The United Sates is one of the nations in the world which has undergone massive transformation. Ranging from political, social and economic status, Americans have a reason to argue that indeed their history was and remains a journey. Regardless of the kind of change that has taken place, the role played by historical leaders cannot be undervalued. From George Washington to Barrack Obama, the face of the United States has always been determined by leaders. Two of these leaders were W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. They had both differences and similarities with regard to leadership and the position of the black people in America. This paper explores major differences which existed between the two leaders and what these differences tell us about the shaping of modern America.
Comparison between Booker Washington and DuBois illustrates significant differences which were aimed at solving black problems and creation of equality between black and white people. However, these philosophical differences were not as opposing as viewed by many scholars around the world. Washington had his focus on the reunion between white and black people together with a gradual incorporation of black people into the American mainstream. He recommended that the only way black people would reduce racial discrimination in the society was by recognizing white people as true friends, observing different but equal policies, getting vocational skills through training and inculcating Christian values in their life. On the other hand, DuBois argued that the only way in which black people were to realize racial equality in America was through talented and radical black leadership (Gibson, 1978). His philosophy was based on the fact that proper reasoning by both black and white people was the only way of achieving social justice in the system. It is worth noting that despite these philosophical differences, both Booker and DuBois had a sole focal point of ensuring a first class citizenship of black people in America.
Research finding s and discussion
Based on philosophical arguments and stand points of Washington and DuBois, the two leaders were great civil activists dedicated to improving the lives of black Americans. They were touched by oppressive nature of life and how inequality and social injustice dominated the American social atmosphere towards the end of the 19th century. What many people fail to understand is the fact that that Washington and his rival DuBois had solutions which were valid in solving American problems (Gibson, 1978). However, each solution was better than the other, making difficult to draw a line between their ideological and political differences.
Were the differences between Washington and DuBois brought about by the manner in which they were brought up and their early childhood life? The two were born in different social status. While Washington hailed from slavery, his rival DuBois was born as free man who never tasted raw slavery. This divergent background played a significant role in establishing their philosophical ideas. They developed dissimilar approaches in dealing with the issue of American injustices which mainly affected the black people with an amazing target of creating equality of civil rights in the society (Conyers, 2005). Washington studied at the Hampton Institute in Virginia and spent his after-graduation years motivating Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. On the other hand, DuBois studied in Tennessee at Fisk University before proceeding to Harvard where he made history by becoming the first black American to obtain a PhD at the institution.Washington understood that there was a way of creating understanding between white and black people through a definite approach that would lead to economic stability. He believed that vocational training was quite essential for White people to acknowledge any form of understanding from black people. He openly discouraged African Americans from only targeting political equality but establish an economic foundation through skills and training. This was not however to the taste of his rival DuBois who commanded a different audience that was completely parallel to Washington’s direction. He therefore took the lead in demanding full civil freedom and rights which were not respected at that time. The need to end discrimination passionately propelled DuBois arguing that human brotherhood was extremely important and mandatory in realizing a nation that respected humanity (Conyers, 2005). DuBois believed that ones identity was not to be defined by race or skin color but through equal respect of human rights. He therefore bitterly jeered Washington because of his philosophies which did not fully concentrate on achieving a nation free from discrimination, racism and social injustices.
Nevertheless, the ideas and arguments of vocational training and skills preached by Washington were not to be made fun of. He targeted people who hardly hard education despite the fact that they hard every potential and ability to not only receive education but excel to higher levels than DuBois. His audience was mainly composed of people who were good at blue color jobs because of their low qualifications. These completely deserved every right which was being taken away but needed to gain this understanding through the wisdom of Booker Washington who spoke from his heart concerning the relationship between Black and white people. He continually emphasized on people exploring different fields like agriculture, commerce, domestic services and even in professional sectors through dedication to work skillfully (Conyers, 2005).
DuBois never saw value in Washington’s words and thoughts. He considered his stand to be misinformed, unrealistic and unwilling to deal with civil injustices which hard engulfed America. He inverted every statement and negated every word spoken by his rival. For instance, in the Negro problem, DuBois argued for the need of giving power to black people and not undermining their immense abilities and their rights to justice. According to DuBois, education was to convert carpenters into human beings and not turning men and women into carpenters. He believed that a good percentage of African Americans were gifted and talented in various aspects of life (Conyers, 2005). He therefore drove the need of Black people being allowed to make leadership decisions and be made ambassadors of their culture. DuBois believed that only ten percent of African Americans had this potential of leading and making transformational decisions because the rest of the population needed knowledgeable representatives.
It is clear that Booker Washington had complete confidence in himself with regard to his abilities. He believed that he had all he needed to succeed. He however admitted that it would rather be some form of selfish success. He considered the fact that his success was to be at the expense of improving the lives of his fellow black Americans. He was a true man after his own heart, relaxed and satisfied with what life offered despite the fact that the rest of the people were stagnating with total hunger for freedom and equal rights (Gibson, 1978).
Despite the fact that Booker Washington and DuBois had different approach towards creating equality, their political and leadership ideas and ideologies have tremendously impacted leadership in America. With many years having elapsed since their time, the new America vests its shape in the mind of these people (Conyers, 2005). DuBois played a mega role in establishing civil rights movements, like NAACP which went ahead to create human rights awareness in America and propelled the sense of not only respecting Africans but establishing racial equality and ending injustices. Many other activists who came after DuBois embraced his ideas in addressing discrimination, violation of human rights and overt protests. Indeed the differences noted above tell the struggles which the new America went through. It is a product of people who had different opinions but with a unison target of having first class American citizens with equal rights between Black and White people.
Differences between Dubois and Washington
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