The Rivalry of Dubois and Garvey

1074 Words5 Pages
At the start of the 1920s, African Americans were struggling to overcome racial barriers. W.E.B. DuBois and Marcus Garvey were two influential black political leaders of that time. The two men came from separate backgrounds, which consequently led to their differing outlooks on the destiny of the African American race. Their ideas often differed from other black leaders. DuBois’s affiliation with the NAACP attempted to solve the problem through integration. Garvey’s UNIA centered around the idea of blacks helping blacks, attempting to relieve blacks of any dependence on whites. Both men had a lasting impact on generations to come. The beliefs of W.E.B. DuBois and Marcus Garvey, as influenced by their background, had a profound effect on their life work, including the organizations they were involved with and the type of people they attracted. DuBois came from a more privileged background. His life work centered on improving the condition of African Americans, but he wanted to do this by working with liberal whites through the NAACP. His following attracted mostly upper class and intellectual blacks. He concentrated on the “talented tenth”, the most talented and intelligent African Americans. This alienated poorer blacks, who turned instead to Marcus Garvey. Garvey grew up in an impoverished Jamaican community. After minimal schooling, he traveled around Latin America and eventually ended up in England. He embraced the ideas of the Pan African Movement. These ideas were the groundwork for the organization he founded, the UNIA. He attracted working class blacks, who formed a devoted following of the man and his ideas. Both of these leaders, of course, were interested in the betterment of their race, but their different visions in achieving their goals led to a division that became both philosophical and intensely personal. Du Bois would refer to
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