Booker T. Washington delivered an important speech in 1895 in which he outlined his views on civil rights. This speech, the so-called "Atlanta Compromise," was delivered to an overwhelmingly white audience. Washington called upon black citizens to achieve economic prosperity rather than fighting for full political and economic equality. He seemed to accept racial segregation when he stated: "In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress." Wealthy whites backed Washington's approach.
W.E.B. Du Bois was an ardent critic of Washington's moderate approach. The result was a split in the movement. The two men attempted to resolve their differences by meeting in 1904. Despite initial success, the attempt to reconcile their two views failed.
By the mid-twentieth century, the civil rights movement became very powerful under leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. King and other leaders of the civil rights movement were much more influenced by Du Bois than Washington.