African Americans Essay Research Paper TERM PAPERLife — страница 2

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Washington. W.E.B Du Bois was an elitist who believed it was the intelligence and smartness of the African Americans that had help elevate the masses and the sole obstacles that had retarded their efforts were slavery and racial prejudice. He believed that the black race had been transplanted by the foolishness of its forefathers( W.E.B Du Bois, 38) Higher education and hard work could uplift them from this servitude and he knew that he could assist them through it. W.E.B Du Bois’s ideas and his way of pursuing goals was more convincing and appropriate . Unlike Booker T. Washington , Du Bois was more direct in his approach of achieving civil and political rights promised to the blacks. The environment in the post-emancipation south was not the same as before the civil war.

Before the war, the blacks had not yet been declared emancipated so they did not expect themselves to be given the same status as that of the whites. But after the civil war, not been given their basic rights would aggravate them even more because now they were being deprived of something they lawfully possessed. Booker T. Washington emphasized that African Americans should work under whites, gain their trust and thus gradually they would attain their freedom. This was irrational because the blacks had waited long enough for the emancipation proclamation. They had suffered a lot of hardships through this period of time. And making them wait even longer through his slow process would aggravate them even more would cause them to burst into revolt. Booker T. Washington’s program

of achieving civil and political rights for the blacks also had its own shortcomings. His program was designed to please the North and invigorate the South. The Northern states had invested in Southern enterprises and so Washington’s plan came as a welcome method of peaceful cooperation. Du Bois, unlike Washington did not preach surrendering to white supremacy. He insisted on self reliance and self- respect. He even believed that Booker T. Washington’s idea of industrial training was pointless as he did not encourage higher education. Only if the black teachers were well educated could they teach in these industrial training schools, and Washington failed to understand that. Booker T. Washington mentioned in his Atlanta compromise, “The wisest among my race understand that

the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly….. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercises of these privileges ( Washington, 101.) It was cowardly of Booker T. Washington to say that his people were not striving for equality. He even said ” The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in the opera house.” Washington was just trying to demand equality in vague terms. But instead he should have been more specific and demanded social equality. This is because social equality was what the blacks in the south were striving for and they would not settle for anything less than it. Even though

it is believed that Washington’s program came as a relief to some southerners but yet it cannot be wholly accepted because it consists of less straightforward honesty and more of indiscriminate flattery. The black men of the post emancipation south were completely aware of the importance of voting. It was a way by which they could choose representatives who would better their conditions of living and work towards their welfare. W.E.B Du Bois put this insight into their minds and made them realize that they should rebel against servitude and fight for equal rights and status as the whites.