Summary Of Mr. Booker T. Washington And Others

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The third essay in W.E.B. Du Bois’ collection The Souls of Black Folk, entitled “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others” is an argument against Booker T. Washington’s proposed strategies to advance black Americans in the social and economic spheres. However, Du Bois does not start the essay with a proposal of his own strategies but rather takes his time to introduce Washington’s ideas. In fact, it is not until the fifth paragraph that even hints that he disagrees with Washington, respectfully stating that “…the time is come when one may speak in all sincerity and utter cour- tesy of the mistakes and shortcomings of Mr. Washington's career, as well as of his triumphs, without being thought captious or envious, and without forgetting that it is easier to do ill than well in the world.” (38) Clearly, Du Bois was not trying to start anything personal with Washington but rather honestly disagreed with his plan for the advancement of black people within the United States while still appreciating the work that he had done.…show more content…
Washington’s strategies relied on “compromising the white South” (37), which he accomplished with his 1895 Atlanta Compromise. This speech was delivered to a mostly white audience, so it is no wonder that Washington did not try to incite a complete overhaul of the white supremacist society. Overall, Washington’s “programme of industrial education, conciliation of the South, and submission and silence as to civil and political rights” (36) is one that seems to shy away from any tactic that would be considered too controversial to the white people. Washington seemed to not want to push his luck; perhaps he feared that pushing for equal rights would create a backlash to other forms of progress he was advocating for. Washington thought making advancements in the work force would eventually lead to African Americans being considered

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