Civil Rights Movement Term Paper

This essay has a total of 1407 words and 9 pages.

Civil Rights Movement


For more than a hundred years important Black leaders such as: Douglass, Elliot,
Washington, and Du Bois have been both praised and sensationalized in our (Black) history
books for their individual efforts in the struggle for the civil and political advancement
of Black Americans; but among all others the two most "talked" about during that period
would have to be Booker T. Washington and his fellow activist and most verbal critic
W.E.B. DuBois. Although during the span of their prospective careers both have worked
diligently to secure a place for Black Americans in society, agreeing in context with each
others hope for the future, in methodology at least their difference of opinion as to the
way to go about achieving that goal varied in as many ways as from star to star varies in
its positioning in the universe.

Both valued and villainized during his time for his controversial proposal on the
unification of Black and White America, civil rights activist Booker T. Washington came to
be known as a force to be reckoned with after the presentation of his address at the
"Atlanta Exposition" in 1895. In his proposal, under the guise of wanting to say something
meaningful that would unite the races, Washington encouraged Black Americans to: 1.settle
for low level industrialized education, thereby focusing on the maintenance of the cotton
gin instead of the magnitude of their learning potential, 2. Reconcile with the South in a
grandiose gesture of forgiveness, which is in my opinion never the less over shadowed by
the hundreds of ropes still decorating

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the branches of old southern oaks and dogwoods, and 3. Submit to the loss of all
aspirations toward acquiring civil and political rights, therefore with that move
relinquishing all hope of ever being anything more than they already were.

In proposing that blacks initiate this type of voluntary subservience Washington thought
that with time and hard work Blacks could build their futures through the accumulation of
commerce and with the patronization of private owned businesses in their communities
gradually acquiring the basic civil and political appendages owed them. He felt that it
was more important to be able to earn a living then to be able to say that they were equal
under the law; in other words a jobless man who is able to vote does nothing to contribute
to the good of society if he is unable to first contribute to the preservation of his own
well being. It is clear that Washington thought that what he was proposing would not only
aid in the advancement of Black Americans but would also bring about the unification of
both races, of whoms' joining would elevate the Negro standing from burden to asset, but
without' in their state of ignorance the burden would continue to bare down upon the
weight of th!

e nations shoulders indefinitely.

Although when first received by the Atlanta Exposition Washingtons' proposal was applauded
and accepted by Whites' and too on the surface seemed to be just as duly noted by Blacks'
as well including those Black militants who

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would later recant their support, after the excitement of his address waned Negroes began
to castigate Washington for not standing up for the advancement of Blacks' under the law.
Among those who began to see the error in Washingtons' proposal stood he who was to
eventually become Washingtons' staunchest critic, W.E.B. DuBois.

An advocate for the attainment of civil and political advancement under the law for Black
Americans and also higher education for Black youth, DuBois felt that Washingtons speech
"accepted disenfranchisement and segregation and too settled for a lower level of
education in exchange for white toleration and economic cooperation"; paralleling the old
slave mentality in which Negroes were used to interacting with their White counterparts,
instead of being interpreted as a positive step forward it was in truth a premeditated
leap backward. As such, if that reconciliation in the final analysis led to but another
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