What does accommodation mean to Booker T. Washington? How does W.E.B. DuBois respond? I know that DuBois felt that Washington was compromising the future of African Americans by agreeing to not...

What does accommodation mean to Booker T. Washington? How does W.E.B. DuBois respond?

I know that DuBois felt that Washington was compromising the future of African Americans by agreeing to not push for higher education for young black men, civic equality and the right to vote. 

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Booker T. Washington's famous "Atlanta Compromise" speech of 1895, he said that "African Americans should accommodate themselves to racial prejudice and concentrate on economic self-improvement.” Washington believed that African Americans should first focus on improving their situation through vocational training and only concentrate on political rights once they had achieved a measure of economic success. "Accommodation" to Washington meant accepting a situation of segregation and of social separateness from white people.

W.E.B. DuBois, who was the first African American person to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard and the co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, disagreed with Washington. He thought that African Americans should pursue social and political equality with whites. Instead of advocating vocational training, DuBois advanced the idea that African Americans should pursue university educations and that the educated segment of the African American community, which he referred to as "the talented tenth," should lead the charge for political equality with whites. 

martinjmurphy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois were two African American leaders who took different approaches to discrimination and segregation experienced by African Americans.  Washington took what he considered to be a more practical approach to these problems. He emphasized accommodation and accepting discrimination and segregation for the time being.  He advised African Americans to learn skilled trades to earn more money and improve their lives.  This would eventually lead to African Americans being fully being integrated and accepted as citizens. Du Bois took another approach.  He urged African Americans to actively fight discrimination rather than to patiently submit to it.  He advocated political action and was one of the founders of the NAACP. He demanded equal economic opportunity and the end to racial segregation.  He felt African Americans should strive for more than just working in the trades and urged equal educational opportunities for African Americans.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois had different views of how African-American should try to get their rights. Booker T. Washington believed African-Americans should get their economic rights settled before pursuing their political rights. He believed that African-Americans should get vocational training so they would be able to get jobs and become more secure financially. This position, known as the Atlanta Compromise, suggested economic rights should be pursued before going after political rights.

W.E.B. Du Bois believed African-Americans should get all of their rights at the same time. He believed it was wrong to pursue only economic rights and not pursue political rights. W. E. B. Du Bois believed African-Americans deserved all their rights at the same time and should work to achieve gaining both economic rights and political rights. He and Booker T. Washington had differing views on how African-Americans should pursue their rights.