Segregation of African Americans had been present in the United States since the early 1600s. In the midnineteenth century, African American leaders have propose d many different theories and methods to address the injustices posed by the white majority o n to the black population. The individuals who led the fight against this discrimination were Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois, who took completely different approaches in order to deal with this unfair treatment of African Americans. Booker T.
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Washington, educa tor, reformer and the most influential black leader Of his time (18561915) preached a philosoph y of selfhelp, acial solidarity and accommodation. Washington took a more gradual appro ach toward black equality. He urged blacks to accept discrimination for the time being and conc entrate on elevating themselves through hard work and material prosperity. He believed in education in the crafts, industrial and farming skills and the cultivation ofthe virtues of pat ience, enterprise and thrift.
This, he said, would win the respect of whites and lead to African A mericans being fully accepted as citizens and integrated into all strata of society. W. E. B. Du Bo is, a towering black intellectual, scholar and political thinker (1 8681963) said nowashington’ strategy would serve only to perpetuate white oppression. DuBois took a more immed iate stance. He advocated political action and a civil rights agenda.
In addition, he argued that social change could be accomplished by developing the small group of collegeeducated blac ks he called “ the Talented Tenth. ” Despite their differences, both Booker T. Washington an d W. E. g. DuBois took steps to improve their fellow African Americans lives.