Black Experience


Black Experience Essay, Research Paper

W.E.B DuBois criticized Washington greatly because of his political and educational philosophies. DuBois was an advocate of higher education and talented black leaders. He felt that Washington s advocation for industrial learning ultimately hindered the black individual and placed them in a position to accept a status of a second class citizen. DuBois felt that blacks should strive for their rights and not set them aside for economic gain. Due to increasing struggle to overcome racial barriers, Washington s ideas began to loose influence by the 1910. DuBois along with Marcus Garvey brought in new, more radical ideas.

Despite the fact that Garvey and Dubois presented more radical ideas than those of Washington, they were still political adversaries. DuBois believed that one could work within the framework of American society to create change. Garvey believed that blacks could never obtain justice in a country where the majority of the population was white. He advocated that blacks should consider Africa as their homeland and they should settle there. Garvey founded his Back-to-Africa, upon this philosophy.

Washington, DuBois, and Garvey have highly different viewpoints, but his can be attributed to the fact that they came from very different backgrounds. Booker T. Washington was born a slave in Virginia. After emancipation he worked in what would be considered relatively unskilled labor positions. He later went on to study at Hampton University where he would later teach. The experiences in his life fused with his experience with education would lead him to found Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. In Washington s life he found that hard industrial work and basic education assisted in his success. He used his own life experiences as the greatest model for his ideas on the black race.

DuBois had a very contrasting background to that of Washington. DuBois came from a more privileged background. His life work centered around the improvement of African Americans, but he wanted to do so with the cooperative effort of blacks as well as liberal white. DuBois attracted mostly upper class and intellectual blacks in the beginning of his career. He later shifted his thought to appeal to everyone through emotion. Despite his efforts in the later portion of his career to appeal to everyone, DuBois tended to alienate poorer blacks, who turned to Marcus Garvey s school of thought. Garvey grew up in impoverished Jamaica where he received minimal schooling. He relocated to Latin America and then England where he was exposed to the Pan-African Movement. These ideas were the foundation for his Back to Africa movement in the United States.

The idea of a divisive African American community did not only manifest itself in the opposing opinions of Washington, DuBois and Garvey. It surfaced in the movements and leaders that were the successor of these three men. Martin L. King represented different ideals than those of Malcolm X. Malcolm X had very different view points than those of the likes of Eldridge Cleaver, Stokley Carmichael and Huey Newton. Essentially these other three opposing view points stem from a different time period, but the same type of schisms in the schools of thought arise. These leaders essentially represented and appealed to different groups of black people. The black community has never obtained a victory for all the sectors of its community. Yes, the civil rights movement made great headways for the black community politically, but it did not succeed at addressing the economic conditions of the poor black person. It also did not appeal to the black individual who was concerned about promoting the complete political and economic control of the black community. The civil rights movement was primarily a victory that has led to the prosperity of the middle class blacks of the 1960 s. In the meantime groups like the black under class have been left to sink or swim in America s capitalistic economy which thrives of the very fact that there is an underclass.

Washington s, DuBois and Garvey s viewpoints are clearly representative of perspectives that can be taken on by contemporary African-American in the new millennium. There is no universal black American experience, the sole unifying commonality maybe that all blacks to some degree experience the effects of slavery. Presently in the United States the black community can be divided in to many sections such as upper class, middle class, working class, under class. With in all of these categories, there are further divisions of the African-American that has recent West-Indian, African, Latin and European roots. All of these subsets of the black community have totally different life perspectives.

The black problems of the 1920 s remain unanswered and the continue to resurface continually in the millennium. Black America must realize that it is only through he collective compilation of different strategies like those of Washington, DuBois and Garvey can black America deliver the blow that will be necessary to truly tackle the problems of most of black America.

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