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W. E. B. Du Bois argued voraciously for equality for African Americans in the early 20th Century. As an outspoken advocate for civil rights, he took the approach that the only way that African Americans could achieve any significant social progress in the United States was through widespread protest and...

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W. E. B. Du Bois argued voraciously for equality for African Americans in the early 20th Century. As an outspoken advocate for civil rights, he took the approach that the only way that African Americans could achieve any significant social progress in the United States was through widespread protest and agitation.

Du Bois' approach put him at odds with the other major racial advocate of his day, Booker T. Washington. Washington argued that African Americans could best achieve social progress by winning the respect of whites through education, hard work, and self-achieved economic prosperity. Du Bois argued that Washington's approach would do nothing to help the cause of African Americans. He felt that whites would never see African Americans as equals and that Washington's gentler and subtler approach would only serve to keep them in a perpetual state of second-class citizenship.

In his later years, Du Bois became an advocate for black nationalism, also known as Pan-Africanism. He felt that all people with African heritage shared the same interests and therefore should work together, regardless of other differences, to advance their cause of social improvement. To this end, Du Bois supported efforts to develop a distinctive black culture in Europe as well as in America. This took the form of new forms of black arts and literature.

He also became increasingly interested in socialist ideology. Du Bois thought that a socialist approach helped to recognize the rights as well as the struggles of working-class African-Americans.

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