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Essay on Comparing W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington

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Comparing W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington


W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T Washington had very different views about their culture and country. Du Bois, being born in the North and studying in Europe, was fascinated with the idea of Socialism and Communism. Booker T Washington, on the other hand, was born in the South, and like so many others, had a Black mother and a White father. Thus being born half-white, his views and ideas were sometimes not in the best interest of his people.

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Du Bois had a poor but relatively happy New England childhood. While still in high school he began his long writing career by serving as a correspondent for newspapers in New York and in Springfield, Massachusetts.

After his high school graduation he enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. There he "discovered his Blackness" and made a lifelong commitment to his people. He taught in rural Black schools in Tennessee during summer vacations, thus expanding his awareness of his Black culture.

Du Bois graduated from Fisk in 1888, and entered Harvard as a junior. During college he preferred the company of Black students and Black Bostonians. He graduated from Harvard in 1890. Yet he felt that he needed further preparation and study in order to be able to apply "philosophy to an historical interpretation of race relations." He decided to spend another two years at the University of Berlin on a Slater Fund Fellowship.

W. E. B. Du Bois traveling widely in Europe, was delighted by the absence of color consciousness and impressed by their mellow civilization. Still, he knew that his life's work was at home, a...


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...onflicts about his dedication to America with its worship of property and material substance.

However controversial his methods and objectives, few can doubt that Washington worked hard to achieve them. Certainly the high point in his career was his famous speech at the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition in 1895, in which he accepted social and legal segregation but promised racial friendship and cooperation.

Although W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T Washington were very different, they undoubtedly influenced the Black population of the United States. Du Bois, although supported communism, excellent in a utopian society yet devastating in reality, had his people's interest at heart. Booker T Washington, founder of Tuskegee Institute, did help some Black population's problems, yet he was more interested with the White culture and its ideals.


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