W.E.B. Du Bois: An Encyclopedia

By Gerald Horne; Mary Young | Go to book overview
Save to active project

A

ACCOMMODATION VERSUS STRUGGLE

W.E.B. Du Bois was well known for his advocacy of struggle against race prejudice in dramatic contrast with Booker T. Washington's policy of accommodation to the structures of segregation. The two great leaders have become icons of radical versus conservative approaches to social change in twentiethcentury African American culture. In his own time, Du Bois was at first cautious in raising his disagreements, because he recognized Washington's leadership skills at Tuskegee Institute and his remarkable ability to communicate publicly with black and white alike. While Washington's achievements were impressive, especially in light of rigid and worsening racism, the younger Du Bois could not long maintain his quiet deference.

After earning his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1895, Du Bois honed his sociological understanding of African American culture and his philosophical outrage with white racism during an early career of writing and teaching at the University of Pennsylvania and Atlanta University. By 1903, with publication of The Souls of Black Folk, his clarion call to African American pride and activism, Du Bois blasted Washington for acquiescing to white racism. Du Bois astutely sensed that whatever progress the accommodationist program could produce would be stymied by the rise of avowedly white supremacist politics in the years around 1900.

Much of their different stances on the race question grew from their differing backgrounds. The Southerner Washington was born a slave and had learned to get along with the dominant race as a survival technique. Du Bois was born in Massachusetts, a descendant of a long line of free blacks, and he greeted his first recognition of prejudice as a rude shock to his assumptions of human equality and his lofty ambitions as a bright young man in a mostly white community. Washington was willing to accept separate and inferior treatment

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
W.E.B. Du Bois: An Encyclopedia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 254

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?