Comparison of Ideas: Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois

by Wendy Thowdis

Essential Question

Which of the two views presented below, W.E.B. Du Bois’ or Booker T. Washington’s, offered a better strategy to put our nation on a quicker path to equality for African Americans at the turn of the twentieth century?

Documents

Procedure

Select appropriate excerpts for your level of students and have them answer the questions below. Note that the questions bring the students from the literal to the applied level of thinking. Teaching students about this taxonomy of thinking helps them to engage in historical thinking at a higher level. This is what metacognition is all about!

REMEMBER/KNOWLEDGE

  • Describe the message Booker T. Washington had for African Americans who did not see the importance of friendly relations with white southerners.
  • Name the three things Du Bois said that Washington wanted black people to give up.

UNDERSTAND

  • What are the three “supplemental truths” that Du Bois said “must never be lost sight of”? Infer why Du Bois outlined these three truths.

APPLY

  • Classify the various groups in society to answer the question: Who would support each of these black leaders’ ideas? Briefly state your reasons why. Groups: white industrial workers, black sharecroppers, white tenant farmers, big businessmen, northern blacks

ANALYZE

  • In your opinion, did Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. Du Bois have a better strategy for improving the social and economic conditions of African Americans? Why?

EVALUATE

  • Washington implied that political and social power cannot exist without economic power. Explain why you agree or disagree.

CREATE

  • In recent years there has been a debate over the validity of affirmative action programs, which attempt to aid minority groups and women in the areas of education and employment. What positions do you think Washington and Du Bois would take on this issue? Why?
  • Read the passage from Marcus Garvey. Create a Venn diagram where you “plot” areas of agreement and disagreement among the three African American leaders.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Already have an account?

Please click here to login and access this page.

How to subscribe

Click here to get a free subscription if you are a K-12 educator or student, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program, which provides even more benefits.

Otherwise, click here for information on a paid subscription for those who are not K-12 educators or students.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Become an Affiliate School to have free access to the Gilder Lehrman site and all its features.

Click here to start your Affiliate School application today! You will have free access while your application is being processed.

Individual K-12 educators and students can also get a free subscription to the site by making a site account with a school-affiliated email address. Click here to do so now!

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Why Gilder Lehrman?

Your subscription grants you access to archives of rare historical documents, lectures by top historians, and a wealth of original historical material, while also helping to support history education in schools nationwide. Click here to see the kinds of historical resources to which you'll have access and here to read more about the Institute's educational programs.

Individual subscription: $25

Click here to sign up for an individual subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Upgrade your Account

We're sorry, but it looks as though you do not have access to the full Gilder Lehrman site.

All K-12 educators receive free subscriptions to the Gilder Lehrman site, and our Affiliate School members gain even more benefits!

How to Subscribe

K-12 educator or student? Click here to edit your profile and indicate this, giving you free access, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program.

Not a educator or student? Click here for more information on purchasing a subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Discussion

Support for study of Invisible Man


Add comment

Login or register to post comments