Free «African-American History: W. E. Du Bois & Booker T. Washington» Essay Paper

Free «African-American History: W. E. Du Bois & Booker T. Washington» Essay Paper


Both Du Bois and Washington fought aimlessly towards liberation of the African-Americans from acts of oppression and segregation. They emphasized on numerous basic aspects affecting the black community as a whole. The paper focuses on reconstruction processes, perceptions of education, economy and leadership rights as noted by the two black liberators.

Reconstruction Period: Booker T. Washington Perceptive

The period took place in the late 1800s. It facilitated an awakening moment for the African-American community, since they started seeking for basic aspects of surviving. The blacks perceived a need to learn some of the foreign languages, as well as hold some of the public offices previously held by the majority of whites (Woodson 22-27). The era gave most of the blacks like Booker T. Washington an opportunity to study in such notable institutions as Hampton Institute.

Washington’s sole message to the black community in this period called for their adoption of self-reliance strategies. The strategies would help them overcome pressures attributed to the Great Depression, as well as the ever-changing political and social environments across the United States of America.


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The Southern Side experienced the reconstruction period as result of aggressive lynching syndicates. Consequently, it affected cultural values, as well as social clusters, especially due to the fact that the black people had faced intense suppression levels under white supremacy (Woodson 37). They had resorted to living on two identities since they were made to believe in white rule superiority complex. As a result of intense suppression under white rule, some of the notable black liberators aimed at formulation of both 14th and15th Amendments to the US Constitution.

Booker Washington noted that even though the period helped the black community receive political rights, it failed in addressing issues related to overburdening economy. Notably, such political fronts like Democratic Party and KKK infringed on the numerous efforts made to liberate blacks from oppression. Such political groups continued to promote aspects of violence and lynching against the blacks despite numerous agreements like the Atlanta Compromise (Woodson 46-50). In consequence, Booker Washington emphasized on the need for all the blacks to improve their social and human capital prowess. The perception led to the formation of such labor organizations like the CNLU, which offered membership for all workers, especially blacks, as a way of integrating their labor demands on a national platform. In his views, it can be noted that Booker Washington practically embraced inferiority notions of the black race. He facilitated the withdrawal of numerous high-demands made by African-Americans (Woodson 50). He also called for the blacks to forgo political power, insistence on civil rights and higher education for the sake of attaining industrial education, accumulation of wealth and the pacification of the South.

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Besides, Booker Washington continued to provide distinctive perceptions on matters related to education, economy and political leadership rights.

Booker Washington’s Views on Education

On education matters, Booker Washington relies on knowledge garnered from General Samuel C. Armstrong. He emphasized on the immediate value of character-development over education, as well as the importance of both agricultural and industrial mode of training (Daniels 226). The formation of Tuskegee Institute occurred at the right time for him to replicate his education views to the local blacks.

Subsequently, Washington, influenced by the ideas of educational certainty, emphasized on practical, as well as materialist-based values derived from dignified models of labor. For instance, he promoted the idea of colored middle-class among the blacks. The awakening of blacks in education prospects facilitated the “new negro” spirit, which uplifted their standards of living by engaging in trades previously dominated by southern whites (Daniels 226). Furthermore, he focused his passion for education on encouraging an education system that depended on both scientific principles and industrial knowledge. The inclusion of such two aspects promoted the doctrines of utilitarianism.

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Booker Washington’s Views on Economy, Political and Leadership Rights

Booker Washington called for the immediate inclusion of both theory and practical notions for purposes of uplifting the spirit of capitalism. He noted that capitalism provided a fundamental platform for blacks to acquire and amass substantial wealth just like their white counterparts (Daniels 227). It facilitated the black migration process where African-Americans sought for prosperity by moving to the urbanized north of America.

Notably, he insisted on aspects of entrepreneurship and land-ownership as a self –reliance approach. The achievement of economic stability improved the lives and social structures of most of the blacks. Consequently, he made efforts to strike a perfect balance between liberalized and practical-based education systems.

Regarding the matters of leadership, Booker Washington insisted on formulation of a work-based alliance for all northern and southern whites and blacks. He did not, however, support liberalized labor alliances, since they were deemed chaotic (Daniels 226). He perceived the probability of such economic coalitions losing their directions and goals and transforming into political parties.

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Du Bois’ Views on Education, Economy, Political and Leadership Rights

Regarding education, Du Bois called for immediate uplifting of basic education to higher education offered to the blacks. He called for the retraining of the Talented Tenth as a way of promoting quality education (Woodson 67). During his tenure as a leader of NAACP, Du Bois strived for formulation of laws prohibiting segregation of schools. The ruling parties favored emergence of vocational trainers who formulated and implemented distinctive programs aimed at reviving of black youth.

He strongly called for the immediate development and incorporation of social and education knowledge. Much emphasis was put on the few educated and financially stable blacks to help and integrate with their poor and uneducated counterparts in the South (Woodson 67).  The rationale behind such encouragement was based on preventing further differences emanating from aspects of class clusters.

Speaking about economy, Du Bois called for distinctive formulation of curtailing aspects of poverty amongst black folks. He put and emphasize on production of commodities mainly for consumption than for trading (Woodson 88-89). In regards to leadership and political rights, Du Bois strongly condemned the idea of abandoning political prowess to whites. He advocated for democracy that would be real valid for all races as a way of enhancing leadership of pure governance free from discrimination.

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The two aforementioned black liberators agree on matters of education as a tool necessary to facilitate freedom from oppression and segregation (Woodson 90). They advocated for the blacks to integrate both practical and theory-based education system.

However, the two leaders disagree on how education should impact the blacks. While Booker Washington called for inferiority of the blacks to gain an education, Du Bois emphasized on education on a democratic platform.

The differences in their perceptions resulted from their backgrounds. Du Bois received an education of high quality and proceeded to attain the highest degree awarded: PhD (Woodson 93). Booker Washington, however, emanated from ex-slaves and received basic education before he was presented the opportunity to study at the Hampton Institute.

To sum up the discussion, it can be noted that both Du Bois and Booker Washington played a fundamental role in liberating the blacks from early challenges of education, politics and economy prowess. While it can be seen that the two leaders promoted education and economic freedom of the blacks, they adopted different strategies and convictions. Booker T. Washington perceived a need to enhance industrial and scientific education, while Du Bois called for higher education. In regards to economic freedom, Du Bois strongly encouraged economic democracy for education, while Washington encouraged the blacks to abandon their quest for power in order to access basic education. Their different notions and convictions greatly emanated from the different family backgrounds.

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