W.E.B. Du Bois' and Booker T. Washington were both important civil rights advocates but were extremely different in their approaches.  What made Du Bois' use the method of agitation? Both men were able to accomplish great things. Washington was able to establish the Tuskegee Institute and Du Bois' formed the NAACP.  Being so different is there any way to say that one was more successful than the other?

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Du Bois's method of agitation is rooted in the belief in a college education for as many people as possible. 

While both Washington and Du Bois were committed to improving the lives of African- Americans, they differed on the role of a college education. Washington favored an educational approach that...

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Du Bois's method of agitation is rooted in the belief in a college education for as many people as possible. 

While both Washington and Du Bois were committed to improving the lives of African- Americans, they differed on the role of a college education. Washington favored an educational approach that was more industrial and vocational.  He believed that if people could find a niche in the post- slavery world, change would come about gradually.  He did not openly advocate that African- Americans aspire to college education.

Du Bois's method of agitation differed in that he viewed college education as essential to transforming the lives of African- Americans.  In his essay, "The Talented Tenth," Du Bois argued that any hope for change has to rest with a college education:

The best and most capable of their youth must be schooled in the colleges and universities of the land....A university is a human invention for the transmission of knowledge and culture from generation to generation, through the training of quick minds and pure hearts, and for this work no other human invention will suffice, not even trade and industrial schools.

Du Bois believed that a college education was essential for the "training of quick minds and pure hearts" who could lead African- Americans into a new world.  The ending criticism of "trade and industrial schools" was a challenge to Washington's approach.   Du Bois saw that change could only be possible through the "exceptional men" of "the talented tenth."  College education ensured this.  Du Bois believed that the college educated person was a "group leader," and one who "sets the ideals of the community where he lives, directs its thoughts and heads its social movements."  For Du Bois, a college education sets all of these aspirations in motion.

I think that Du Bois's approach was more successful than Booker T. Washington's.  The insistence on college education is a means to ensure equality and fairness.  Washington's emphasis on vocational training has utility.  However, its application to everyone can result in political and economic inequality.  Du Bois was insistent that when people possess a college education, large scale change can be created. I think that this belief is still true today.  

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