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The Different Views of Web Dubois and Booker T Washington

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The Different Views of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois

Between the years of 1877 and 1915, Black Americans faced poverty, slavery, and discrimination. Many blacks, especially those living in the south, were uneducated and looked up to strong African-American figures in their community. Two notable leaders that stepped forward to help control the issues they were facing during that time were Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois. (Mirza 12) Both of these brave men wanted to help in the best way possible, however, their views on how African Americans could overcome these problems were different. Booker T. Washington and W.E. B. Dubois wanted freedom from oppression for African Americans, but their approach towards this goal would create a great deal of conflict between the two.

In 1865, the United States had a population of 34 million whites and 5 million blacks. Most of the blacks lived in the Southern states which included: Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The whites lived in most of the northern states. Slavery was a form of free labor for plantation owners and their need for slaves increased with the invention of the cotton gin in 1793. Slaves worked the fields of cotton, tobacco, sugarcane, and other crops, which created a huge increase in profit for their owners. There were some whites in the North and South that disagreed with the practice of slavery. Slavery was abolished

in Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey between the years of 1777-1804. (Mirza 66)

Booker T. Washington was born on April 5, 1856 in Franklin County, Virginia. Booker was born into slavery in a hut. Other than his mother, who was black, he knew nothing about his family history. He knew his father was a white man, but his name was unknown. He lived with his mother Jane in a small cabin. She was a slave at that time and worked from morning till night. As a child, Booker was also a slave, and was expected to work by cleaning the field and carrying water to the older men that were working. Slavery made Booker's early years physically and emotionally difficult. The older he got, the harder his responsibilities became.

The issue of slavery split the northern and southern states into causing American Civil War. At the end of this war, Booker's years of slavery were over. He was nine years old at this time. When slavery ended, many former slaves left their masters' plantations to begin life

somewhere else. (Mirza 17) It still made it hard for them because they had no way of taking care of themselves. Booker never got an education as an enslaved child. Only whites were permitted to receive an education before the Civil War ended. It was also against the law to provide an education for a slave.

After the War, Booker's family moved to Malden, West Virginia. He began working with his stepfather at a salt mine. One day, his mother presented him with a spelling book. Whenever he was free, he would study the alphabets, trying to form words. It wouldn't be long

when he desired to learn how to read and write. In 1872, his determination to get an education

paid off and he enrolled at the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia. Booker graduated in 1875 at the age of 19 and went back to Malden where he began teaching in a day school for children and a night school for adults. In 1878, he studied at Wayland Seminary in Washington DC and later returned to teach at Hampton. The President of Hampton, Samuel C. Armstrong, recommended that Booker become the first principal at Tuskegee Institute, a similar school that was being founded in Alabama, in 1881. (Mirza 19)

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The year Du Bois was born was the year that many of the rights and privileges of citizenship were realized. In many parts of the United States, it was the first year that African-Americans were able to vote. (Lewis 18) His father's name was Alfred DuBois and he was half white. His mother's name was Mary Burghardt and she was black. DuBois's father went through periods of discrimination from the white side of his family as well as the black side. When William was a year old his father left and was never seen again. DuBois was raised by his mother in a stable environment. He was taught to be clean and how important an education was. William went to school at the age of five and was a smart student. The city of Great Barrington consisted of only one percent of African-Americans out of a population of five thousand. In those years, he never experienced any racial discrimination and became friends with mostly white students.

William made it to high school, which is where he would experience his first experience with racial discrimination. At the age of sixteen, he graduated from Great Barrington High School and was the only black student out of a class of twelve. He was also named valedictorian

of his class, which was a great accomplishment. William desperately wanted to attend college at

Harvard University, but was told by his high school principal that he couldn't afford nor was he fully prepared for a college of their standards. His principal, Frank Hosmer, believed in William's potential and decided to start a scholarship fund for money to help him enter Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

With the help of his principal, an educator, and a priest, there was enough money raised for William to enter Fisk University in the Fall of 1889. They felt this was a way to get William out of his element and to learn the difficulties that African-Americans faced in other parts of the country, especially in the South. When he arrived at Fisk University, it was a complete culture shock to him. He was not used to some things and was very outspoken on certain issues. Being around a majority of African-American students would prove to be an important part of his education. (Moore 160) After his first year enrolled at Fisk University, William discovered that his purpose in life would be to increase the advancement of African-Americans. During the summer, he decided that he would teach education to other blacks in rural schools that were less fortunate than him. DuBois was still determined to attend Harvard University and he obtained his undergraduate and graduate degree from there.

Violence against African-Americans was increasing in the South. Segregation had started to develop, which led more whites to hate blacks. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois believed they had to get the best education in order to lead other



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