Dubois Tenth Theory

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Last week during class, W.E.B. Du Bois and his theory about the talented tenth surfaced in class discussion. There seemed to be a Universal agreement that his talented tenth concept is problematic. Outside of our classroom there has been a lot of debate regarding Du Bois’s theory, and its application to the Africana community. There are some people who believe that Du Bois created the talented tenth theory, however it was northern liberals who originated the term. Dr. Henry Lyman Morehouse, was the first person to write about the idea of a talented tenth (Morehouse).
Morehouse acted as the secretary for the American Baptist Home Mission Society. This organization sponsored the opening of many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)
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One can assume that Dr. Morehouse was trying to promote an idea that an education at his organization’s HBCUs are steps above the education offered at other institutions. This challenges the HBCU’s, built by Booker T. Washington and others, that focused on agriculture and trade. Therefore, one can see where Dr. Morehouse would benefit from describing the talented tenth as the premiere Africana man. It’s important to note that Africana women were not included in the larger conversation of higher education, even though they attended colleges and universities during the time Du Bois and other notable leaders were writing. Booker T. Washington is another leader who became prominent in the era following reconstruction. Washington believed African Americans should receive an industrial education and focus on labor, while Du Bois believed African Americans should receive a liberal arts education. Du Bois advocated for African Americans to receive full civil rights and political positions, in order to resist the customary racial arrangements in the south.. Many scholars believe that Du Bois writing about the talented tenth was in a response to Washington’s involvement with the Atlanta …show more content…
Utilizing an Afrocentric perspective, one would value every person’s contribution to the community, and realize that each Africana individual adds something intrinsic to the larger community. Within the African American community, we see individuals who are able to attain large volumes of success, over the rest of African American community. It would be erroneous to apply Du Bois’s talented tenth ideology to this phenomenon. Instead, realizing that we live in a society predominated by white supremacy, there are some African Americans who are able to escape some of the grips that come with living in such society because of

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