No account of Black history in America is complete without an examination of the rivalry between Booker T. Washington and also W.E.B. Du Bois, i beg your pardon in the so late 19th to beforehand 20th centuries readjusted the course of the quest for equality in American society, and also in the procedure helped provide birth come the modern-day civil rights movement. Though Washington and Du Bois were born in the very same era, both highly achieved scholars and also committed to the cause of civil legal rights for Black world in America, it was their distinctions in background and technique that would have the greatest affect on the future.  

Washington believed Black human being should have financial independence

Born right into slavery in Virginia in 1856, Washington’s early on life and education did much to affect his later thinking. After the Civil battle he operated in a salt mine and as a domestic for a white family and eventually attend the Hampton Institute, one of the an initial all-Black institutions in America. After completing his education, he started teaching, and also in 1881 he to be selected to head the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial institute in Alabama, a sort of vocational college that sought to provide African american the necessary moral instruction and practical work skills to make them effective in the burgeoning commercial Revolution. 

Washington believed that it was financial independence and the capability to display themselves as fertile members of society that would at some point lead Black civilization to true equality and that they should for the moment being collection aside any type of demands for polite rights. These concepts formed the essence of a decided he delivered to a mixed-race audience at the cotton State and International Exposition in Atlanta in 1895. There and also elsewhere, his principles were readily welcomed by both Black human being who believed in the handy rationality the his approach, and white people who were an ext than happy to defer any type of real conversation of social and political equality because that Black civilization to a later on date. It was, however, described pejoratively as the “Atlanta Compromise” through its critics. And amongst them to be Du Bois.

You are watching: Compare and contrast booker t and web dubois


Booker T. Washington at his workdesk in the Tuskegee Institute, 1894. 

Photo: linked Press , via Wikimedia Commons

Born come a free Black family, Du Bois first experienced bigotry in college

Du Bois was born in 1868 in good Barrington, Massachusetts, to a complimentary Black family members in a comparatively integrated community. He attended the neighborhood schools and excelled in his studies, eventually graduating together valedictorian that his class. However, when in 1885 he began attending Fisk university in Tennessee, he encountered for the an initial time the open bigotry and repression of the Jim crow South, and also the experience had a profound impact on his thinking. Du Bois returned to the north to additional his education, v nothing much less than equal legal rights for black Americans gift his ultimate goal. When he deserve his Ph.D from Harvard university in 1895, he was the very first Black guy to have done so, and also his dissertation, “The Suppression of the African servant Trade to the United says of America, 1638–1870,” was among the an initial academic works on the subject.


Washington and also Du Bois' ideological backgrounds clashed

By the early 20th century, Washington and Du Bois to be the 2 most significant Black males in the country. Washington's conciliatory strategy to civil rights had made him adept at fundraising because that his Tuskegee Institute, as well as for other Black organizations, and also had also endeared him to the white establishment, including President Theodore Roosevelt, who often consulted him concerning all matters around Black people. 

On the various other hand, Du Bois had actually by the time end up being the country’s foremost black color intellectual, having actually published plenty of influential works on the problems of black Americans. In comparison to Washington, Du Bois kept that education and also civil rights were the only way to equality and also that conceding their pursuit would just serve come reinforce the id of Black human being as second-class citizens. Complying with a collection of short articles in which the two men expounded on their ideologies, their distinctions finally involved a head when, in 1903, Du Bois released a work-related titled The Souls of black color Folks, in i m sorry he straight criticized Washington and also his approach and also went ~ above to need full civil rights for black color people. 

More than simply deepening the personal dislike in between Washington and also Du Bois, this ideological rift would in time prove come be among the most vital in the background of the battle for polite rights. Believing that political activity and agitation to be the only method to achieve equality, in 1905 Du Bois and also other black color intellectuals established a political group called Niagara, i m sorry was specialized to the cause. Though the group eventually dissolved a few years later, in 1909 number of of its members and many the its intends were incorporated into a brand-new organization — the nationwide Association because that the development of Colored people (NAACP). Because that the following 25 years, Du Bois would serve as its manager of publicity, and also the editor that its journal, Crisis, which ended up being the mouthpiece because that the organization, for Du Bois and for black America in general.

See more: What Is A Clasp On A Necklace Called A Boob? Types Of Jewelry Clasps With Pictures

READ MORE: How W.E.B. Du Bois Helped create the NAACP

When chairman Woodrow Wilson presume office in 1913, he instantly segregated the federal government, and also Washington in turn lost the political influence he had appreciated for the previous decade. Washington died in Tuskegee, Alabama, ~ above November 14, 1915.

Du Bois eventually split from the NAACP, however he continued to champion the reason of civil civil liberties for both african Americans and the african diaspora approximately the world. After joining the American Communist Party in 1961, Du Bois repatriated come Ghana and became a nature citizen. He passed away in Ghana on respectable 27, 1963, at the age of 95. Martin Luther King Jr. Led the march on Washington the following day.