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afam paper - Slavery dates back to the early years of the...

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Slavery dates back to the early years of the bible and lasted well into the 19 th century. Slavery had a large impact on the lives of both blacks and whites in the United States. Two prominent former slaves, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, were able to share there experiences within their respective texts. These texts, Up From Slavery and The Souls of Black Folk unveiled untold personalities, political views, philosophies, and more, of each author on which some these major concepts they agreed on, and others, they did not. In Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery , Washington focused on the importance of education, dignity of work, the affects of slavery, and the relationships between races. The importance of education influenced Washington at an early age. This can be seen when he states “The picture of several dozen boys and girls in a schoolroom engaged in study made a deep impression upon me, and I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this way would be about the same as getting into paradise.” 1 Washington expressed his desire for education through his creation of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. His goal for this school was to instill industrial education in blacks. He believed that blacks’ skilled labor was their source of power, and the failure to use it was not acceptable. He did not believe that blacks should embrace liberal ideas (math and science) because this did not reflect their industrial capabilities (Lecture). Washington also related slavery to the importance of industrial education. He justified slavery by saying it was a training ground for industrial development because he believed that slaves in Africa did not work at all (Lecture). This belief was a white idea of African Societies. Palmer states, “he [Booker T. Washington] was intimately familiar with the ways of the white Southerner.” 2 The fact that Washington felt “blacks had to work hard to convince they were deserving of the full rights of citizenship” 3 supported his large focus on industrial education. Booker T. Washington often tried to gain the whites approval. This drastically changed Washington’s public perception of blacks. Although this was the case, he stated that his life and experiences were not any different from the lives and experiences of other former slaves: "The early years of my life, which were spent in the little cabin," he wrote, "were not very different from those of other slaves." 4 He also generalized his beliefs of blacks to the entire nation of blacks, not taking into account that every black had different views and values of certain issues. This is seen when he stated that slaves were not upset at their masters for the institution of slavery, “…I think it will found to be true that there are few instances, either in slavery or freedom, in which a member of my race has been known to betray a specific trust.” Many of the documented accounts written by slaves in history disprove Washington’s belief. This is one of the many
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This note was uploaded on 07/19/2010 for the course AFAM NA taught by Professor G during the Spring '10 term at UGA.

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afam paper - Slavery dates back to the early years of the...

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