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Main Differences Between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois Essay

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Updated: Jul 21st, 2020

Contrary to the present peaceful coexistence state of all American citizens socially, economically, and politically, in the past, the whites segregated individuals of the African-American origin. Therefore, because of the white supremacy, the Negros had no say, even in issues that concerned their lives; hence, the nature of suffering this community endured in the hands of the whites.

The African-American cries for freedom from segregation, indiscriminate killings, deprivation of their fundamental rights, and mob Violence hit a snag because the whites considered Negros as subhuman beings. Because of the worsening condition, Negros sought ways of freeing themselves from such extreme suffering, leading to the rising of two influential Negro leaders, namely Booker T and W.E.B Dubois (Gibson Para. 1-3). Although these two leaders shared a common agenda and agreed on the idea of saving the African-Americans from segregation and extreme suffering, there was a difference between booker t washington’s and w.e.b dubois’ ideological approaches to the problem.

How Did the Views of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois Differ?

According to Booker T Washington’s biography, he was born a slave in 1856 and later became an advocate for Black Progress. He believed that the gradualist economic approach was the only method that could guarantee Negros freedom, an idea that Dubois dismissed.

According to him, regardless of the economic riches and education that Negros obtained under submission to the whites, there is no way whites were to give them freedom, and consequently, his gradualist political policy. The central theme of Dubois’s ideology was that African-Americans had to demand and fight for their freedom. There is no way their white oppressors could leave their slaves to leave (Gibson Para. 1-6).

Because of the respect that the whites accorded Booker T having worked with them and showed loyalty to them for a long time, Booker T held the notion that, through foregoing their cries for freedom, social equality, and fundamental liberties, the whites could offer Black Americans some industrial-agricultural training and employment opportunities.

Through the expertise learned from the training and jobs, African-Americans were eventually to gain the respect of whites, and consequently, the eventual granting of their civil liberties. To Booker T Washington, the gaining economic independence and respectability were of greater significance than fighting for civil rights through forceful means, which African-Americans had no guarantee that they could win (Henry 1).

Difference Between Washington’s and Dubois’ Beliefs

Generally, Booker T’s strategy laid more emphasis on blacks accepting and accommodating the white cruelty and supremacy as this was the only primary method of ensuring a mutual interdependence relationship developed between African-Americans and whites. Although Booker acknowledged that such a connection could not clear the social differences between these two American groups, the association could guarantee mutual economic development of both groups and the joint release of blacks from suffering (Smock 7-19).

Despite similarities between Booker T Washington’s and W.E.B. Dubois’ sentiments that blacks were suffering and that economic independence was necessary for the rise of the black community, the submission issue. Because of the little gain, Booker T’s strategy gained African-Americans, Dubois advocated for the formation of social liberties organizations to fight for the Blacks’ rights.

According to Dubois’ philosophy, although education was important in liberating the blacks, there was a need for political action and constant agitation, as it was the only way of forcing the whites to surrender some power.

To be politically competent and elevate the social status of the blacks’ needs, Dubois further emphasized the importance of Blacks studying liberal arts in colleges, instead of only industrial-agricultural studies. Therefore, although Dubois accepted some of Bookers’ ideas, he believed that Booker T’s ideology never gave a concrete solution to the Race problem (Dawkins 1).

Booker T Washington vs W.E.B. Dubois: Essay Conclusion

In conclusion, if to compare and contrast their accomplishments and impact on society, it is clear that these two prominent African-American leaders had one agenda of helping blacks gain their freedom and civil liberties, their strategies varied. Booker believed in submission to the white supremacy, a case that Dubois opposed with his political strategy.

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-New Haven Teachers Institute. 2010. Web.

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

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