Booker T. Washington was a dominant African-American leader in the United States in the late 1890s to early 1900s. He believed that people could make the transition from poverty to success with self-help. His views incorporated working to achieve benefits and rewards from the whites and accepting their place in society as blacks. Washington and his students built the Tuskegee Institute for learning and to provide themselves with basic needs. The Tuskegee Institute opened in July of 1888 and emphasized a practical education.
People there learned different trades while receiving an education. Washington believed that blacks would gain full credit in society by acting as responsible American citizens. In his piece titled “Blacks Should Stop Agitating for Political Equality,” Washington states that blacks should acknowledge the opportunities that are given to them rather than fights for rights that would be harder to obtain. His goal was to make African Americans useful and intelligent citizens.
He said, “The wisest among my race understand the agitation of questions of social equality is extremist folly. ” This means that his people had many rights to benefit from and shouldn’t try to fight for new ones. W. E. B. DuBois, on the other hand, pushed for equal rights for blacks from the start. He fought discrimination and racism and was a founding member of the NAACP, (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) which is the oldest civil rights organization in America. DuBois was a major critic of Washington’s work and opinions.
He frowned upon Washington’s institution and what he preached. DuBois thought that Washington’s work and mindset didn’t have African Americans working as hard as they were with him. DuBois and his followers opposed the Atlanta Compromise, which was an agreement (made by Booker T. Washington) that would let Southern blacks work in white politics. DuBois created the Niagara Movement, which was a group of African Americans who pushed for equal rights for blacks. DuBois and his supporters strongly protested against Jim Crow laws, lynching, and segregation.