How should we respond to discrimination?
Booker T. Washington Vs. WEB DuBois
African Americans were freed from slavery, but discriminatory laws and racist attitudes kept them oppressed and threatened. African Americans debated how they should respond to this discrimination.
Read the information below on Washington and DuBois and answer the Questions that follow
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
Washington (1856–1915) believed that African Americans had to achieve economic independence before civil rights. Black people must tolerate discrimination while they proved themselves equal to white people. Slowly, civil rights would come.
“[The Negro must] live peaceably with his white neighbors . . . the Negro [must] deport himself modestly . . . depending upon the slow but sure influences that proceed from the possessions of property, intelligence,
and high character for the full recognition of his political rights.”
W.E.B. DU BOIS
Du Bois (1868–1963) believed that black Americans had to demand their social and civil rights or else become permanent victims of racism. African Americans must fight every day for the rights given to them in the Constitution.
“We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a freeborn American . . . and until we get these rights we will never cease to protest. . . . How shall we get them? By voting where we may vote, by persistent, unceasing agitation, by hammering at the truth, by sacrifice and work.”
1. How did the views of Washington and Du Bois about the nature of civil rights differ?
2. How do these leaders’ opinions reflect the era in which they lived? Would leaders today make similar arguments? Explain.