Civil war - African American Studies

Two Outstanding Black Men and their Philosophical Perspectives

Two outstanding black men became the spokespersons for the recently freed slaves in the decades following the end of the American Civil War in the late 19th century. Despite being freed, the former slaves' social integration and economic requirements lagged far behind those of the white population. The two main defenders of the requirements of the African Americans were W.E. DU Bois and Booker T. Washington. Though they shared a similar goal—improving the social, economic, and political requirements of African American communities—the two leaders had very different philosophical perspectives. The efforts that these forefathers of the contemporary African Americans put in is visible and continues the affect the pleas and the rights of the African Americans in the contemporary world.

W.E.B DU Bois and His Advocacy for Education

W.E.B DU Bois had many achievements in his scholarly and leadership life amongst the African Americans. Du Bois who became the first African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard was an author and an activist in addition to being an academician. Du Bois advocated for the equal opportunity for the African Americans in education. Du Bois held a strong conviction that education was a fundamental right for the African Americans and hence could not be denied from them whatsoever. Through his active leadership in the African American elites called the "talented tenth," Du Bois managed to change the curriculum for the African Americans through stressing that the African Americans ought to be taught liberal arts in addition to mechanical skills. Du Bois argued that quality education would not only make the African Americans get good jobs, but it would also improve their leadership styles and their lives (DuBois p.6).

Booker T. Washington's Philosophy of Skilled Education

In his article "souls for black folks," Du Bois contends that even is all the white institutions and colleges like Nashville, New Orleans, and Atlanta were made open to the African Americans, they still could not receive the same quality of education like that received by the white Americans. From his experience of being a teacher, Du Bois states that the African American teachers at the time were treated with contempt and disregard. Despite his rivalry with Booker T. Washington, Du Bois believed that education was the cornerstone for the improvement of the lives of the African Americans. He further asserted that it was only through education and good leadership that the African Americans could correct their perceptions in the political and economic realms. W.E.B Du Bois. Souls for Black Folk (p.47). Retrieved from

Impact of W.E.B Du Bois and Booker T. Washington

Through his philosophical conception of the social in depended and racial strategy, Booker T Washington advocated for the provision of skilled education and job opportunities to the African Americans. Booker T. Washington in his famous 1895 speech told the African Americans that they needed the practical form of education that would, in turn, boost their economic needs which were more pressing. Washington, however, assured the whites that in return, the African Americans could give up the quest for equality and civil rights campaign. Although Washington received many followers from the African American and the white population who believed in his ideologies, he had a strained relationship with Du Bois who held a divergent opinion. Booker T. Washington. Up from Slavery. Retrieved 1901 from

The Great Migration and its Impact on African Americans

At the dawn of the 20th century, W.E.B Du Bois and Booker T. Washington were the two most influential African Americans. Although Booker T. Washington had gained much political and social acceptance, Du Bois still insisted that the African Americans could not give up their quest for education and civil rights in exchange for economic opportunities. Du Bois argued that giving up their quest and long-term struggle for the acquisition of equality in the civil rights as well as an all-inclusive education and opportunities would brand them, second-hand citizens. The publication of the "Souls for Black folks" was the climax of their differences where Du Bois targeted Washington directly and managed to restore the African Americans in their quest for full civil rights. Both Du Bois and Washington's ideologies helped shape the contemporary position of the African Americans in terms of education and the attainment of civil rights (DuBois p.8).

The Influence of the Great Migration on African Americans

The great migration that took place from the 1910-1970s saw nearly 6 million African Americans migrate north to New York, Chicago and to the mid-west countries. The African Americans were motivated by the industrial revolution that was booming and the strict segregation laws that dominated the south. Although the African Americans aggressively tackled the social, economic and political implications that followed a new set of challenges. According to Reilly & Wright (p.119), other than just tackling the socio-economic and political challenges, the African Americans started shaping their space in the society. The Jim Crowe segregation laws that dominated the south alongside the underground activities of the Ku Klux Klan and the failed sharecropping system were some of the contributing factors that dove the African Americans northwards. Additionally, the first world war reduced the influx of Europeans working in the northern industries which prompted more African Americans to work in the thriving northern industries.

With the influx of the African Americans, the northern states became overcrowded posing a challenge of housing the ever-growing population. Additionally, racial profiling broke out despite its prohibition which attracted the activities of the Ku Klux and later there was a rise in the race riots across major cities like Chicago. The resilient nature of the African Americans saw them frothier own cities and settlements in the urban areas like the city of Harlem and Bronx. With the dawn of the great depression, the African Americans have found their place in the city's culture and hence started becoming vocal through forums like the Harlem Renaissance. The African American city culture was redefined and their political platform grew in the north as opposed to the oppressive laws of the south (Baldwin p.233). In the 1930s, the African Americans temporarily halted their activities in the south which later resumed after the second world war. Although the African Americans have lived in the north for over a century, their social, economic and political conditions and affiliations still remain far behind those of the whites.

The Contributions of W.E.B Du Bois and Booker T. Washington

W.E.B Du Bois and Booker T. Washington contributed immensely to the social, economic and political integration of the African Americans to their society after the end of slavery. Although the African Americans continued facing challenges, both W.E.B and Washington advocated for the education of the African Americans which they claimed was the cornerstone of their breakthrough in their civil rights struggle. Although W.E.B and Washington had their differences, they both advocated for better lives for the African Americans. Additionally, the great migration north led to a new identity and fate for the African Americans who re-wrote their history and changed their previous overall outlook. The African Americans managed to be more vocal politically in addition to shaping their economic needs and their cultural identity which has given birth to their modern struggles of segregation, economic inequality, and political suppression. Hortense J. Spillers. Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A postdate. Duke University Press. Retrieved from

Works cited

Baldwin, Davarian L. Chicago's New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, & Black Urban Life. Chapel Hill, NC: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2007. Print.

Booker T. Washington. Up from Slavery. Pg. 6. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Dave/Downloads/up-from-slavery-007-chapter-5-the-reconstruction-period.pdf.

Roediger, David R. Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All., 2015. Print.

Reilly, John M. “Richard Wright Preaches the Nation: 12 Million Black Voices.” Black American Literature Forum, vol. 16, no. 3, 1982, pp. 116–119. JSTOR, JSTOR,

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