Circumstances alter cases.

            Basically, Both of Booker Washington and W.E.B Du Bois have same goals such as bring better life to the Negro through education, insistence on civil rights and reduce race-prejudices . However, their program heading to different direction due to their childhood, background and life experiences.

Washington was born into slavery in Virginia as the son of Jane, an African-American slave. After emancipation, she moved the family to West Virginia to join her husband Washington Ferguson. As a young man, Washington worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and attended college at Wayland Seminary (now Virginia Union University). In 1881, he was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. As a freeman, he worked hard to gain his education. Washington said“ It has been necessary for the Negro to learn the difference between being worked and working–to learn that being worked meant degradation, while working means civilization; that all forms of labor are honorable, and all forms of idleness disgraceful.”, simply because he experienced the difference. He did not deny the importance of literature but more worry about the basic skill the Negro needs as a freeman so he quoted some piece from Huntington” Many a mother and sister have worked and slaved, living upon scanty food, in order to give a son and brother a ’liberal education,’ and in doing this have built up a barrier between the boy and the work he was fitted to do.”

Du Bois born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which had a majority European American community, treated Du Bois generally well. He attended the local integrated public school and played with white schoolmates.When Du Bois decided to attend college, the congregation of his childhood church, the First Congregational Church of Great Barrington, raised the money for his tuition. After completing graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. No wonder he would said”The worker must work for the glory of his handiwork, not simply for pay; the thinker must think for truth, not for fame”, or “The foundations of knowledge in this race, as in others, must be sunk deep in the college and university if we would build a solid, permanent structure”.

Circumstances alter cases.Washington encouraged the Negro pay more attention on skill training, not as a slave worked but as a freeman learn to work.Du Bois’s terminology reflected his opinion that the elite of a nation, both black and white, was critical to achievements in culture and progress. The Education System should be vary with the environment change. But to teach students in accordance with their aptitude should always keep in all educator’s mind.


What would happened if these two great men have another’s background? Will they still say the same thing and fight for the same goal?

Do you think their theory still fit in the education system now?

One thought on “Circumstances alter cases.”

  1. Wow Jane, incredibly interesting blog post. I also found the contrast between Washington and Du Bois stemmed from the difference in the two’s upbringing’s. Washington working thinking and learning from his position in the hostile as ever, Southern United States, advocating for this ideas of “working”. There’s obvious success found in this method as there are numerous and prominent A&M style colleges that preach his very philosophy. Du Bois growing up in the “enlightened” Northern States, had a different view. The view was more complex, more far reaching. Our younger years are more susceptible times to gain values and beliefs that lay the groundwork for the rest of our lives. Therefore it is no surprise the two held such polar opposite views. And there is no doubt that if they had different upbringings they would have held differently.

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