrated in Washington’s philosophy should be the way forward.
The MacMillan Centre. (2010). Niagara's Declaration of Principles, 1905. Retrieved Nov. 12, 2010 from http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1152.htm
Du Bois, W. E. B. (1903). The Souls of Black Folk. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co.; [Cambridge]: University Press John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A., 1903; Bartleby.com, 1999. Retrieved Nov. 12, 2010 from www.bartleby.com/114/.
Gibson, R. (2010). Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois: The Problem of Negro Leadership. Retrieved Nov. 12, 2010 from http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1978/2/78.02.02.x.html
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