Civil Rights Near the Turn of the Century

Start Free Trial

What were the major arguments by W.E.B Du Bois in regards to furthering civil rights in America during the period of World War I?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

World War I gave added impetus to Du Bois' ideas. He saw the conflict as having potentially revolutionary consequences for black empowerment. Controversially, he argued that this should be done by African-Americans putting aside their very real grievances and throwing themselves into the war effort as loyal, patriotic Americans.

However, Du Bois became deeply disillusioned by the outcome of the war. On the domestic front, progress by the Wilson Administration on the issue of civil rights was slow to non-existent. In fact, one could argue that the cause of civil rights suffered a serious setback during this time, with the resurgent Ku Klux Klan becoming ever more politically influential and with racial segregation of the Federal government very much the order of the day. Du Bois came to regret his initial enthusiasm for the war, especially after senior white officers in the American army openly questioned the bravery and effectiveness of African-American troops.

Du Bois set out to put the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 537 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team