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Essay about W.E.B Du Bois vs. Booker T Washington

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When talking about the history of African-Americans at the turn of the twentieth century, two notable names cannot be left out; Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois. They were both African-American leaders in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, fighting for social justice, education and civil rights for slaves, and both stressed education. This was a time when blacks were segregated and discriminated against. Both these men had a vision to free blacks from this oppression. While they came from different backgrounds, Washington coming from a plantation in Virginia where he was a slave, and Du Bois coming from a free home in Massachusetts, they both experienced the heavy oppression blacks were under in this Post-Civil War society. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois were both pioneers in striving to obtain equality for blacks, yet their ways of achieving this equality were completely different. W.E.B Du Bois is the more celebrated figure today since he had the better method because it didn’t give the whites any power, and his method was intended to achieve a more noble goal than Washington’s.
Booker T Washington was born into slavery on a plantation in Franklin County Virginia. Like many slaves at that time, historians are not sure of the exact place or date of his birth (Washington, Up From Slavery 7). Washington had absolutely no schooling while he was a slave; he received all his education after he was set free. The fact that he had no education through slavery, made it that much more important to him when he did get his education, and that is one of the reasons he so highly stressed education. Growing up, he did not even know what education was, he first heard about it through the miners he worked with while he was a slave....


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...rights for blacks, and was satisfied with ‘equal’ economic opportunities, in fact, he was opposed to blacks getting involved in politics. Du Bois took a much more radical approach and demanded that blacks be included in the political sphere. He also envisioned blacks receiving higher education so they could compete in a fast-growing economy, instead of being stuck with dead-end jobs such as plumbers, and house maids, that Washington so strongly advocated for. And today, Du Bois is clearly the more celebrated figure of the two. More African-American political leaders, such as Obama, reference him in their speeches, and it is much easier to find a poster or book on W.E.B Du Bois than it is on Booker T. Washington. Du Bois’ vision had a much nobler goal, he was not satisfied with the injustice that was going on, and he did something about it.










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