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Booker T Washington The Souls Of Black Folk Analysis

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In an era where African Americans were caught in the middle of an awkward transition between slavery and unrestricted freedom, few voices could rise above the noise to lead Blacks to a better future. Booker T. Washington, a former slave himself, found that voice. Approaching contemporary issues through a realistic lens, Washington saw Black empowerment in the world of industry rather than in the world of politics. He saw solutions in brotherhood among diverse cultures, a necessity for a nation torn apart by extreme polarization, and understood the importance of training the first generations of free blacks for the workforce. In this sense, Washington established himself as a true visionary. Many people rejected Washington’s ideas of compromise. Most notably, W. E. B. Du Bois in his work The Souls of Black Folk directly criticized Washington for preaching “a gospel of Work and Money to such an extent as apparently almost completely to overshadow the higher aims of life.” Du Bois' argument was substantiated by the prevalent white supremacy of his time that would only perpetuate …show more content…

Washington believed that collaboration was key to creating a more inclusive society for both races. Instead of getting African-Americans to the position of the whites, their contribution to the economy is enough for the whites to acknowledge their success. With one-third of the population being African-Americans, Washington points out that the one-third could either could add to the “crime and ignorance” or the “intelligence and progress” of the South. This meaning that through a collective effort, the success of the South would be furthered. “Cast down your bucket among these people who have helped make possible of this magnificent representation of the progress of the South.” (Atlanta Exposition Address) Washington wanted everyone to realize that without the jobs of the commercial, agricultural, and domestic service the South would not have made the progress it had already

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