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Can you compare Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey's ideas?no

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fbristow | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 18, 2011 at 1:38 AM via web

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Can you compare Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey's ideas?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 18, 2011 at 1:50 AM (Answer #1)

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These two men's ideas were pretty much diametrically opposed to one another.  Marcus Garvey was the first major black nationalist while Booker T. Washington was the most famous accomodationist of his time.

Washington's basic philosophy was that black people needed to understand that whites held the upper hand.  He argued that black people needed to work hard and refrain from making demands on the whites.  Washington believed that this sort of behavior would eventually win the respect of whites, who would grant blacks equality.

By contrast, Garvey believed in a black separatism and in being aggressive.  He believed that blacks should try to separate themselves from whites, even to the extent of returning to Africa.  He did not believe in waiting to be given respect by the whites.

There was, however, one area of similarity.  Both men believed that blacks needed to help themselves.  To Washington, that self-help involved being humble and working hard.  To Garvey, it involved being assertive and proud.  But in both cases, there was a sense that blacks had to advance through their own efforts.

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