Perhaps, it is impossible for people to discuss on black history during the turn of 20th century without mentioning two key personalities, namely Washington and Du Bois. There way of approaching issues was differed, but their main goal was the same; just to uplift the lives of the black community. Arguably, Washington and Dubois were engaged in a debate on strategies to be put in place so that African Americans could attain equality. As a matter of fact, most of the people view equality as a relative phenomenon. The two debated on how African Americans could attain equality. Washington was the conservative among the two, he advocated for a gradual approach towards the achievement of civil rights. He started with economic issues rather than social and political issues. On the other hand, Du Bois he was a radical, he pushed for full and immediate civil rights in all aspects of Black American lives. Most of their debate was on the following issues, education, work, racism, civilization and culture, relations between balks and whites, as well as political rights.
United States during the era of Du Bois and Washington was a new nation; this is because most of the issues were unresolved. It was after some decades that the beginning of the New World was formed. Most of the issues and human rights favored the whites only, and it was high time a revolution, as well as revolutionary leaders liberated the blacks. The economic and social set up of America benefited white farmers, but it created rebellion, protest, accommodation, dissension, discrimination, as well as social tension. But, it is this environmental arrangement that shaped Du Bois and Washington contradictory, liberal and philosophical ideas.
The education system in America discriminated between blacks and whites. Certainly, there is a correlation between education and work; hence, the blacks could not access equal opportunity as the whites in the education system. For example, Washington went to Hampton Institute, totally convinced that the only way to be successful as a black is to get access to vocational education. Therefore, Washington believed that the best way for blacks to achieve equal education is to prove their worth by becoming superior and reliable employees. Education was the best way to accomplish this, as well as developing economically.
In their debate, Booker Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois differed tremendously on the type of education suitable and beneficial for African Americans. Washington belonged to an industrial education, while Du Bois supported liberal art education. They worked tirelessly to uplift the standard of the black race. The best philosophies and ideologies of both men were important; it only needed a combination of the two. This implies that the education system recommendable for the success of African Americans is combination of both industrial education, as well as liberal art education.
The maneuvering of the two within various institutions influenced that development of education among the blacks. Washington and Dubois debated on Equality in education without offending the White Americans; in fact, they attracted many philanthropists from the northern America. Industrial education helped to nurture the freed masses who worked as slaves in agricultural plantations. In the debate, they believed that Black Americans were equal to the White people. Blacks were denied rights that they deserved, for example, blacks were equally productive as the whites, yet they received little pay, and treated as slaves. According to Washington, blacks should put all their concentration on social and economic improvement, arguing that other rights will follow.
Educationally, Washington developed and established Tuskegee Institute where African American could access equal education. There effort worked in introducing education among African Americans. For example, in the year 1880 the number of those enrolled in white schools had increased tremendously. Although, most of the black students were progressing, it was unfortunate because the education systems in black schools were behind that of white schools.
In every society, political empowerment is one of the weapons to social and economic stability. Du Bois advised African Americans to be involved in politics and political activities. Political power was essential in imploration of human rights and equality. They asserted that political association and power will prevent African Americans from falling behind developmental issues. Political empowerment meant that Whites would not deprive Negros their rights in all aspects of life. In order to gain political power, black Americans should unanimously defend their rights. Washington does not advocate for political involvement, pushing for a neutral action. In fact, he publicly voted for discrimination, and accepted racial discrimination, but he secretly directed and financed court suits against various proscriptions of equality and civil rights.
Relations between whites and blacks mattered a lot, especially in creation of a cohesive social environment. Du Bois debated that equality between blacks and whites was the utmost the ultimate goal. He demonstrated his move to build relations, equality and politically militancy by involving himself in the (NAACP) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Niagara Movement, as well as serving as an editor of an African American political magazine called The Crisis. According to Du Bois, blacks should focus in educating themselves in various liberal traditions, just like the whites did. Northern freemen received Du Bois radical approach positively.
Conversably, the biggest disagreement between Washington and Du Bois was the question of black suffrage. In order to be empowered politically, voting is very crucial in any democratic state. Du bois asserted that agitating for rights to vote using ballots was essential, but he critically opposed the voting of uneducated blacks. The uneducated blacks could be manipulated to ignorantly vote against what blacks fought for. According to the philosopher, a political power was the ultimate means of securing political action. Under any competitive society, it is difficult for property-owners and workingmen to exist and defend their rights without suffrage rights. Furthermore, the culture of blacks was seen as primitive, while that of whites was civilized. Certainly, with the work of Du bois and Washington culture are civilization are equal depending on how we view it. What is important is that people should enjoy the freedom and right to practice his/her culture whether black or white.
In their debate, a lot of contentions existed, but they both opposed racial violence, as well as advocating for political, social, and economic equality between blacks and whites. They both had different approach to issues, but each one of them believed it was both beneficial in uplifting the life of blacks. The intolerable issues of racism and continued oppression of black Americans made the philosopher advocate for equality. It is through their efforts that America is one of the diverse nations in the world. The liberation of blacks from the system on inequality as enabled them benefit at equal level as whites.
Up to date, black Americans enjoy equal opportunities as the whites. These include right to vote, civic equality, education, as well as civil equality. Nowadays, laws and the constitution are the crucial forces that serve both the blacks and whites on an equal ground. The lives of Du Bois and Washington are inspirational and important, their efforts delivered blacks from a state of social backwardness and economic servitude.
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