Essay on Garvey vs. Du Bois

1977 Words May 15th, 2007 8 Pages
The Common Difference’s of Elitism Vs. Nationalism
The often fierce ideological exchanges between Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois are interesting, not as much because of the eloquence of their expression, as because of the fact that although outwardly contradictory, these ideologies were often unified at their foundation. This unity was not simply in terms of the broad and obvious intent to better the conditions of “black folk”, it was in terms of the very details that defined the trajectory and means of the advancement of blacks in America and all over the world.
It is clear that the seeming ideological disunity between the Garvey and Du Bois perspectives only masked the commonalities that underpinned each of their approaches to
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Washington and in many aspects drew influence from Washington’s movement. In fact, Garvey created an agricultural and industrial school in Jamaica that was modeled after Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. Du Bois found this approach to be inadequate in that it valued material accumulation over the higher purpose of human existence. More specifically, Du Bois felt that Garvey and Washington’s emphasis on vocational training for technical trades did not equip blacks with the tools to be of wisdom and strong character. In his famed essay on the “Talented Tenth” Du Bois stated, “
…If we make money the object of man-training, we shall develop money-makers but not necessarily men; if we make technical skill the object of education, we may possess artisans but not, in nature, men. Men we shall have only as we make manhood the object of the work of the schools-intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men to it…

Ultimately, however, although Garvey and Du Bois were in disagreement over the extent to which each theme should be emphasized, their basic premise that underscored the significance of these particular areas shows the fundamental unity of their respective view points. Garvey’s and Du Bois’ ideologies also had in common a global perspective that embraced the broader Negro race with a special deference to Africa. Du Bois was a champion of the Pan Africanist movement

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