Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Dubois

1164 Words5 Pages
When it all comes down to it, one of the greatest intellectual battles U.S. history was the legendary disagreement between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. This intellectual debate sparked the interest of the Northerners as well as the racist whites that occupied the south. This debate was simply about how the blacks, who just gained freedom from slavery, should exist in America with the white majority. Even though Washington and DuBois stood on opposite sides of the fence they both agreed on one thing, that it was a time for a change in the treatment of African Americans. I chose his topic to write about because I strongly agree with both of the men’s ideas but there is some things about their views that I don’t agree with. Their ideas and views are the things that will be addressed in this essay. To begin with, the legendary Booker T. Washington believed that in order for blacks to gain equality in the United States, we need to peacefully “make friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded” (Broesamle & Arthur, 52). Washington warned blacks that in order to earn the respect and equality from the white population, we must be prepared to start at the bottom. He meant starting at the bottom in jobs such as elementary teachers instead of college professors and manual laborers instead of CEO’s so we could earn the respect of whites. Washington knew that making strong demands wouldn’t get the black race anywhere, so “casting down our buckets” and becoming friends and earning the respect of whites seemed like a better option to him because it seemed to have better results. On the other hand, Booker T. Washington recognized existing equally with whites wouldn’t be a simple task. This is why ... ... middle of paper ... ... same thing for blacks, first-class citizenship, but their methods for obtaining it differed. Because of the interest in immediate goals contained in Washington’s economic approach, whites did not realize that he anticipated the complete acceptance and integration of Negroes into American life. He believed blacks, starting with so little, would have to begin at the bottom and work up gradually to achieve positions of power and responsibility before they could demand equal citizenship—even if it meant temporarily assuming a position of inferiority. DuBois understood Washington’s program, but believed that it was not the solution to the “race problem.” Blacks should study the liberal arts, and have the same rights as white citizens. Blacks, DuBois believed, should not have to sacrifice their constitutional rights in order to achieve a status that was already guaranteed.
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