Two men emerged as the intellectual leaders of African Americans in the 1890s, one of whom was W.E.B. Dubois. In his Souls of Black Folk he is trying to describe the fate of African Americans since the end of the war. Please read Chapter 7, “Of the Black Belt” by DuBois to get an idea of how he summarizes how poor, rural African Americans were living in Georgia at that time. As you can see, DuBois considered himself to be a sociologist, so he tried to write objectively about the lives these people were living. Here’s the link to the book again: Souls of Black Folk
DuBois was a proponent of true higher education for African Americans. He differed from his contemporary Booker T. Washington who wanted to focus on practical training for African Americans so that they could do tradesmen jobs.
To see this contrast in opinions, please read Dubois’ Chapter 3: “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others” and Chapter 6: “Of the Training of Black Men.”
In addition, please read Washington’s 1895 speech, dubbed The Atlanta Compromise: The Atlanta Compromise
Write three substantive responses to the above questions (200-250 words).
1. What do you think are the most positive aspects of Washington’s positions about how African Americans should be educated and should find accommodation with white Americans?
2. What are the strongest arguments against Washington’s positions that DuBois makes, in your view?
3. What do you believe (using the reading) could have been a solution to bridging the gap between the positions of Dubois and Washington?
This assignment requires you to read and summarize DuBois and Washington’s positions, and to compare the positions.
There is no “right” answer – just a well-considered one – for each question.