Booker T. Washington And W. E. B. Dubois Analysis

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Following the Civil War, African Americans were heavily discriminated against making it extremely difficult to progress in a white society. Newly freed slaves struggled with fitting into society because before, they had been viewed as nothing but property. As free men, gaining a place in their communities was problematic and many ideas arose on how to improve their situations. From this, two great thinkers, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, emerged and came up with different ideas for African Americans to emerge in society. Although their opinions may differ, they have one common idea: self improvement. Washington and DuBois’ views teach society today how individuals can best make progress, economically and socially, by first improving …show more content…
Even though Washington specifically advocates industrial education, he encourages African Americans to strive to learn their specific trade skill to the best of their abilities. In one of his examples, he mentions a colored girl who was taught laundry work by her mother at an early age and after graduating from high school and focusing on academics she was discouraged with not being able to find a job and returned to laundry work again. Washington proposes that what should have been done was “...to give her along with her academic education thorough training in the latest and best methods of laundry work…” (Washington par. 20). Washington isn 't against academic education but rather believes it should not be the main focus. DuBois disagrees and instead believes one should strive to succeed in any area they excel in. DuBois believes that, “The need of the South is knowledge and culture…” (DuBois 12:17-18) and if colored men continue the trend of progressing only industrially, then they will never reach equality and never join white society. Although these viewpoints may differ, they offer one common theme and that is to strive to become better. Washington argues that colored men should strive to become better in industry and develop trade skills while DuBois argues that colored men should strive in any area they are interested in. DuBois says, “Shall we teach them trades, or train them in liberal arts? Neither and both: teach the workers to work and the thinkers to think…” (DuBois 12:78-81). Today, these great thinkers teach us that in order to progress socially and economically, we must first improve ourselves whether that be industrially or

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