Washington V.S Dubois

912 Words4 Pages
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Dubois are arguably two most influential figures on the movement to achieve civil rights for black Americans. They both played large roles in trying to improve racial relations and civil rights during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Although they were both focused on enhancing the quality of black life in the United States, the fact that Washington was from the south and Dubois was from the north caused their views to differ. The “Atlanta Exposition speech” by booker T. Washington addressed the topic of racial relations in the south. “Of Mr.Booker T. Washington and others” was written by W.E.B Dubois as a critique of Washington and his views on the improvement of black life. The “Atlanta Exposition” was aimed at improving the tension between white and black Americans in the south. The thesis of this speech was that black Americans should be more concerned with furthering their economic standing instead of their social standing. Washington urged blacks to join the work force in the south where they would be given a chance. In front of a predominantly white audience he asked that white southerners hired blacks because of their love for white people they serviced. Washington praised black loyalty and fidelity to whites. He claimed that blacks would be a great burden on society if they would continue to be oppressed. In my opinion the most important point in Washington’s speech was his position on economic prosperity as opposed to equality. Washington believed that blacks should have the opportunity to earn a living, but not necessarily be equal to blacks; he stated that blacks and whites should be “two different fingers on a hand”. He basically felt African Americans should be focused on prospering economically rather than be focused on ending segregation or achieving social acceptance. Washington’s address had many strengths as
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