Booker T Washington and W. E. B Dubois offered different strategies for dealing with the problems of poverty and discriminations faced by Black Americans at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries. Using the documents and your knowledge of the period 1877-1915, assess the appropriateness of each of these strategies in the historical context in which each was developed. Kaamilyah Sabir In this time period, life was extremely hard for African Americans simply because they were slaves and even though they were emaciated in 1863 by the Emancipation Proclamation.
They were still treated with such disrespect… to the point where they were considered not to be humans. They were instilled with so much fear that the thought of uprising or devising a plan to better themselves was out of the minds of many African Americans, therefore the possibilities of them getting jobs, owning businesses, and getting civil and human rights was slim to none because they remained complacent in the state they was in because of fear of death and the fear of further and worst abuse.
Of course all African Americans was not afraid, there were the few courageous, dedicated, and eager men that was going to stand up and devise plans to ameliorate the African American’s condition in America. There are several doing the sixties and seventies but during this time period men like this was hard to come by. They was either killed off or didn’t exist at all, but there were two notable men that had two totally different strategies in solving African Americans problems.
They are the brilliant and talented W. E. B. DuBois, and Booker T. Washington. Even though they disagreed on almost everything they agreed on one thing and one thing only… to better their race’s standings in America. Each man had great plans and both made perfectly good sense. One of the plans was just not realistic and was way before its time. W. E. B. DuBois plan would have been perfect for 2009, because the way society works now, but in the 18th and 19th century, most definitely not. W.
E. B. DuBois plan was called the “Talented Tenth”. The concept of the plan was to choose carefully 10% out of the African American race, particularly young men that was intelligent and well educated and have the government pay their way through college and set them up in political and high positions in society. So that the rest of the race can be encouraged by these young men… and strive to be just like them. And further leading them to have the mentality since they can do it, I can too.
In Document E, DuBois states this: “Such men [the thinking class of American Negroes] feel in conscience bound to ask of this nation three things: 1. The right to vote; 2. Civic Equality; 3. The education of youth according to ability. By saying this DuBois wanted instant gratification, gratification that he was not going to see in his life time. He was not thinking reasonable and logical. He expected Caucasians that didn’t respect them at all, barely cared about African Americans, THOUGHT THEY WAS 3/5 HUMANS…
expected them to step in and meet his demands on educating his race. They wouldn’t even allow a “nigger” to read during slavery, therefore they was not about to educate them. Let alone let them vote and allow them to have power by placing them in high political positions. He was naive and completely ridiculous with his demands. And on top of all of that he states in Document F: “ If we expect to gain our rights by nerveless acquiescence in wrong, then we expect to do what no other nation ever did… we must complain.
Yes, plain, blunt complain, ceaseless agitation, unfailing exposure of dishonesty and wrong… this is the ancient and unerring way to liberty, and we must follow it. ” By encouraging this, he was encouraging a genocide. Have African Americans complain to no end doing these times was not the best idea he had.. To agitate a race that already dislikes you and can careless if you are gone or not because they didn’t need your labor any more because immigrants was steadily coming to America looking for jobs.
Also the lynching rate was extremely high during these times, according to Document C, the rates of lynching became progressively lower over time but still they were high and African Americans was constantly getting killed for no reason at all, what DuBois was asking would give them a reason now. His argument would have worked a couple years later… sometime in the future but not in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Booker T. Washington on the other hand was thinking more realistically for his time. His plan consisted of African Americans sticking together, helping
each other up the social and economic ladder in society. In Document D Booker T stated: “ ‘Cast down your bucket where you are. ’ Cast it down among the eight million Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous… ” Here he is telling African Americans to stick together, be your brother support. Then later on he addresses the white people to cast their buckets on African Americans and trust them to work on their land to make money, to work in their factories, to do manual work period, what ever needs to be done let them do it.
He was a smart man, you see, because he knew at this time that the power in this country was not going to allow his race to have control by being educated, and certainly not by being in political power. Therefore he devised a plan where African Americans learnt a skill. A skill that would get you money whether it is in carpentry, building, cleaning, black smithing, house keeping, etc. This was smart simply because doing this time manual labor was accepted by society for African Americans, and that’s what Booker T wanted.
He wanted to live separately from them but live peacefully. And society would let them live peacefully as long as they don’t feel threatened.. That’s exactly how Booker T wanted it; he wanted to gain status slowly and gradually to give time to allow the Caucasian to gradually grow in acceptance along with them. Even though it was a slow process you still see that his plan was manifesting and working. He came up with a school called Tuskegee Institute, but not just any school, a school for African Americans so they can learn a trade or a skill.
In Document G, Thomas Fortune who is a activist and a newspaper editor spent a week at Booker T school and stated: “No time is wasted on dead languages or superfluous studies of any kind. What is practical, what will best fit these young people for work of life, that is taught, and that is aimed at. Nor is moral and religious culture neglected…. It is impossible to estimate the value of such a man as Booker T Washington. ” He is saying that they are being prepared to actually do work, being prepared and being prepared quickly. So they can be successful in life by doing what is accepted by society.
Nevertheless you can clearly see that Booker T Washington plan was more reasonable for his time and not only that his plan was actually being put into action. Young African Americans were getting jobs working for Caucasians, doing what they do best manual labor… a skill. Where as W. E. B DuBois was barely getting any where with his plan. A plan that was setup to fail in this day in time. A plan that was not going to help the African American race but simply hurt them. A plan that was utterly impossible to accomplish in the 18th and 19th Century.