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The Ideas of Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey Essay

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Updated: Aug 25th, 2020

The issues of race and a variety of aspects of equality in all spheres of life are the most important issues in the history of the United States. Moreover, these issues were and still are so critical that they should be reviewed and acted upon on a national level. Regardless of the fact that nowadays black people are respected more than before, that is still not enough to call a total state of equality present.

The history of the United States shows how hard it has always been to build a nation where all the rights are equal, and numerous responsibilities and social roles are not unfair and prejudicing (Asante & Karenga, 2006). The modern-day improvements in the United States are evident but African Americans are still more likely to live in shortage, a considerably lower percent of them is well-educated, and the number of black people in prisons is six times higher than that of white people, which shows that the gap between the two races is diminishing with every other year, but it still exists.

Roles, rights, and responsibilities of black men and women in society

The roles of the black people in the American society of the 19th and 20th century can be described as minor in comparison to the white population (Foy, 2012). In the impenetrable atmosphere of segregation and constant discrimination, the blacks had only basic rights and lots of responsibilities that did not correspond any reasonable definition of equality or tolerance. The status of the black minority in society was the key issue. One of the indicators of injustice was the attitude towards black women.

There was a time when rape was not considered a serious crime if the victim was a black woman, and the alleged aggressors were white males. Moreover, there is a long history of gender and race labels that depicted black women as volatile and predisposed to crime. For this reason, black women risked being attacked and left defenseless in the courtroom due to the lack of sufficient rights to enable a legitimate resistance to the allegations. A similar situation can be traced with black men, for the reason that courts were unwilling to accuse the offender, regardless of the gravity of the crime committed against the minority. The fact of exemption has practically caused the surefire that authorities would not lift a finger to punish the offenders.

The views on the issue

Booker T. Washington’s standpoint

Washington planned, established, and led the Tuskegee Institute. It turned into a livewire of African-American education and politically aware impact in the United States. Washington claimed that African Americans should essentially focus on educating themselves, gaining knowledge invaluable crafts, and financing their own commerce. Heavy labor, financial progress, and distinction, he alleged, would demonstrate to whites the value of black people to the American budget. Washington supposed that his dream for black people would sooner or later lead to identical party-political and civic rights. In the intervening time, he recommended blacks to set aside their instantaneous demands for voting and concluding racial seclusion.

Washington recognized the certainty of ethnic isolation (Washington, 2012). He asserted, though, that African Americans be counted in the financial development of the South. Known by whites as the orator for his people, Washington soon grew into the most influential black frontrunner in the United States. He had a say in political circles, among the white sponsors that the African-American institutions would get money from. He governed a number of newspapers that confronted anyone who criticized his view of things. Washington was thinking of himself as of a bond between the races.

But other black select few disapproved him for accepting racial segregation at a time of growing anti-black viciousness and discernment. Washington did openly raise his voice counter to the problems of the separation, lynching, and unfairness in voting. He as well covertly partook in complaints concerning elector registration examinations, elimination of blacks from benches, and inadequate railroad amenities. By the time Washington passed away in 1915, separation regulations and racial discernment were decisively established all over the South and in many other areas of the United States. This tenacious racism congested the development of African Americans.

Marcus Garvey’s standpoint

Marcus Garvey is another key black visionary from the first half of the 20th century. He started his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914. Garvey supposed that white humanity would on no occasion agree to take black Americans as equals. Consequently, he was for the detached self-progress of African Americans in the United States. The UNIA arranged numerous small businesses that were owned by black people such as cafés and even a doll manufacturing firm that made black toys.

Garvey’s aim was to produce a distinct economy and civilization maintained for and by African Americans (Garvey & Blaisdell, 2012). Eventually, Garvey claimed that all black people from all over the world should come back to their motherland in Africa, which should be free of the white expatriate statute. Nonetheless, Garvey’s UNIA was deficient in the required resources, and an insufficient number of black people in the United States showed any interest in returning to Africa. In an inexplicable twist, Garvey got together with a frontrunner of the KKK in 1922.

Garvey stated that the goal of both organizations was quite similar: totally isolated black and white civilizations. Garvey even admired racial exclusion decrees, saying that they were useful for starting up black commerce. But this particular employment effort was unsuccessful. The rate of disapproval from his supporters quickly escalated. His idea of black autonomy never stuck with the majority of African Americans, and he and his remarkable crusade soon weakened and disappeared.


The ideas of Washington and Garvey both met the failure of creating the future of black people in the American social order where they would have equal rights and freedoms as any other race. Even though their efforts were unsuccessful, their attempts have suggested a new motion vector for the African Americans that were standing for the development of a proper movement for equal rights. As evidence of Washington’s and Garvey’s ideas, new influential individuals appeared to lead the civil rights crusade in the middle of the 20th century.

Martin Luther King Jr. and numerous other people followed an approach of reflexive tolerance to get over the separation and racial discrimination in the South. Martin Luther King’s ideas are reflected in the modern world because of its peaceful approach that favorably differs from the previous ones, although, it has often been criticized by many African Americans for being too passive towards the regime. At the moment, new black trailblazers remain besieged among themselves trying to find the best way for African Americans to make their lives better.


Asante, M. K., & Karenga, M. (2006). Handbook of Black Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Foy, D. (2012). Civil-Rights Activists. New York, NY: PowerKids Press.

Garvey, M., & Blaisdell, R. (2012). Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey. North Chelmsford, MA: Courier Corporation.

Washington, B. T. (2012). Up From Slavery. North Chelmsford, MA: Courier Corporation.

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