Attempts to organize a wide protest of the African-American public against the racist order of the South took place at the end of the 19th century. The turn of the century was the time when Booker Washington’s ideas for the Black school were completely dominant among the African-American community. The basis of his views were ideas of the need for the Black population to adapt to the political and social realities in the South.
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Calling on African-Americans to temporarily accept partial deprivation of voting rights, as well as the introduction of racial segregation, Washington hoped that in return, Blacks would receive employment and educational opportunities. Thus, the African-American leader hoped that the community would be able to further achieve racial equality by improving their material well-being.
The basis of the opponents of the ideology of adaptation was the young African-American intellectuals who lived in the North, where the Black population did not experience oppression in their rights. Opposition leader of the course of Washington became a professor at the University of Atlanta, William Dubois. Initially, under the influence of the ideas of adaptation, he later became convinced of their inconsistency. The achievement of civil and political equality was the main task for the Black public. Thus, Washington’s opponents called for open protest and agitation against the racist order in the South.
The first alternative vision for African-Americans was proposed by W.E.B Du Bois, who proposed to fight against the anti-Black establishment. He claimed that civil rights were more important than focusing on economic self-sufficiency. The idea of interracial compromise proposed by Washington was perceived by the majority of the southern elite as a de facto recognition of the Blacks’ second-rate. It resulted in frequent cases of uprisings and racial conflicts. In addition, the introduction of segregation in public places was accelerated. Most Black intellectuals were deprived of the voting rights alongside all African-American people in the South.
In the face of Washington’s reluctance to change his strategy aimed at refusing to criticize the actions of the federal government and the authorities of the southern states, there was growing discontent among the African-American public. The primary limitation of the vision of Du Bois was that most African-Americans were not educated enough to be able to fight against the establishment, whereas the main merit was the non-submissive approach.
Another alternative vision for African-American people was to radically overthrow the establishment by revolts and confrontational methods. This view of Black liberation was derived from the proposition of Du Bois, who wanted African-Americans to gain their civil freedom.
However, he did not suggest using violence and radical measures, which was the core idea of the given alternative vision. With the support of the controlled anti-Black press and organizations, Washington sought to manage and calm the growing protests among the Black population. The main limitation was that the movement did not have any intellectual leaders, whereas the primary merit was manifested in the aggressiveness of the ideas. It forced the government to take the rights of African-Americans more seriously and with precaution.
In conclusion, it is important to note that both Washington and Du Bois were aiming to liberate the African-American community. Washington tried to educate Black people, whereas Du Bois wanted to fight for civil rights. In addition, another alternative movement derived from the approach of Du Bois was more radical and drastic, because it proposed revolts and confrontational methods.