“The Souls of Black Folk”
W. E. B. Du Bois, the author of “The Souls of Black Folk,” had one goal in mind: to describe the conditions and prejudices that blacks encountered in the early twentieth century. Du Bois was convinced that race would be a fundamental problem that would plague the rest of the century. Du Bois was a prominent leader of the black community in the twentieth century along with a contemporary by the name of Booker T. Washington. However, their view point on how to tackle the economic and social injustice of the blacks was the complete opposite.
Booker T Washington was a native of the south, born in Virginia as a slave. Washington was educated at Hampton Normal a vocational school. As a young man, he became a key figure and founded the Tuskegee University. Du Bois born in Massachusetts had a mixed racial background in a community surrounded with whites. Du Bois received a “classical” education and earned a PhD in Psychology. Dubois was first black person who received a doctorate from Harvard. The first time that Du Bois encounter Jim Crow laws, came in 1885 when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend Fisk University. Du Bois for the first time realized the magnitude of American racism. This led Du Bois to become one of the most prominent civil right leaders for the blacks. In Du Bois eyes, Washington became a leader, not just for the blacks but also for the whites, a compromiser, who sold out his race in the famous “Atlanta Compromise.” In 1895, Washington spoke at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. Washington accepted social segregation, as long as blacks had educational and work opportunities. Du Bois spoke out and said that Washington told the blacks to give up three crucial things: political power, civil rights, and higher education. Because of his stance on segregation, Washington was considered a “safe negro.” This allowed Washington to have a voice that was heard, and recognized, by individuals in...
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