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The chapter advocates the importance of higher education of African Americans not only for themselves but for American civilization as a whole. DuBois claims that African American college graduates have been "conservative, careful leaders". Their education has allowed them to understand the importance of cooperation between the races. Thus, they have not become mob agitators, but are performing much needed work to construct a fairer and more peaceful society. To DuBois, denying education to the nine million African Americans that live in America would lead them to brood "over the wrongs of the past and the difficulties of the present" preventing them to apply their talent to a constructive cooperation with the whites to the advantage of American civilization.
In Chapter 6, "Of the Training of Black Men," Du Bois discusses how to address the education of African-Americans in the south, where racial prejudice is still strong. He speaks of education not just as training to live life but also "training for the profitable living together of black men and white." In other words, education is critical to helping pave the way for racial harmony. He recognizes that industrial schools that have developed in the south to provide African-American people with vocational training were necessary but that they are not "the final and sufficient answer in the training of the Negro."
Instead, Du Bois identifies Black colleges such as Fisk and Spelman as the answer to the problem of education of African-Americans in the south. He also notes that several hundreds of African-Americans have graduated from universities such as Harvard, Yale, and Oberlin. He has surveyed these graduates and found them respectable members of the community, often teaching in African-American colleges. He believes that as the south develops, the need for African-American people with higher education will grow. He sees Black colleges as essential in helping African-American people work cooperatively with whites and grow. He also sees education as a way to help African-Americans face the racism they encounter. As he writes: "And to themselves in these the days that try their souls, the chance to soar in the dim blue air above the smoke is to their finer spirits boon and guerdon for what they lose on earth by being black." In other words, education helps the souls of African-Americans as they encounter the horrible racism of their day.
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