Of Mr Booker T. Washington

(published 1903) W.E.B. DuBois

In the followoing essay I will compare Booker T. Washington’s ideas about the future of coloured people with those of W.E.B. DuBois in”Of Mr Booker T. Washington” written from W.E.B. DuBois and published in 1903 in order to reckon the similarities and distinctions.

Both, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois are abolitionists that means they oppose slavery and want to abolish that suppressive system. They aim education for the blacks but each in a different extent as Washington purposes the more industrial education for the “inferior” men to achieve more wealthiness for the South and conciliation (ll21f.), while DuBois intends to cultivate them in the same way as they do with the whites, so the target is higher education.  The opinions differ if one considers the aspect of equality since DuBois demands human and political rights for everyone whether black or white. Thus, he wants to get rid of the distinction between races and put those  “inferior” on the same level as the ” superior” in society. But contrary to that, Washington states his interest in blacks to give up the fight for their rights because it would have contraproductive effects on economy and it would confront his way of thinking about the ” skilled worker”. He requests the abandonment of “political power, the insistence on civil rights and higher eductaion of the Negro Youth” (ll.20f.).

As a conclusion, one can outline that both, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B.  DuBois image the future of coloured people as freer than in that days but  the difference is in the extent of freedom and equality since Booker T. Washington puts the focus on economy and own interest, he prefered the more limiting version of rights for the blacks whilst W.E.B.  asks for non-restrictioning rights if they are based on race-thinking.

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