Paper Example. A Debate Over Strategy

Published: 2023-05-03
Paper Example. A Debate Over Strategy
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race Strategy American history Personal leadership
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 906 words
8 min read

W.E.B Du Bois and Booker T. Washington played essential roles in the 19th and 20th centuries on social, economic progress for the black African American community. However, their strategies differed in some way, and Bois criticized Booker strategies noting that his strategy had better solutions for the black community (Horne, 1986). Their opposing philosophies surrounded the issues of social justice and the role of leadership in the black community. The essay discusses various options offered by each of the two in the context of economic and political conditions in the South.

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In the North, it was considered as the economic giant, especially the supply of coal and iron ore. Builders here benefited from ample suppliers from the Southern European immigrants. Following the fact that Booker and Du Bois were able to maintain their communities in the South majority of African Americans formed a religious congregation that supported schools and smalls businesses (Horne, 1986). Because modest and rudimentary support from the government went to schools and companies, starting the companies and schools in the black community posed "threats" to the white population.

It was challenging for the community to grow economically because African Americans were forbidden by the law to perform everyday tasks and function, unlike for the whites. For instance, African Americans were not supposed to sit or travel or either play in the same recreational areas with the whites. Racial segregation went ahead to private businesses, and the Southern economy was at significant risk due to racial discrimination.

Booker T. Washington was an educator, reformer, and an influencer of racial solidarity and accommodation. The first option he gave to the blacks as their leader was to accept discrimination from the whites for the time being and argued them to concentrate on their work to attain material prosperity. Booker had a strong belief in education craft, was an experience in farming and specifically cultivation as well as technical skills (Horne, 1986). He believed by doing so was going to win a lot of respect from the whites, especially when they would be contributing significantly to economic growth. He thought they would be entirely accepted in the social strata.

Du Bois was an intellectual, politician, and a thinker. His strategy seemed different from that of Booker because the strategy he proposed to the blacked would serve only the black and perpetuate oppression to the whites. He advocated rightly for his political ambitions and actions of the civil rights agenda (Horne, 1986). He had a firm belief that social change would only be attained by developing small groups who will be educated about different political matters.

Those white businessmen who wanted to supply products of soil and mine to the Southern easily succeeded. It was so because Washington encouraged African Americans to accept the products because they were only able to produce cotton and coal only in their place (Horne, 1986). It seemingly the white was going to occupy the southern because the whites that time set very many investments. Unlike for Du Bois, he condemned the accommodation of the whites in the black community. He felt that African Americans were supposed to receive the best education available. Du Bois thought that African Americans should aspire to know the most beautiful literature in humanities, natural, and social sciences. He had strong beliefs that African Americans had a more excellent capability of mastering sophisticated theories that could help the world (Horne, 1986). He noted that the education system offered to the Southern was going to sacrifice their humanity.

Washington had little ideas on what African Americans were going through in everyday life. Washington thought that what only affecting African Americans were only poverty, segregation, and physical threats. African Americans should have struggled to gain skills that put food on the table, the importance of farming, and the production of self-sufficient (Horne, 1986). Du Bois thought that Washington encouragement to accommodate white interests would lower expectation of African Americans. Du Bois strongly believed that African Americans were going to remain subservient to white if they would accept insults and demeaning treatment by the whites. According to Du Bois, Washington's strategy could only result in "Uncle Tom" Caricature. Du Bois noted making demands to the federal government for equal protection for African Americans, and the whites were a darker way to the better day (Horne, 1986).

In conclusion, Washington is seen to encourage African Americans to educate themselves by trading and investing in their business. He believed this would prove to whites the importance or the role African Americans could play in the country's economy (Horne, 1986). Unlike Du Bois, who believed in self-improvement through education, he thought it was the only way to bring to an end racial segregation. Although Du Bois criticized Washington, I believe Washington's idea had a more compelling vision as compared to Du Bois' strategy.

For this matter, I think Washington thought there was no other way to get rid of racial segregation without using violence and rioting other than engaging everyone through education to bring a compelling reason in the economy of the country. In this way, the value of African Americans would be apparent to the entire society. Washington had a strong belief through working hard and improving oneself through education was going to show the supremacy of the individual and show on the impact the African Americans have in society.


Horne, G. (1986). Black and red: WEB Du Bois and the Afro-American response to the cold war, 1944-1963. SUNY Press.

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