Type of paper:
United States, History, Education, Workplace, Job, Skills, Slavery, America
In the Reconstruction Period, W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington had very different ideas as to how to deal with the "Negro problem." In the wake of the Civil War, there remained a huge population of freedmen who needed purpose and direction; these two prominent black authors and civil rights leaders had unique perspectives on this issue. Booker T. Washington's perspective was that in order to adjust to freed life, vocational skills needed to be learned. To that end, he borrowed money and helped create the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. This Institute educated blacks based on vocation, teaching them job skills and training instead of academics. In Up from Slavery, Washington focuses on reconciliation with whites and cooperation with them to gain advantages in the newly-freed world: "I knew that, in a large degree, we were trying an experiment--that of testing whether or not it was possible for Negroes to build up and control the affairs of a large education institution. I knew that if we failed it would injure the whole race" (Up from Slavery).
W.E.B. DuBois, on the other hand, focused much more on intelligence as a gateway to success in the Reconstruction-era America, which runs counter to Washington's focus on practical and job-related education. In The Souls of Black Folk, "The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, -- this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American” (DuBois). DuBois, to that end, believed that education and the proving of equal worth and intelligence of blacks to whites was the key to true equality in America.
DuBois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. A.C. McClurg & Co., 1903. Print.
Washington, Booker T. Up from Slavery. In Three Negro Classics. New York: Avon Books,
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