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H340 Paper 1 - Emily Blum EDUC H340 First Paper Booker T...

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Emily Blum EDUC H340 First Paper Booker T. Washington & W.E.B. DuBois: The Aim of Education for the Black Population The issues that were raised through the notable debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois focus on the problems with Negro leadership prior to the turn of the 20 th century. During this time, the problem regarding Negro leadership was obvious; how to obtain first-class citizenship for the colored American. Overcoming this obstacle was the source of extensive disputes among Negro leaders. Common outcomes suggested that Negroes resort to peaceful, democratic means to change their unpleasant circumstances; encouraging them to become skilled workers, in hope that if their work became essential, then rights would eventually be granted to them. Some exercise more violent actions in fight for their civil rights, but most agreed that resolution would come in time. Near the turn of the century, Negro leadership was divided among two tactics for racial equality, the economic strategy and the political strategy. The most heated controversy at this time exploded between two remarkable black men; Booker T. Washington, the major spokesman for the gradualist economy strategy, and W.E.B. DuBois, the primary advocate of the gradualist political strategy. Washington’s philosophy of education developed as a result of the circumstances he had experienced in acquiring his own education. Washington believed, “…what our people most needed was to get a foundation in education, industry, and property…” (Washington, p. 97). In attempt to understand his standpoint, it is important to keep in mind where he came from, and what he had been through. The principles that Washington emphasized were ones that he initiated while enrolling at Hampton. Such as the importance of hygiene; as impractical as it sounds, basic hygiene became a critical aspect of what was taught at Tuskegee. Washington notes that, of all he learned, “I sometimes feel that almost the most valuable lesson I got at the Hampton Institute was in the use and value of the bath” (Washington, p. 94). This was a man who was less concerned with learning from a book, than he was focused on learning how to function and become successful in mainstream society. He felt that, “…in the present condition of the negro race in this country, there is a need of something more” (Thornbrough, pg. 41). In teaching his students to function and succeed in society, Washington sought to show them how to be self-reliant. Maureen Stocker describes this self-reliance as more than the capability to merely ‘get by in life’, it created understanding. In addition to learning how to do something, he taught his students how to problem solve; initiating key tools necessary for critical thinking. Contrary to critic’s claims, the industrial education method was not about teaching the simple technique to build a labor force; his method
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ensured training in the skills that would lead his students on the path of finding a sense of knowledge and understanding in the ways of the world outside of a textbook.
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