Vocational Education as the Fastest Path to Economic Success for Blacks

Topics: America

Booker T, Washington and WE B, Dubois were among two of the most influential black leaders that strove to attain racial equality for African Americans during the early twentieth century. Although both Washington and Dubors sought to advance civil rights for African Americans each stressed a contrasting philosophy as to how to achieve their goal (Taylor). Heeding the belief that blacks would be granted cm and political rights after gaining economic independence, Washington urged blacks to temporally set aside their desire lor equality and work toward economic advancement.

Washington captured this philosophy cleverly in the phrase: In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress (Harlan). He was thus of the belief that blacks should remain separate yet equal and promoted the temporary acceptance oi segregation in exchange for economic advancement (Salley). In accordance his philosophy, Washington also maintained that vocational education, rather than a college education, was the quickest route to economic success for blacks.

He held that the development of practical work skills would give blacks an upper hand in seeking employment (Taylor). To foster his beliefs, Washington founded the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, which trained thousands of black people in industrialized trades such as farming blacksmithing, plumbing, carpentry, and mechanics (Taylor). White America was largely in support of Washingtons’ philosophy, as they viewed his outward acceptance of segregation and his opposition to black militancy as a means of encouraging blacks to face their inferior social status.

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Whites, therefore, hailed Washington as a representative for all of black America in dealing with racial issues (Salley). Among black populous America, Washingtons’ philosophy was also well received. It was acknowledged as a compromise that many blacks faced as the most effective way to deal With white America (Harlan).

By succumbing to interior status, many believed that they would eventually be accepted by whites and allowed to live in peace (Taylor). The black opposition to Washingtons’ philosophy believed, however, that their race would never be treated equally if segregation was allowed to continue. Many also pointed out that Washingtons’ lack of concern with equal rights for blacks did not represent an insightful long-range plan and declared that his philosophy was too idealistic (Pinkney). Thus, a significant majority of the black population strongly opposed Washingtons’ philosophy of accommodation and demanded that the social status of black be amended immediately (Taylor). Among the strongest opponents to Washingtons’ philosophy was W E. B, Du Bois. a black historian and SDClOlOgISt. Du Bois completely rejected Washingtons compromising views on political and civil rights and insisted that blacks should openly strive for their rights.

In addition, Du Bois criticized what he regarded as Washington‘s surrender of rights and human dignity for economic gain, stating that it was foolish for blacks to remain submissive in the belief that whites would eventually “reward” them with equal rights (Straub). Du Bois also criticized Washington’s educational and political philosophy and practices. Although he acknowledged the need for industrial training‘ Du Bois advocated higher education for talented African Americans who could serve as leaders. He feared that the success of Washington‘s industrial school would limit the development of true higher education for blacks and believed that blacks should also have the opportunity to obtain a college education (Straub). With only little support from intelligent white elitists, Du Bois lacked the powerful influence that Washington held over white America.

Most white Americans were strong proponents of segregation and consequently rejected Du Boiss philosophy, which centered upon on givmg blacks equal rights. Moreover, segregationists believed that although divided the races, it was still promoted equality. Du Bois questioned this View, and thus lost much support from white America (Salley). Within black America Du Boiss influence primarily appealed to only a small percent of the population. Most of his support came from the black opposition to Washington, which felt that segregation had to be abolished for African Americans to attain equality. However, because the black populous of America only made up ten percent of the United States In the 19005. Dubois could not achieve extensive support (Taylor).

Another factor that prevented the Widespread success of Du Bois, was that many African Americans supported his philosophy. his image as a civil rights leader that closely identified with Africa was a turn off. Many African Americans wanted to distance themselves from the primitive image that Africa carried in the minds of whites and thus looked to Washington as the most effective black representative (McKissack). Although the approaches and philosophies of Booker T. Washington and W.E.,B. Dubois greatly differed, their ambitions for African Americans were nearly identical. they both strove to attain racial equality, Washington however, believed that the ultimate goal of equality could only be realized through building a strong economic foundation, while Du Bois believed that equality could only be reached by actively opposing white oppression.

In addition, Washington temporarily accepted segregation in an effort to achieve his goal, while Dubois had no tolerance for it. Because of their philosophies, Washington also enjoyed Wide popularity among both black and white Americans while Dubois gained mainly black supporters. Despite their differences, however, both Du Bois and Washington both deserve much credit for their achievements in black civrl rights. Today, African Americans enjoy legally protected rights that were only a dream in the youths of Booker T. Washington and W,E.B. Du Bois. Economically, politically, and socially, African Americans have progressed enormously since these men strove to attain racial equality for blacks. Although problems are sill evident today, the United States is a better place for African Americans because ol the lives and work of Booker T, Washington and W,E.B. Du Bois (Rowh). These men played pivotal roles in attaining equality lorAlrIcan Americans and should thus never go unremembered.

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Vocational Education as the Fastest Path to Economic Success for Blacks. (2023, Mar 11). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/vocational-education-as-the-fastest-path-to-economic-success-for-blacks/

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