Home > Free Essays > Politics & Government > Civil Rights Theories > Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington

Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington Research Paper

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: May 21st, 2020


Contrary to the present state of the African-American natives; socially, economically, and politically, in the past, individuals mostly of the American white origin, segregated this group hence, oppressing them through oppressive power control mechanisms.

In addition, to ensure this community never succeeded in any of their endeavors, the whites exercised full control of the political, social, and economic systems hence, making natives of the African-American culture to suffer a lot. Although this was the scenario, for a very long time, realization of the African-Americans that there is a lot they could achieve on their own, as far as securing their freedom from such oppressions was concerned led to the rise of many freedom movements.

The birth of these movements and the continual struggle for liberation led to the emerging of very strong political activists, whose main mandate was to ensure black Americans enjoyed the same freedom as other American natives; a war that faced a lot of antagonism, because the whites thwarted such efforts by using all mechanisms they had at their disposal.

Although many leaders emerged as the struggle become serious, two leaders of this community will forever receive recognition in the American History namely: Booker T, Washington and his greatest opposer W.E.B. Dubois (Moore pp.3-13).

It is important to note that, although these two individuals had one thing in common; to free the African-American community from extreme oppression and segregation they had suffered from for a very long time, their approach to the entire liberation concept was very different.

Discussion on Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington

To some extent, critical analysis of their ideological stances clearly show that, this individuals backgrounds was the primary element, which shaped their ideological views on mechanisms that were necessary in the struggle for liberation of the African-American community; commonly called the Negros.

That is, unlike Dubois who was a pure black from the North, Washington, had a southern affiliation, with parents of different ethnicities; a black mother and a white father; a fact which majority of scholars associate to his biased views on the liberation war.

Although Dubois was African, his love for education gave him a chance of studying in Europe hence, his liking of the socialism and communism ideology of living. Washington’s early life history greatly varied from Dubois in that, through his early life was that of slavery and oppression; hence, his believe in the concept of pleasing his oppressors, as a survival and liberation mechanism (Henry p. 1 and Moore pp.61-72).

According to Washington, although education had a role to play as far as the war was concerned, its contributions were too minimal; hence, such knowledge obtained from any educational forum was of more importance in the Job market.

According to him, to ensure that blacks got the liberation they were yearning for, they had to be submissive to their white oppressors, a practice, which according to him could finally make the whites to recognize efforts by the African-Americans; hence, grant them their freedom. To achieve this, there was need for Negros to wholly depend on provisions from whites, something, which was achievable by blacks first acknowledging that they were for real blacks; hence deserved little freedom.

Contrary to this, his great antagonist Dubois held a very different view of the entire war. That is, according to him, the only workable and real mechanism in this war was African-Americans to demand for their rights, as the only primary mechanism of ensuring there was minimization of the oppressive powers held by whites.

In addition, to him the gradualist political orientation was the only mechanism; politically, of speeding the liberation, due the notion held by him that, many social mechanisms failed hence, some force and demand for civil rights was necessary for such like a struggle to be victorious (Gibson p.1).

To Washington, black power was achievable through hard work and not strife that is, freedom was a gradual process that needed hard work and development in sectors, which were main economic contributors for example, agriculture, Education; for skill enhancement, and economics. Through his two-way oriented ideologies; liberation of African-Americans while acknowledging the Whites’ supremacy, Washington become popular in both of these two societies hence, his success politically.

His concepts received a lot of antagonism from Dubois, on grounds that, freedom was not all about accepting “defeat” as a primary mechanism for gradual gain, but rather it involved achievement of civil equality, which encompassed recognition and respect of all individuals’ right (Smock pp.135-145).

Yes, to some extent, Washington’s ideological perspective of achieving freedom was right, but considering the conditions and nature of oppression the African-American community faced, it was hard for the these natives to achieve their freedom.

In addition, to some extent, Washington’s ideologies were biased; hence, by embracing them, there was no way the society could have gained its present freedom, owing to the fact that, this could concrete the white supremacy; hence, lead to more oppression and abuse of the Blacks’ rights (Moore pp. 7-11). This makes Dubois’s orientation the most appropriate on grounds that, it was impossible for this community to achieve its freedom without having to ask for such rights.

During the time of these two great and most respected leaders, the concept of discrimination was prevalent in all sectors, hence considering the disenfranchisement of this minority community it was hard for Washington’s ideas to work in reality. For sure, how can individuals attain success and respect in a scenario where their bosses despise everything such individuals do or endeavor to achieve?

This is because; adoption of Washington’s ideology of submissiveness, could mean accepting any orders from any white native, something that elucidates one primary question; if African-Americans could have submitted to whites orders, how sure could the community be that, these whites could grant them their freedom finally; owing to their importance in helping them strengthen their empires economically?

On the other hand, in any societal scenario, no one can deny that, educations is one of the primary building blocks of any social, economic, and political systems existing in such a society. Although this rhymes with Washington’s idea, it is important to note that, success of his ideologies was almost impossible in the olden American society.

This is the case primarily because; during the times of these prominent leaders, the then existing segregations created prime obstacles to the advancement of the African-Americans in education (Smock pp. 50-73). Considering this, sometimes is very hard to comprehend how Washington’s ideas could have succeeded, owing to the fact that, if even him who had some white origin, faced many obstacles in his schooling, what could have been the case for the African-American minorities?

Sometimes, considering Washington’s ideologies on achievement of freedom, it will not be wrong for any individual to argue that, his ideologies were egocentric and only aimed at personal gains, rather than communal gain.

That is, although he succeeded in his political career, because of the political support he received from both sides, what contributions did his ideologies make to the liberation of this minority group? Considering the current status of these two communities in the American continent, his ideologies could have been fruitless in achieving freedom enjoyed presently.

In addition, considering the antagonism and attacks this community received form White driven groups for example, the Ku Klux Klan and the White league, Dubois’s ideologies were the best in achieving the freedom, which this community had yearned for a very long time.

On the other hand, yes, education had some significance in the liberation war; however, how could it achieve its targets with the much segregation, which were prevalent in the Job market. This made Washington’s ideologies not only impractical and unrealistic, but also the hardest to achieve, in a society, which had many conflicting issues and differences (Moore pp. 92-110).

Economic dependency was another factor that this African-Americans needed for such liberation to come as per Washington however, how could this minorities have achieved this, in a society where black entrepreneurs received extreme victimization? This because; as Dawkins (P.1) argues, the concept of freedom entrepreneurship was a vocabulary to this segregated group primarily because; no white could be pleased to see a Negro succeed.

To whites, succeeding of an African-American meant that, likelihoods of them sinking capitalistic gains were high; hence, the need to minimize their achievements for them to remain whites’ descendants forever. Hence, this made it important for this oppressed community to take Dubois orientation, for it was the only mechanism of ensuring this group received its required civic recognition.


In conclusion, although Washington’s ideologies of achieving freedom were good, they lacked the practicality concept, owing to the fact that likelihoods of such efforts succeeding in the past American society were minimal. In addition, this was the case primarily because; this society received extreme segregation from the whites in all aspects of their lives hence, submitting to the whites, as a mechanism of achieving freedom; through economic gains, could play no role as far as the struggle for liberation was concerned.

Works Cited

Dawkins, Sabrina. Deromanticizing Black History W.E.B. Dubois & Booker T Washington. 2010. Web.

Gibson, Robert. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Dubois: . Yale National Initiative. 2010. Web.

Henry, Charles. Who won the great debate Booker T. Washington of W.E.B. Dubois? 2010. Web.

Moore, Jacqueline. Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. . Wilmington: Scholarly Resources Inc, 2003. Web.

Smock, Raymond. Booker T. . Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1988. Web.

This research paper on Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Research Paper sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a citation style:


IvyPanda. (2020, May 21). Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/ideas-of-w-e-b-dubois-and-booker-t-washington/

Work Cited

"Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington." IvyPanda, 21 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/ideas-of-w-e-b-dubois-and-booker-t-washington/.

1. IvyPanda. "Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington." May 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ideas-of-w-e-b-dubois-and-booker-t-washington/.


IvyPanda. "Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington." May 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ideas-of-w-e-b-dubois-and-booker-t-washington/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington." May 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ideas-of-w-e-b-dubois-and-booker-t-washington/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Ideas of W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington'. 21 May.

More related papers
Psst... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Psst... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!