Should blacks compromise, or should blacks protest when facing discrimination and segregation? Should blacks compromise under the leadership of Booker T Washington, or should blacks protest under the leadership of WEB Dubois, who founded the NAACP? This question is a question each black person needs to answer for himself from the days of Jim Crow up to the present day. […]
Booker T Washington’s autobiography, Up From Slavery, offers an interesting glimpse in what it was like to be born a slave, live through the tumultuous Civil War era, and as a young man to experience the consequences blacks faced with the end of Reconstruction when the Ku Klux Klan night-riders enslaved the former black slaves anew through terror by lynching them, burning their bodies and their farm and their churches, suppressing them and denying them justice, even denying them the ability to defend themselves in daylight through the courts. […]
There have been disagreements among the Civil Rights leaders, particularly in the decades following the Redemption era. There was definite tension between those who were followers of Booker T Washington, the accommodationist, and WEB Dubois, the activist. They are like the good cop and bad cop of early Civil Rights history.
These two pioneering black leaders were from two generations. Booker T Washington lived from 1856 through 1915 and was the last black leader who witnessed the emancipation of slaves during the Civil War. WEB Dubois was born later and lived longer, from 1868 through 1963. WEB Dubois earned his PhD in history from Harvard and was part of the Talented Tenth movement who believed that black leaders should seek higher education to better enable them to champion the causes of their race. […]