Jim Crow laws were laws that were passed shortly after reconstruction that segregated whites and blacks. The laws actually were supposed to make things between whites and separate but equal, but this did not turn out to be the case. African Americans were not allowed to vote or even use the same restrooms as whites. They also were not allowed to use the same public transportation or restaurants as whites. These things made life very hard for African Americans, not only were they looked down upon by whites, they were treated as sub-humans by many even after the end of slavery.
Political parties and unions also formed their own Jim Crow laws, barring African Americans from buying homes and keeping them from working in certain places. Ida B. Wells, a civil rights leader and women’s rights activist, was an African American hero in her own right. She was the child of slave parents and saw first- hand the abominations of slavery and racism. She dedicated her life to equal rights for blacks and led a crusade against lynching. Ida published many books on her ideas of African American freedom and theories on lynching. Booker T.
Washington was born into slavery to an enslaved African American woman on a Plantation in southwest Virginia. Booker knew little about his white father. As a boy he invented the name Washington when all the other school children were giving their full names. After working in coal mines in West Virginia for several years, Washington made his way east to Hampton Institute. There, he worked his way up and later attended Wayland Seminary to become an instructor. In 1881, Hampton president Samuel C. Armstrong recommended Washington to become the first leader of Tuskegee Institute. He headed it until his death at age 59.
Washington was the dominant figure in the African-American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915. His passion for education and race equality made him one of the greatest African American figures of all time. W. E. B. Du Bois was another great figure in African American history. He was the first black Harvard graduate, and he published many pro African American elitist books. He became the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910, becoming founder of the NAACP's journal The Crisis. Du Bois gained notoriety in his opposition of Booker T.
Washington's ideas of integration between whites and blacks, campaigning instead for increased political representation for blacks in order to gain civil rights, and the creation of a Black elite that would work towards the progress of the African American race. Du Bois became the professor of history at Atlanta University and died in Ghana at the age of 95. Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to the black civil rights movement and actually ran for senate in 1957 under the labor party ticket. Du Bois also taught separatism, which was quite shocking to many whites at this time in history.
Although his views on civil rights and racism greatly differed from that of Booker T. Washington, Du Bois had many followers in the black communities of the south due to his intelligence and stature as a great African American leader. Even with Jim Crow laws in effect almost everywhere, Ida Wells, Booker T. Washington, and W. E. B. Du Bois overcame great adversities to become leaders in the civil rights movement that eventually would come into true effect under the presidency of John F. Kennedy. Source citations www. wikipedia. org/ btw (2007) www. nps. gov/bowa/btwbio. html (2008)