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•What are his main ideas?

W.E.B. Du Bois said no--Washington’s strategy would serve only to perpetuate white oppression. Du Bois advocated political action and a civil rights agenda he helped found the NAACP. In addition, he argued that social change could be accomplished by developing the small group of college-educated blacks he called “the Talented Tenth:” The Du Bois philosophy of agitation and protest for civil rights flowed directly into the Civil Rights movement which began to develop in the 1950’s and exploded in the 1960's. I believe DuBois had the best argument. I believe people are very set in their ideas and you need to shake things up with protests and agitation to get them to change their minds about the position of African-Americans in society. The radical 1950s and 1960s moved civil rights into the forefront in people’s minds through the television and newspaper coverage of demonstrations. Perhaps over the next century Booker T. Washington’s idea of soft quiet assimilation would work but I believe DuBois had the right idea.

•Which quotes do you find most significant?

“In vain do we cry to this our vastest social problem” I find this quote very sad because he is talking about how it is been almost 50 years since formal slavery ended yet people are still so oppressed it is almost as if they are still slaves.


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“The cold statistician wrote down the inches of progress see here and there” here he is saying that every tiny positive thing that whites do they write down and somehow African-Americans are expected to be happy with this incredibly slow progress towards true freedom.

“But who bear it in the name of an historic race” all the burdens that have been placed on African-Americans are too much to bear but time goes on and somehow they managed to bear it over and over endlessly waiting for a day when they could have to freedom.

•How do his ideas compare with the ideas of Booker T. Washington?

Booker T. Washington, educator, reformer and the most influential black leader of his time who preached a philosophy of self-help, racial solidarity and accommodation. He urged blacks to accept discrimination for the time being and concentrate on elevating themselves through hard work and material prosperity. He believed in education in the crafts, industrial and farming skills and the cultivation of the virtues of patience, enterprise and thrift. This, he said, would win the respect of whites and lead to African Americans being fully accepted as citizens and integrated into all strata of society.