No account of any black history in the United States to be termed complete without the scrutiny of the enmity that existed between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. These two prodigious leaders came from the black community. Their emergence can be dated back to the late 19th and 20th era. Their rivalry led to the change of course in the quest for equal opportunity in the United States of America society that resulted in the birth of the modern movement of civil rights. Although the two of them were of the same era, exceedingly accomplished scholars committed to a course of civil rights for all black Americans, it is their transformations differences in the method and background that brought a significant impact on their futures (Gaines, Stanley and Edward, 8-28). These two disagreed sharply on economic and policies for black social progress. Most of their divergent philosophies are traceable in today's discussions on how to end racial and class injustice. They also debated on the starring role of black governance. Finally, they sharply disagreed on the haves be obliged the have not's in the community of blacks. Thus, this study examines the antique factors that shaped Dubois and Washington in their respective quest for Liberal Arts and acceptance to technical training is the reason why a debate of contradictory views is evident despite having one objective.
Booker T. Washington was a reformer, educationist and the most effective black leader of all time. His important dates back from 1856 to 1915 where he used to preach the philosophy of racial solidarity, self-help, and accommodation. Booker always dissuaded the blacks to consent discrimination for the given period and gave concentration on how they will lift up themselves through material prosperity and hard work. Booker believed that education was significance to the black people. He advocated for education in farming, industrial and crafts skills. The agronomy of virtues of thrift, enterprise, and patience was what he embraced. With all these elements, Booker believed that blacks would win over their white counterparts thus earning respect from them. He also believed that by possessing all that he believed, it would undoubtedly lead to a black African American to be fully accepted and acknowledged as the populace of America. They will then be incorporated into the social strata.
On the hand, W.E.B. Du Bois is a colossal black scholar, intellectual and political thinker. The strategy that Washington advocates are that only serves to perpetuate the oppression that originates from the Whites (Gaines, Stanley and Edward, 8-28). He is an activist of civil and political action agenda. He is the one entitled to aid in founding NAACP. Apart from the above, he is documented in arguing out on social change that could be used in accomplishing and developing a group of small black educated individuals who later came to be known as the Talented Tenth. Du Bois at one time said, "The Negro Race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education then, among Negroes, must first of all deal with the "Talented Tenth." It is a problem of developing the best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the worst" (DuBois, 125).
All these men were generations, and without a doubt, their overall black experience and personal outlook in the United States did guide their sentient to embrace certain tactics and strategies to hoist the black society socially, economically and politically. But here was their basis for these two leaders' fundamentally disagreeing. Their sharp criticism and disagreement resulted to name calling, suspicion, unwilling to concede, distrust and maybe led to them recognizing one another's weaknesses and strengths that were present in their philosophies.
Why and How They Disagreed
Works and Ideology
Washington was born and raised a slave. Without a doubt, the experience of being raised in a slavery institution shaped and impacted his life so much. As a Negro intellectual, he faced many tribulations that included cultural apparatus, white power structure and inner realities that faced the black world people. For him to be relevant, he had to acutely make himself aware of the dynamics surrounding the nature of American society, the ingredients surrounding the stratification of American society. Hence is a way of working and ideology was shaped by the environment and almost certainly how best he comprehended the whites powerful influence on black leaders that used to shape his personality, political ideas, and economic status that was of interest to his black people. Du Bois, on the other hand, was born to French and black ancestry. He was raised in the North where the environment was kind tolerant and liberal towards the black people. The experiences Du Bois gained was to learn to accept segregation. Accepting segregation aided him to live a life of acceptance that later he was exposed to at Harvard (Gaines, Stanley and Edward, 8-28). Thus, the different places both of these leaders were raised can be said be of one of the reasons they both viewed life differently and sharply disagreed.
Raised in a free Massachusetts where he received the customary liberal arts education, the chain of events that followed afterward on Dubois on how he viewed the worldview differently from Washington. That is why Dubois worked so hard to promote most of the blacks to go and attend liberal arts education. Dubois' perspective believed that Washington was working with white racists. Hence, Dubois felt that Washington used the white supremacy inspiration over blacks to unswerving lead them to an industrial education that denied the blacks the civil equality, right to vote and the ability of the youth to school.
Because of Not Seeing One Another Eye To Eye
Dubois was acting like opposition to Washington sentiments despite all of them coming from the black society. Both of these individuals took the position of refusal and non-compromise on the slavery aspect. Hence their posture resembled that of give me death or liberty. The sword that Dubois embraced was the pen since he was an academician and intellectual. His academician and intellectuality was based on a foreign and domestic policy of the United States and detested politics of accommodation that Booker T. Washington always was advocating and preaching (Washington, 91). Thus, the practical purpose that defined these two individuals on their philosophical disagreement never allowed them to meet or see one another eye to eye. It is believed that their differences were like a militant and radical style of disagreement that could not allow them to meet one on one.
Could Not Be Confined In the NAACP
Dubois believed on the planks and tenets of Niagara Movement that grew and stabilized in NAACP. Dubois tried to impart the ideas of a political and social that is agitated towards class and race that attempted to persuade NAACP to accept struggle hence being linked to Marxist interpretation. Dubois vacillated philosophical ideas. He sort to resolve all issues surrounding oppression, racism and colonial culture unity that led him to constantly be changing his political direction deemed to be contradictory fashion. For Washington, he was consistent and unswerving towards the economic and political interpretation that made him remain conciliatory, unlike Dubois. Washington never engaged in any unacceptable political foster criticism directed at the whites. Washington's political views did not include on controversial issues that upset the whites. Thus, these two perspectives of how they conducted themselves when inside NAACP never allowed them to be contained. Their political motives, challenging one another in ideas, rebellion, protest, revolt, capitulating and uncompromising nature never permitted the two of them to operate within NAACP (Washington, 92).
Dubois and Washington Had the Same Goals, but Their Tactics Were Different
It is in the contention that both Dubois and Washington had in same common goals which were to help in uplifting the black race that they inhabited. But all of them chose a whole different, distinct and opposite paths as far as articulating their political tactics and strategies. All these men believed and always geared towards the economic, political and social empowerment of their downtrodden race. Despite their sharp differences, these two black leaders' relevance as being one of the historical icons and having philosophies that could be relied upon are still up for grab and debate even though it is yet 2017.
All in all, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois rivalry led to the change of course in the quest for equal opportunity in the United States of America society that resulted in the birth of the modern movement of civil rights. Although the two of them were of the same era, exceedingly accomplished scholars committed to a course of civil rights for all black Americans, it is their transformations differences in the method and background that brought a significant impact on their futures. All these men believed and always geared towards the economic, political and social empowerment of their downtrodden race. Despite their sharp differences, these two black leaders' relevance as being one of the historical icons and having philosophies that could be relied on.
DuBois, WE Burghardt. The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America. New York: Social Science Press, 1954.
Gaines Jr, Stanley O., and Edward S. Reed. "Two social psychologies of prejudice: Gordon W. Allport, WEB Du Bois, and the legacy of Booker T. Washington." Journal of Black Psychology 20.1 (1994): 8-28.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2014. Print.
Washington, Booker T. Booker T. Washington. Prentice-Hall, 1969.
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