"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
"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."
Do you agree or disagree with Du Bois?
Why or why not?
Do you see racial conflict as a major
problem in the United States today? In the world? Defend your
Do you think "the problem of color"
is today greater, less than, or the same as it was when Du Bois published
this statement in 1903? Give specific reasons (incidents in the news, personal
experiences, statistics, etc.) to support your answer.
What do you see as the single greatest
problem your community faces today? your country? the world? Why?
Du Bois referred to racist attitudes
and behaviors as "the slow throttling and murder of nine millions of men."
What do you think he means by this
Why do you think he chose to use such
How is prejudice similar to
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."
How could two men with the same goal--the
good of the African-American people--differ so greatly in their
Examine the backgrounds of Washington
and Du Bois. How might their own life experiences have influenced their diverse
views on education?
What benefits can you see in the
vocational education promoted by Washington? What are its
What benefits can you see in the liberal
arts education promoted by Du Bois? What are its
Do you agree more with Washington's
position or Du Bois's? Why?
Is it be possible to integrate the
positions of both men, providing education that emphasizes both liberal arts
and marketable skills? Why or why not?
Have an idea you want to
E-mail it to
Return to the Holiday Zone's Black History Month Activities.
to The Holiday Zone home.
All content not attributed to another source is original and may not be re-posted on any other website.
Material on this site may be reproduced in printed form for non-commercial use (including school, church, and community/civic club use) as long as proper credit, including a link to this site, is given.
Material may not be reproduced for commercial use without written permission.