Contrary to the present peaceful coexistence state of all American citizens socially, economically, and politically, in the past the whites segregated individuals of the African-American origin. Therefore, because of the white supremacy, the Negros had no say, even in issues that concerned their lives; hence, the nature of suffering this community endured in the hands of the whites.
The African-American cries for freedom from segregation, indiscriminate killings, deprivation of their fundamental rights, and mob Violence hit a snag, because the whites considered Negros as subhuman beings. Because of the worsening condition, Negros sought ways of freeing themselves from such extreme suffering, leading to the rising of two powerful Negro leaders namely Booker T and W.E.B Dubois (Gibson Para. 1-3).
Although these two leaders’ shared a common agenda of saving the African-Americans from segregation and extreme suffering, they had different ideological approaches to the problem. According to Booker T, the gradualist economic approach was the only method that could guarantee Negros freedom, an idea that Dubois dismissed.
According to him, regardless of the economic riches and education that Negros obtained under submission to the whites, there is no way whites were to give them freedom; hence, his gradualist political policy. The main theme of Dubois ideology was that, African-Americans had to demand and fight for their freedom, there being no way their white oppressors could leave their slaves leave (Gibson Para. 1-6).
Because of the respect that the whites accorded Booker T having worked with them and showed loyalty to them for a long time, Booker T held the notion that, through foregoing their cries for freedom, social equality, and fundamental liberties, the whites could offer Black Americans some industrial-agricultural training and employment opportunities.
Therefore, through the expertise learnt from the trainings and jobs, African-Americans were eventually to gain the respect of whites; hence, the eventual granting of their civil liberties. To Booker T, gaining of economic independence and respectability was of great significance than fighting for civil liberties through forceful means, which African-Americans had no guarantee that they could win (Henry 1).
Generally, Booker T’s strategy laid more emphasis on blacks accepting and accommodating the white cruelty and supremacy, as this was the only primary method of ensuring a mutual interdependence relationship developed between African-Americans and whites. Although Booker acknowledged that such a relationship could not clear the social differences between these two American groups, the relationship could guarantee mutual economic development of both groups and the mutual release of blacks from suffering (Smock 7-19).
Although Dubois and Booker shared the same sentiments that blacks were suffering because they wanted to, and that economic independence was necessary for the rise of the black community, Dubois greatly opposed the submission issue. Because of the little gain Booker T’s strategy gained African-Americans, Dubois advocated for formation of social liberties organizations to fight for the Blacks’ rights.
To Dubois, although education was important in liberating the blacks, there was need for political action and constant agitation, as it was the only way of forcing the whites to surrender some power.
To be politically competent and elevate the social status of the blacks’ needs, Dubois further emphasized the importance of Blacks studying liberal arts in colleges, instead of only industrial-agricultural studies. Therefore, although Dubois accepted some of Bookers’ ideas, he believed that Booker T’s ideology never gave a concrete solution to the Race problem (Dawkins 1).
In conclusion, although these two prominent African-American leaders had one agenda of helping blacks gain their freedom and civil liberties, there strategies varied, as Booker believed in submission to the white supremacy, a case that Dubois opposed with his political strategy.
Dawkins, Sabrina. Deromanticizing Black History W.E.B. Dubois & Booker T Washington. 2010. Web. 15 April. 2010.
Gibson, Robert. Booker T, Washington and W.E.B. Dubois: the problem of Negro Leadership. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. 2010. Web. July 13. 2010.
Henry, Charles. Who won the great debate Booker T. Washington of W.E.B. Dubois? 2010. Web. 15 April. 2010.
Smock, Raymond. Booker T. Washington in perspective: Essays of Louis R. Harlan. Mississippi: University of Mississippi, 1988. Web. July 13. 2010.