In chapter three of the Souls of Black Folks, W. E. B. Du Bois argues that although Booker T. Washington has took many stands in opposition of the injustices done to black people, his “Atlanta Compromise” speech has done more to hinder the black community than help it.
Washington believed that reconstruction failed because African Americans were offered too much too soon, so he believed that industrial education should be stressed to his pupils rather than intellectual education. In his speech he advocated that they should be starting at the bottom rather than at the top and that if they are patient, basic human rights such as being able to vote may follow some time in the future. Washington asked that black people give up three things: political power, insistence on civil rights and higher education of Negro youth.
Du Bois argues against this, saying that, “the way for a people to gain their seasonable rights is not by voluntarily throwing them away and insisting that they do not want them” (Du Bois, peg. 39). I agree with Du Bois in this because if people do not stand up for their rights and make it known that they are not going to budge in their pursuit of them, then there will be no proper motivation for their current state to be actively changed.
Without this constant insistence, people may never truly realize hat “color discrimination is barbarism” (Buy Bois, peg. 39). Du Bois states that in the years after Washington made his speech there had occurred “the disfranchisement of the Negro, the legal creation of a distinct status of civil inferiority of the Negro and the steady withdrawal of aid from institutions for the higher training of the Negro’ (Du Bois, peg. 37). Although these occurrences were not directly caused by Washington’s speech, his propaganda was a catalyst for them.