Kelly Carnevale Period 2 September 2012 Comparative Essay BOOKER T. WASHINGTON & W. E. B. DUBOIS Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois were two men that drastically altered the face of Civil Rights. Both had a strong hand in education and were dynamic figures of the Progressive Age. While they both were figure heads in the social improvements in African American lives, their strategies of achieving change were very different. The two men had very different upbringings. Washington was born as a slave in Virginia in 1856. He lived in a one-roomed log cabin.
Dubois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in a town made up of 5,000 whites, with only 50 blacks. As for education, both men were highly advanced. Washington attended Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute in Virginia and graduated with high marks, eventually becoming a professor there. Dubois attended Great Barrington High School and became the sole black student to graduate. He eventually went on to attending Harvard Law School and became the first black man to earn a PhD there. Over the course of their lives, both grew to become very accomplished men.
Washington became the founder of Tuskegee Normal & Industrial Institute and wrote the Atlanta Compromise. He was also the first black man invited to the White House. Dubois became the founder of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and won a Lenin Peace Prize as well as his many academic successes. Both men were very large figures in civil rights in the late 19th century. However they had very different views when it came to the philosophical approach of achieving these rights.
Washington believed that blacks should accept racial discrimination for the time being and concentrate on socially furthering themselves through hard work. He believed that African Americans could earn the respect and civil equality that they desired from whites by having education in physical skills and high virtues. Dubois, while agreeing that African Americans should improve their education and further themselves in society, was outraged by racial injustice and inequality and demanded his rights instead of just excusing the racism.
The 19th century was blessed to have such men as Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois. Without these historical figures, who knows where African Americans would be today. If these men lived today they would be overwhelmed to see that they made a change in society, that today blacks and whites are friends in society, that they have equal rights, can work the same jobs, read the same books, and live in the same neighborhoods as the white men, and we even have a black president.