During the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century there was a social reform taking place within the South. The Civil War had just ended and Lincoln freed the slaves. The slaves were now free to join the others in society, but they still faced many issues, which still made them less superior to all other humans within Southern society. Booker T. and WEB DuBois, two of the strongest leaders of the black during this time, had two very different strategies to deal with discrimination and poverty throughout the South.
Booker T’s strategies focused more with an educational view while WEB DuBois thought more with a political view. Although both very different views they both made a phenomenal impact on not only southern society, but also on America. Booker T. focused on blacks getting a job education because he believed if they focused only on equality that they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere. Booker T. wanted blacks to have economic equality. He would go speak out to the whites and blacks.
When he talked to the whites he would speak on how blacks are stereotyped, but when he would speak with the blacks he would tell them not to hide in the whites shadows. Basically he told the blacks to start involving themselves within society instead of holding back. Booker T. also believed that if the blacks got to work that not only would they gain the respects of whites and benefit themselves, but it would also help benefit the whites. He believed that the Southern economy would be benefited by blacks working in the factories.
As stated in document D “To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat what I say to my own race, ‘Cast down your bucket where you are. ‘ Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides” (Booker T. Washington, “Atlanta Compromise Address) Many people supported Booker T’s idea of giving blacks economical education, which is supported by the statement “…
it is impossible to estimate the value of such a man as Booker T. Washington. ” (Document H) This statement shows that people in the Southern society thought Booker T. was a great influence and that there was nobody else greater than him at the time. As always though there were people who disagreed with Booker T. Washington’s ideas. “Industrial education for the Negro is Booker T. Washington’s hobby… ” (Document G) The people thought there was no promise that giving blacks industrial education would help them.
The schools for thorough training were becoming more cramped and next to no people were being established anymore. The next great leader of the blacks was known by the name of W. E. B. DuBois who thought that Booker T’s ideas would only perpetuate the whites’ oppression. DuBois published an essay called The Talented Tenth. The term ‘the talented tenth’ designated a leadership class of African Americans in the early twentieth century. He wrote this essay, which appeared in The Negro Problem, to show that one tenth of blacks could become leaders of their race in the world.
He thought they could reach this by continuing their education, writing of books, or becoming directly involved in the social change. DuBois thought they shouldn’t be allowing this discrimination go on, and that they should be pushed for the right to vote, equal education and equality in civil rights. This is seen through document E when it states “Such men feel in conscience bound to ask this nation of three things: 1. the right to vote, 2. Civic equality, 3. the education of youth according to ability” (WEB DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk).
DuBois during this time also helped found the National Association for Advancement of Colored People otherwise known as the NAACP. The NAACP planned on helping the segregation issue through the court systems. Therefore they established the Legal Defense Educational Fund in 1939. It was supposed to handle the NAACP’s legal activates, particularly cases pertaining to education. The main tactic against running two separate school systems, one for blacks and one for whites, would be that it is too expensive for local governments to support.
The main reason for the NAACP was to assure legal rights for African Americans and to improve racial relations. DuBois didn’t believe in waiting for the blacks to get their rights. He believed that the only way to get social and economic equality was through political equality. Although Booker T and WEB DuBois had two very different ways of thinking they helped shape not only the South, but also America. The chart in document A is proof that through the work of both the men that more blacks got enrolled into school between 1860 and 1920 from the ages five through nineteen.
Document B; however, shows that the Illiteracy rates went down by about half between 1890 and 1910 for people over the age of nine. Additionally, thanks to the help of Booker T. they began going to college later on. Also, as shown in document C, the number of lynching’s between 1882 and 1915 dramatically dropped. Through document C we can also conclude that the reason they were lowered is because whites and blacks became more tolerant of each other. Unfortunately, document J shows us that they still had to deal with racial segregation up until the 1950’s.
So even though the North won the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Lincoln blacks couldn’t jump right in to society. They face several obstacles including poverty and discrimination, which was primarily in the South. These issues allowed two great leaders to emerge, which were Booker T. Washington and WEB DuBois. These two phenomenal leaders helped blacks gain some equality through educational and political views although it was a struggle to gain the respect and acceptance of the Southern Society. Through the ideas of these leaders they had a great impact on not only the Southern society, but also America.