Booker T Washington, born a slave in Virginia in 1856, grew up to take over the
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Booker T Washington, born a slave in Virginia in 1856, grew up to take over the Tuskegee Institute. He was proud of his work there, modeled after Hampton Institute, saying “wherever our graduates go, the changes which soon begin to appear in the buying of land, improving homes, in education and in high moral character are remarkable…” He eventually became an advisor to the president and was a major force in raising funds for black education. He summed up his life work in saying “my life work is the promotion of education of my race… habits of thrift, skill, intelligence, high moral character, and the gaining of the respect and confidence of their neighbours.”
He did all of this during a time when lynchings were at their worst, black voters in the south were disenfranchised and Jim Crow was in effect. Still, he insisted that confrontation and protest was not the answer. In fact, he found it degrading since it put people in the position of begging for their rights. Rather, he encouraged earning one’s respect in society and relied on education to eventually lead to educational and political advancement. W.E.B DuBois eventually attacked Washington for this stance, labeling him ‘The Great Accommodator” and called for people to take a more confrontational approach and demand rights immediately. Du Bois claimed that, in such an unjust situation, protest was required to express self-respect and, when putting up with injustices, he recommends “when bending to the inevitable … bend with unabated protest”
Discuss the different approaches of these two men, keeping Social Contract theory and Virtue theory in mind. There is no simple answer from either theory, so feel free to discuss and make choices in how you apply the theories.