African Americans experienced violent discrimination and devastating poverty daily. In an attempt to diminish this oppression, two great and well respected leaders of the black community, Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubos, offered contrasting approaches. Both methods contributed to the movement; however, one was more appropriate for the time period. Overall, Washington’s philosophy of self help and acceptance of discrimination was the better fit. Washington presented his approach to an audience on September 18, 1 895, when he delivered his Atlanta Compromise Address.

In his address. Washington advised blacks to accept discrimination for the time being and concentrate on elevating homeless through hard work and an education and career in an industrial study, such as farming, enterprise, housekeeping, or thrift. He explained that this would earn the respect of whites and eventually Incorporate them Into society. Washington assured, “No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is going to be in any degree ostracizes” (Source D).

Dubos, on the other hand, disagreed and argued that social change could only be accomplished by giving the black population a higher education and developing them Into cultured Individuals. Although well Intentioned, Dubos’ plan was quite unrealistic. During this time period, over half of the black population above age nine was illiterate and only about 1/3 of Negroes age five to nineteen were enrolled in school. It is unfortunate but true that most Negroes would have no use for a higher education.

Education In farming or other trades typical of the rural South that Washington promoted was of use. On July 4, 881, Washington had established the Tuskegee Industrial Institute where students would learn “what is practical and what will best fit (them) for the work of life” (Source G). The Institute was also used as a normal school for training teachers. Washington’s plan and encouragement of an Industrial education was more manageable and practical for blacks during this time.

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Washington and Dubos also differed in their methods of achieving equality. Dubos encouraged a fight. He believed that in order to gain respect, the blacks must demand It of the whites. Washington encouraged self-reliance. He believed that In order to gain respect, blacks must earn it themselves. Washington explained, “Progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result f severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing” (Source D).

Demanding respect of the whites would result In rejection. Washington argued that by working hard and advancing themselves through time, they would receive the respect they deserved. 1 OFF United States. It was a time of discrimination and poverty. Breaking through these conditions would take a significant amount of time. Washington and Dubos did their best to construct methods to diminish the struggle of the time. Given these conditions, Washington’s approach was more effective for the time period.


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