Compare and contrast the views of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois on the issue of how best to help African-Americans achieve equality in the late 1800s.

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington were leading African-American thinkers around 1900. Both men had clear views about how African-Americans should achieve equality.

Both men believed African-Americans should have equal rights. They differed on how those rights should be achieved. Booker T. Washington believed African-Americans should first focus on vocational training and securing jobs. Once they had jobs and were more secure financially, Booker T. Washington then believed African-Americans should fight for political equality. He believed economic equality should be secured before political equality should be secured. This idea was known as the Atlanta Compromise.

W.E.B. Du Bois believed differently. He believed African-Americans should secure all of the rights at the same time. He believed it was unnecessary for African-Americans to wait for political equality. He believed that African-Americans should secure both political equality and economic equality at the same time. He couldn’t understand why there should be a wait for any form of equality to occur. He believed it should all happen now.

Both men want equality for African-Americans. They differed on how and when that equality should be achieved.

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