Up From Slavery by Booker Essay

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However, many people believe DuBois wrote his work in direct opposition to Washington's "acceptance" of certain white impositions on blacks, like not being able to vote, or not working for a liberal arts education, but gaining a trade instead. DuBois' main arguments then are that blacks should not "settle" for anything, but fight for equal rights in all areas. In the "Forethought" to the book he writes, "Leaving, then, the white world, I have stepped within the Veil, raising it that you may view faintly its deeper recesses -- the meaning of its religion, the passion of its human sorrow, and the struggle of its greater souls" (DuBois 209). This shows he is writing for a black audience, and he is going to give them clues and questions about their identity, their culture, and their equality, and he wants them to use them to better themselves and stop settling for life within a white-oriented society.

Throughout the book, he talks about the strife between whites and blacks, and the attempt to gain equality and a deeper understanding of black culture. He writes, "The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, -- this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost" (DuBois 215). His arguments are meant to stimulate thought and discussion in the black community, while showing them, as Washington did, that just about anything is attainable through hard work and education.

Education is at the heart of DuBois' arguments about blacks and success. He writes, "The advocates of the higher education of the Negro would be the last to deny the incompleteness and glaring defects of the present system" (DuBois 277). DuBois is arguing for change in the entire social system of the country, while Washington really argues for blacks to "get along" with whites as best they can. DuBois is one of the first real black writers to incite blacks to fight for their rights and equality, and he sees education and educational reform as one of the keys to that independence.
The author's arguments are extremely compelling and persuasive, partly because he is so emphatic about his beliefs and his values. He shares them with the reader to make the reader sit up and take notice, and he writes in a scholarly and intelligent way, indicating his own education and intelligence. Perhaps the most compelling part of the book is when he relates stories of prejudice, unfairness, and prejudice, such as the white man closing down the black school, and the $5 ticket to enter the theater, when it really did not cost that much for whites. He eloquently shows what the blacks faced at this time, how unfair it was, and how ineffectual many blacks felt in an unfair society. It makes the reader want change, and that was the ultimate purpose of this book.

DuBois' writing clearly illustrates the historic aspects of his work. Both authors wrote their books at a time when society was changing, but blacks were still not considered a viable part of society. He writes, "Again, we may decry the color-prejudice of the South, yet it remains a heavy fact. Such curious kinks of the human mind exist and must be reckoned with soberly" (DuBois 272). This indicates the prejudice and hatred that still existed in the South, and only hints at what blacks had to face at the time. The fear of lynching if they overstepped their bounds, Ku Klux Klan raids, poverty, little chance for education or advancement, and hatred and misunderstanding from those around them. It was a low time in black history, but both of these books show that blacks were trying to make their lives better, and they understood that education and equality were two things to strive and fight for to help them succeed.


DuBois, W.E.B., and Washington, Booker T. Three….....

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