You are on page 1of 5

Daliah Barg 9/27/12 Red Group Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois Essay Booker T. Washington and W. E. B.

DuBois are two African American men of the 19th Century who believed in very different solutions to achieve racial equality. Washington, an educator, reformer, and leader, believed that the only way to achieve racial equality was for blacks to accept discrimination for a period of time, meanwhile winning respect and status through hard work and following the current law (Booker T. and W.E.B., Washington). DuBois, on the other hand, was an intellectual, a scholar, and a political thinker, who believed that Washingtons plan would encourage and prolong discrimination and inequality, sprung into action, calling for political action for Civil Rights, and founding the NAACP (Booker T. and W.E.B.). Though both plans had their merits and shortcoming, both thinkers had their rights and wrongs, Washingtons plan was most likely a better plan for racial equality, the first positive [philosophy] that the masses of [African Americans] in America ever had, (Thorpe). Washingtons philosophy, though not the one carried out in the end, was one of the most revolutionary and well-conceived plans for racial equality America has ever come upon. Washington believed that artificial forcing will not bring social equality, one cannot make a person believe to be equal with another by forcing the idea and the laws upon them, one can only show themselves to be equal to others in all other aspects, either by working, giving, or simply being, and the inevitableequalitymust be allowed to come in due time (Washinton). Washintons plan for action to achieve racial equality was centered on African Americans breaking the social barrier between the two races by demonstrating their outstanding citizenship, educating themselves in jobs that are lacking in the South, and contributing to the Southern economy. To do so, Washington believed that Africans Americans should be educated in crafts, industrial and farming skills and the cultivation of the virtues of patience, enterprise and thrift,

Daliah Barg 9/27/12 Red Group (Booker T. and W.E.B.). He believed that the contribute from blacks to American society would lead to African Americans being fully accepted as citizens and integrated into all strata of society, as whites would come to see blacks as men and women no different than themselves, thereby admitting them to receive the same privileges and protection under the law as whites (Booker T. and W.E.B.). Washington wanted African Americans to remind whites that blacks where the foundation of the country, they were to look no further for men and women to increase the prosperity of the South (Washington). Blacks had, without strike and labor war, tilled your fields, cleared your forests, built your railroads and cities, brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth, and helped make possible this magnificent representation of progress of the South, they could continue with helping the country prosper, and in even better ways as freedmen (Washington). The revolutionary leader also tried to convince whites to help and encourage blacks, because blacks were willing to do all the jobs no whites would, just to attain equality and gain the respect of white society; these jobs were still ten times better than their lives in slavery (Washington). According to Washingtons philosophy, blacks had to prove themselves as the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people the world has seen, so as to achieve racial equality (Washington). Washington believed that in social matters the two races could be on different planets for all he cared, but both must work together to achieve progress in the U.S. (Washington). Washington believes, quite rightly, that no race which contributes to the worlds markets and economies is excluded in any way after time is given to let the contributions to sink in (Washington). W.E.B. DuBois plan was the complete opposite of Washington, he vouched for political equality before social equalitybelieving that with political equality social equality would come as well--, and he demanded racial equality right then and there, not gradually. DuBois believed in

Daliah Barg 9/27/12 Red Group using the power and huge numbers of African Americans to demand political equality, asking in the name of ten million the privilege of a hearing, simply wanting the same rights and opportunities as whites (DuBois). The very first right that DuBois demands is the right to vote, he believes that with the right to vote goes everything: freedom, manhood, the honor of [their] wives, the chastity of [their] daughters, the rights to work, and the chance to rise [socially], (DuBois). DuBois also demands full manhood suffrage for African Americans (DuBois). Next, DuBois requests discrimination of public accommodation to cease, and right to be with whomever one wants to be with, saying that no man can choose another mans friends (DuBois). Finally, DuBois demands the 14th Amendment to be completely enforced, as well as the Constitution, and education for African American children to be provided by the government (DuBois). DuBois also created a small group of college-educated African Americans whom he dubbed The Talented Tenth, so as to encourage political equality (Booker T. and W.E.B.). Although DuBois plan was the one officially implemented, Washingtons plan was radically different and would have had a better outcome for African Americans. DuBois philosophy is basically a list of demands that DuBois created and then went about trying to find ways to make them happen, unlike Washington, who encouraged blacks to work and be good citizens, and wait for the unforced equality to come in due time, so that the equality was even in all aspects, political and social. When DuBois philosophy was implemented through the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, advocates attempted to force political equality on whites, not taking into account social equality. This resulted in much violence directed towards African Americans and the creation of laws for political equality before the general public was ready. Admittedly, DuBois philosophy did have its merits and Washingtons did have its shortcomingsDuBois plan had more affirmative action and Washingtons was a bit too laid

Daliah Barg 9/27/12 Red Group backWashingtons philosophy would have turned out better for America in the end. DuBois believed that the greatest impediment to racial equality to be unequal laws for African Americans while Washington believed it to be inadequate education and unfairly bad representation of African Americans. Washingtons philosophy should have been the one implemented to achieve racial equality, American as a whole would be better off in all aspects if it had been so. Unlike DuBois plan, Washingtons offered an advance to his race and not a retreat, a revolutionary idea that, like many other good ideas, remained exactly that, a plan that was not followed through with, a philosophy that was not listened to (Thorpe). DuBois plan is the reason why even today, social equality does not exist; political equality was forced on whites before the social barrier between the two races broke down, so many still do not view members of the opposite race as their equals. If Washingtons plan had been put into action, although the effect would have come more slowly, it would come with complete racial equality and eliminate social inequality, giving whites time to accept and become equals with African American so that the two races would view themselves as equal people.

Daliah Barg 9/27/12 Red Group Works Cited Booker T. and W.E.B. Public Broadcasting Service. Public Broadcasting Service, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2012. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/race/etc/road.html>. DuBois, William E. B. Autobiography. New York: International Publishing, 1970. Print. Thorpe, Earl. The Mind of the Negro: An Intellectual History of Afro-Americans. Baton Rouge: Ortlieb Press, 1961. Print. Washington, Booker T. Up From Slavery, An Autobiography. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1902. Print.