W. E. B. Du Bois

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According to W.E.B Dubois, what was the "talented tenth"? What was meant by the talented tenth?

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Written in 1903, "The Talented Tenth" was an essay by African-American author and civil rights activist W. E. B. Dubois. Although the term originated in 1896 by members of the American Baptist Missionary Home Society, Dubois used the term to describe his expectation that one in ten black men would become the leaders of their race. Dubois believed that it was important for black men to receive a classical education and involve themselves in social issues--to become intellectuals in order to lead their race. This was in opposition to many other white liberal thinkers, as well as black leader Booker T. Washington, who believed that black men should be trained through industrial education. According to Dubois,

Men we shall have only as we make manhood the object of the work of the schools — intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men to it — this is the curriculum of that Higher Education which must underlie true life. On this foundation we may build bread winning, skill of hand and quickness of brain, with never a fear lest the child and man mistake the means of living for the object of life.

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