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Racial Integration Essay

Racial integration is an important topic. It was especially important during the 1800s when slavery played a big role in the Americas. Even after slavery was legally abolished in the late 1800s and early 1900s, prejudice and racism were still common. A lot of racial disputes went on between blacks and whites. If these disputes between both races would have continued the way they were going, the United States economy would most likely be less prosperous.

It would be less prosperous because without the help of the Negro race lots inventions that have been contributed from them would not exist, and with out their help there would be a huge demand for labor. During the late 1800s there were two important gentlemen, Booker T. Washington and W. E. B Du Bois, who were aware of the racial dilemma that was taking place. Booker T. Washington and W. E. B Du Bois were men in favor of eliminating racial disputes, but had different approaches on how to achieve them.

Both men had differences and similarities in terms of their expression of ideas about racial integration: Washington had a gradual ideology while Du Bois possessed an immediate one. Regardless of their differences in ideology their accomplishments in racial integration has been beneficial in three main areas: education, civil equality and political rights. In Washington’s “The Atlanta Exposition Address”, Washington talks about how crucial it is for the nation’s well being that both races work together instead of being against each other. He tates how without the cooperation of both races businesses would have a tough time succeeding, considering that the black community of the south accounts for one third of the south’s entire population (Washington 3). Washington states that by accomplishing this racial integration a new era of industrial success would be at hand. It is through his address at the exposition in Atlanta that Booker T. Washington becomes famous and gives his ideas about integration, how it should be done, and what favorable outcomes will come from it through his address.

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In his address he explains how the white race is willing to help blacks progress but that the black community is doubtful and is hesitant to let them offer a helping hand. Washington illustrates his idea through an analogy of a two vessels; one that is in distress and the other that is offering help to the distressed vessel. In his analogy the distressed vessel represents the black race while the helping vessel is the white race. The distressed vessel’s crew is dying of thirst and so the helping vessel ask them to “cast down your bucket were you are” (Washington 2) in order to give them water.

Although Washington’s ideas are conveyed with noble intentions, Du Bois, along with other people find flaws and shortcomings in Washington’s beliefs that through a lot of hard work the southern black community will be able to achieve social equality. In Du Bois’s essay, “Of Mr. T. Washington and Other”, he acknowledges Washington as a man with great intentions for both races, but Du Bois nonetheless disagrees with the methods Washington is using to accomplish his goal.

Du Bois starts by attacking Washington’s originality, saying that his ideas actually come from the Free Negroes from 1830 to war time and from the American Missionary Association. Du Bois then states that most of Washington’s rise in fame and popularity was based in part by luck. Du Bois says that such is due to the time period in which Washington came up with such an idea. This Du Bois states was a time when “the nation was ashamed of having bestowed so much sentiment on Negroes, and was concentrating its energies on dollars” (Du Bois 1).

The Climax of Du Bois’s essay is reached when he accuses Washington of the following: “the disfranchisement of the negro, the legal creation of a distinct status of civil inferiority for the Negro and the steady withdrawal of aid from institutions for the higher training of the negro” (5). There are certain similarities between Washington’s and Du Bois viewpoint. One of the most important and obvious is that they are both in favor of the integration of both the black and the white race.

Another similarity is that, in both essays, Washington is considered an influential popular leader for the black community that is in favor of a great plan to integrate the races. Another important similarity is that both revolutionaries’ opinions are not common for the time. In Washington’s case many of fellow black Americans did not like what was doing because they felt he was betraying them. While Du Bois gives the reader multiple examples on how experts agree on his believes, still a vast majority of the black community is in favor of Washington’s believes.

The major difference around which the whole argument revolves is that Washington is trying to achieve racial integration through industry, religion, and commerce while giving up according to Du Bois, “first political power and second insistence of civil rights. ” Education and integration are symbiotic to one another. Both Washington and Du Bois saw importance, but differed in the priority of education for the Negroes. Education is “the knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process” (dictionary. com).

Integration is defined as “the bringing of people of different racial or ethnic groups into unrestricted and equal association, as in society or an organization; desegregation. ” Education and integration are symbiotic because of several factors. One factor is that an educated person understands the reasons why integration is a necessity; this is because both the white as the black race have a lot to offer one another. Integration is important to education because of the cultural diversity that each race shares with each other.

Integration will only help in education by expanding the spectrum of knowledge with regards to ethnic backgrounds and cultural heritage. Washington has a gradual approach in reaching racial integration and economic prosperity. He mentions how blacks should start from the bottom because they are inexperienced. How they should “learn to dignify and glorify common labor and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life” (Washington 2).

Washington strategy is for the black race to obtain more physical jobs; jobs such as in “agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service and in the profession” (2) Through jobs Washington believed that Negroes would get involved in the economy thus slowly becoming incorporated. Are more immediate method is used by Du Bois. Du Bois argues more in favor towards education. He states that blacks should receive proper education so they can get integrated in the economy.

He encourages blacks to go to colleges and universities to get a higher education. Du Bois believes in the proper training of the Negro in order to fulfill the Negroes goal of economic success. The second point is social equality. Social equality is “of or relating to human society and its modes of organization in likeness or sameness in quality, power, status, or degree” (dictionary. com). Social equality is related to integration in the way that if social equality is not obtained first of all then complete integration is highly unlikely.

Washington states that social equality is at the time of lesser importance because the goal of being integrated in the economy through the acquisition of jobs is more important. Washington comments on how valuable the black race is towards the economy. He also states that no race that contributes to its country can be to shut off for to long before being able to take an active role and have a word in society. Washington therefore believes that social equality will be reached in the long run as a consequence of the hard work and perseverance demonstrated by the Negro race.

He also states that even though that all privileges of the law should and must be bestowed upon the black race that it is immensely more important for them to be prepared for the exercising of such privileges and not so much worried in their acquisition at the time. Washington’s believe of how it is more important for labor at the moment than social equality is emphasized by the following quote: “the opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house”(3).

Du Bois states that without the incentive of social equality it is much harder for the Negro to strive to become more for himself. Du Bois believes that blacks can achieve their social equality through such things as civic duties and political voting rights like voting. In conclusion both revolutionaries give a great deal of substantial information supporting their projects for racial integration. It is with the use of analogies and examples from multiple people that Washington conveys his message toward the public.

Although a big setback in his persuasion is evident when he leaves the reader a gap concerning what will happen, or what does he plan to due about white northerners that are still very prejudice during that time and whom will stop at nothing to make sure Washington’s dream be not accomplished. One of Du Bois shortcomings is that he does not adequately acknowledge Washington’s methods, or adequately refute them. All in all both viewpoints are interesting and fairly persuasive.

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