Great Discrimination and Hardship

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After the civil war, African Americans were faced with great discrimination and hardship. Newly freed slaves had to face a society that once saw and treated them as nothing more then property. During this period 3 figures immerged as prevailing leaders, all bound to the cause of civil rights for blacks in America. Although they held varying strategies in regard to the greatest way for blacks to improve their situations. While their approaches may have contrasted, both of these exceptional men had in common goal in the improvement of the black neighborhoods, communities and general public.

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Booker T Washington stressed the value of education. Unfortunately, due to social segregation at the time, the availability for education of blacks was very limited. He motivated African Americans to nulify insistence for civil rights, just for the a while, to work and focus on heightening themselves through consentrated work and effort. He felt that the best way for blacks to sustain their future was to demonstrate themselves as productive and beneficial members of society, and then because of this white American’s wouldn’t be able to withhold the rights they’re entitled to which would lead blacks to authentic equality. This shows in document one, when he states “It is the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunity.” He was implying that they have to start somewhere and education was the starting point. Not to over think, but start one thing at a time. Washington spent his early childhood in slavery and he describes having to rise up from the position as a slave to the difficulties and obstacle’s he has to overcome to get an education. He emphasized this idea throughout because as a slave, he had been denied the right to learn. So following emancipation, he felt that establsihed education was the best way to recover living standards.

DuBois believed in what he called the “talented tenth” of the black population who, through their intelligence, would rise up to lead the blacks. Unlike Washington, he felt that equality with the whites was of the topmost importance. He believed that African Americans should have the opportunity of better education, and should fight for their rights rather instead of just waiting for those rights to be granted after economic equality had been achieved. In document 2 he states “if this unusual and dangerous development is to progress amid peace and order, mutual respect and growing intelligence, it will call for social surgery at once the delicatest and nicest in modern history.” He’s basically trying to say if we want a peaceful and orderly society then we need mutual respect and education for all races.

Woodson felt that African Americans were being brain-washed to believe they deserved the inferior role assigned to him by the dominant race. Woodson shows this in document three when he states “he teaches the negro that he has no worth-while past, that his race has done nothing significant since the beginning of time, and that there is no evidence that he will ever achieve anything great.” As well as “if you teach the negro that he is to accomplish as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race.” Woodson developed a concept that he called “mis-education”. This concept highlighted on the education system’s downfall to present accurate African American History in schools. most history books gave little or no acknowledgment to the black men in America, some of them just contained occasional mention to “Negroes” but these primarily in minor roles, more or less sub-human. This then deprived the whole race of learning their heritage. He explains this circle that results from mis-educated individuals, then continuing to teach and mis-educate others.

In conclusion although all three of these men were devoted to cause of civil rights for African Americans, they all had different views on how to go about improving the situation. For example Washington stressed for people to set aside discrimination and focus on education first. DuBois disagreed with Washington and thought that equality with whites was at the topmost importance. Lastly Woodson felt that because of the negative stigma of blacks caused them to not be productive members of society, and that we needed to appreciate there importance more and educate them on all the contributions they’ve made.

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Great Discrimination and Hardship. (2019, Mar 04). Retrieved from