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The Souls of Black Folk by Du Bois - Term Paper Example

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The Souls of Black Folk – Du Bois In his book, The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois provides an analysis of Washington’s work on racial uplifting and the rights of blacks. Du Bois has argued that blacks need the right to vote, the provision of quality education and to be granted equality and justice…
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The Souls of Black Folk by Du Bois
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Download file to see previous pages He says in the book, "One hesitates, therefore, to criticize a life which beginning with so little, has done so much. And yet the time is come when one may speak in all sincerity and utter courtesy of the mistakes and shortcomings of Mr. Washington's career as well as of his triumphs, without being captious or envious and without forgetting that it is easier to do ill than well in the world” (Documenting the American South). Starting with the issue of education, Washington had given the proposal of providing industrial education to blacks in order to alleviate their position in the society. Du Bois, however, held different views and criticized this proposal by saying that the education provided to blacks should not be industrial; rather, it should be one which would form leaders and educators in the black community. He believed that this would prove to be beneficial in the long run and I believe he is right in stating this. The black community needed people from among them who would continue to work for the rights of the blacks, rather than people who would only benefit their own surroundings. Education for African Americans would not only make the social position of people better but also improve the views that others held about blacks. As Du Bois believed, educating the African American would also remove any misconceptions about the black race and would help people recognize the contribution they were making to the society. Du Bois is also critical of Washington as he seems to promote the idea of submissiveness of blacks to the whites’ system. He does this by recommending that blacks give up three major privileges that make them a significant part of the society: political power, i.e. the right to vote, civil rights and higher education. Without these things, it is not possible for African Americans to make economic progress and grow as a society. Without such rights, African Americans would not be able to look at themselves in a respectful way, let alone having others do so. Without an identity of their own, they would not be able to break out of their own shell and move higher up in the society; rather, they will remain submissive all their lives. Washington was focused more on peacefully co-existing in a society dominated by the whites while Du Bois wanted to break this dominance and lead the African American community towards social, political and economic advancement. The policies of Washington seemed that he appeased the white status quo, instead of improving that of the blacks. This was evident through the fact that he believed that the African Americans should retain their status as farmers, work on cash crops and continue living in the south. He discouraged them from moving up north and demanding civil rights. This makes us doubtful of his ability as a leader, as he did not try to improve the position of his people but rather helped them adjust to their circumstances. Du Bois criticized his views as he believed that blacks needed education, not economics, to prosper. With higher education, there would be higher paying jobs and hence a stronger position in the society coupled with economic equality and parity. This was put into words by Du Bois in the following quote: "If we make money the object of maintaining, we shall develop ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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