We shall prosper in proportion as we learn to
dignify and glorify labor and put brains and skill
into the common occupations of life.
Discussion Topics Related to the Life of Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington believed that
hard work would be the salvation of the African-American people. He saw hard
work as the means through which African-Americans could gain respect and
acceptances by the white community.
Do you largely agree or disagree with
this belief? Why?
How is a good work ethic important
to an individudal? a community? a society?
What is a good work ethic? Define
and give examples.
What are the negative consequences
of a poor work ethic?
What are the characteristics of a
poor work ethic?
Can a good work ethic be taught? Why
or why not? If it may be taught, how can it be taught most effectively? If
it cannot be taught, how is it acquired?
Do you personally believe you have
a good worth ethic? Justify your answer. What steps, if any, are you taking
to improve your work ethic?
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?
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