"Atlanta Compromise" Speech

by Booker T. Washington

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What is the significance of the "Atlanta Compromise" Speech?

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The Atlanta Compromise was significant because it represented a split in the thinking of two of the major representatives of the African-American people. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois had different views on how African-Americans should try to achieve equality in the late 1800s.

Booker T. Washington believed African-Americans should focus on improving economic opportunities and rights while postponing, for a period of time, the fight for political rights. Booker T. Washington believed African-Americans should get vocation training and jobs first. After achieving these goals, they could work for political rights. This was known as the Atlanta Compromise.

W.E.B. Du Bois believed African-Americans should get all of their rights now. African-Americans should have economic rights and opportunities and political rights at the same time. He didn’t believe it was necessary or acceptable to sacrifice political rights in order to get economic opportunities. He believed African-Americans should have all their rights, economic and political, at the same time.

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