Booker T. WAshingto and W. E. B Dubois offered different strategies for dealing with the problems of poverty and descrimination faced by Black Americans at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Using the documents and your knowledge of the period 1877-1915, assess the apopriateness of each of these strategies in the historical context in which eas was developed. (Obviously can’t provide the documents) Booker T. Washington and W. E.
B Dubois offered different strategies in dealing with the problems of poverty and discrimination faced by African Americans. Washington’s “accommodationist” methods and Dubois’s “integrationist” strategies each received heavy criticism. Washington used controversial methods that did not directly challenge white supremacy in order to deal with the problems of poverty and discrimination faced by black people. He was a teacher at Tuskegee Institute in the 1880s, which was an industrial school at the time.
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He emphasized practical skills and stressed that a vocational education would help blacks acquire economic independence which in turn would lead to the white race recognizing their political rights. However, document H indicates that his ideas received much scrutiny. People accused his emphasis on vocational training as an idea which stifled the progress of the black race because it “condemned” the education received by college educated blacks.
Also, many believed that vocational education served as a barrier which kept blacks from achieving higher levels of education. Furthermore, many thought that Washington’s methods did nothing to help black racial progress and thought accommodationism created a larger polarization between blacks and whites. Furthermore, Document J clearly expresses how Washington’s acceptance to submit to white authority did nothing to help the discrimination faced by his race. The portrait depicts a white man and a black man drinking water from separate water fountains.
The black water fountain is labeled as “For Colored Only,” communicating that Jim Crowe serves as a significant aspect of post reconstruction Southern culture. Failure to challenge white authority would only allow the whites to continue their discrimination towards the blacks. As opposed to Washington, Dubois was an integrationist, who challenged many of Washington’s beliefs regarding his strategies for dealing with black social problems. Dubois believed that blacks were born with the right to vote and did not have to earn it through economic independence.
He established organizations such as the Niagara movement and the NAACP which was organization meant to directly improve the lives of black people. His integrationist views can largely be attributed to his childhood background, as he grew up in the north as opposed to Washington who grew up in the South. This fact helps to explain his views (racial equality) which directly challenged white supremacy. In Document E, he challenges Washington by claiming that it is impossible to advance economically without political rights and social equality.
Lastly, many opposed both methods that Washington and Dubois employed, and claimed that more emphasis needed to be placed on the current situation of the African American race. After the Reconstruction had just ended in 1877, Carter Woodson in Document I argued that emphasis should have been placed on the current economic situation of the blacks rather than the possibility of political equality. He believed that current issues should have been given emphasis because their rewards would have been more easily attainable.
This criticized both methods as Washington and Dubois focused on long term rewards rather than short term rewards. Washington and Dubois method’s in dealing with black racial discrimination and poverty received much criticism. Washington’s ideas, which were considered politically correct in the sensitive post reconstruction era, did not stir controversy and was heavily criticized by Dubois who believed in racial equality. Their ideas would greatly affect the future generations of abolitionist and civil rights activists.