Booker T Washington vs. W.E.B Dubois, Two Different Styles of African American Leadership

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In the early history of the civil rights movement two prominent African American leaders, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois arose to accomplish one goal, education for all African Americans. During the turn of the century, between the years 1895 and 1915 there were many theories on how African Americans were going to achieve first-class citizenship. With two separate views on how to accomplish this goal, the African American community was split in half on who to support. While Booker T. Washington believed in industrial and agricultural labor, W.E.B. Du Bois proposed a strategy of pursuit through higher education in order to gain first-class citizenship for the African American race. Born the son of a slave, Booker Taliaferro …show more content…
He made a point that we as African Americans can achieve the rights we want if we present ourselves useful to the white race. Washington stated, "No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the laws be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of those privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera house" ("Booker T. Washington").
Washington made it known that befriending the white man was imperative to ending the black man's struggle. He said, "To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land, or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man who is their next-door neighbor, I would say: Cast down your bucket where you are, cast it down in making friends, in every manly way, of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded" ("The Road to African"). All this and more was said in Atlanta, Georgia, the first time in history where a black man had ever spoken in front of so many white people. It was apparent to every African American who did not totally agree with Washington's idea that this was a sign of

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