Celebrating Black History Month: Wiliam Edward Burghardt Washington

"I believe in Liberty for all men; the space to stretch their arms and their souls;
the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends,
enjoy the sunshine and ride on the railroads, uncursed by color; thinking,
dreaming, working as they will in a kingdom of God and love."

The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

Discussion Topics
"The problem of the twentieth century," wrote W. E. B. Du Bois, "is the problem of the color line--the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in American and the islands of the seas."

Du Bois referred to racist attitudes and behaviors as "the slow throttling and murder of nine millions of men."



While both W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington addressed the race problem of the early twentieth century, the men differed greatly in their approaches to the issue. Washington emphasized vocational education, saying that hard work and productivity would be the salvation of the Black people. Du Bois, however, believed that education in the arts and sciences was far more important than vocational education. In fact, he vehemently attacked Washington in The Souls of Black Folks, saying that Washington's emphasis on vocational training was equal to "industrial slavery" and "civic death."


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