Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. DuBois

Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. DuBois

Author: Sasha Sickel

To understand the impact of Jim Crow laws on the post-Reconstruction South 

To compare and contrast the lives and ideologies of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B.DuBois

To evaluate whose position seems more plausible and justify with evidence

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Please go through each section (in order) below. Check Google Classroom for the accompanying assignment where you are to answer questions for each section.

Background Info

Read This Before Moving Onto the Next Section:

  • Reconstruction 1865-1877: many legal advances for African Americans (i.e., 13,14, 15 Amendments; African Americans elected to office in South).
  •  But after Compromise of 1877, North pulls its troops out and white-supremacist Democrats takeover.


  •  Most African Americans became sharecroppers.
  •  Laws put in place to prevent African Americans from voting (e.g., poll tax,literacy).
  • KKK had support of local officials and terrorized anyone who voted Republican.
  •  Lynching became a widespread form of terrorism against African Americans, especially those who gained an economic/ social foothold.
  • Jim Crow segregation: separate=equal upheld (declared legal) in Plessy v. Ferguson (Supreme Court Case) (1896).
  • Against this historical context, two leaders emerged: Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois 

Section 1: What Were Jim Crow Laws?

Read This First: 

Jim Crow was the name of the racial caste system which operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Jim Crow was more than a series of rigid anti-black laws. It was a way of life. Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens. Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-black racism.

Many Christian ministers and theologians taught that whites were the Chosen people, blacks were cursed to be servants, and God supported racial segregation. Craniologists, eugenicists, phrenologists, and Social Darwinists, at every educational level, supported the belief that blacks were innately intellectually and culturally inferior to whites.

Pro-segregation politicians gave eloquent speeches on the great danger of integration: the mongrelization of the white race. Newspaper and magazine writers routinely referred to blacks with derogatory names; and worse, their articles reinforced anti-black stereotypes. Even children's games portrayed blacks as inferior beings. All major societal institutions reflected and supported the oppression of blacks.

The Jim Crow system was based on the following beliefs or rationalizations: whites were superior to blacks in all important ways, including but not limited to intelligence, morality, and civilized behavior; sexual relations between blacks and whites would produce a mongrel race which would destroy America; treating blacks as equals would encourage interracial sexual unions; any activity which suggested social equality encouraged interracial sexual relations; if necessary, violence must be used to keep blacks at the bottom of the racial hierarchy.

Go Here: 

Click on the link below and look around the different interactive maps. Look at the different ways that Jim Crow Laws affected the South -

On your sheet - please complete the questions regarding this website. 


(click on the topic on the left, then click on a state on the map for more information in that state) Please make sure you click on every topic. 

Source: "What Was Jim Crow?" What Was Jim Crow. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2014.

Who was Booker T. Washington?

Before you Read - ​Define the following words (put responses on Google Doc in Google Classroom) : 

1. Conciliatory 

2. Acquiesce 

3. Espouse 

4. Paradox 

Read the following information about Booker T. Washington 




Booker T. Washington Mini-Biography

Section 3: Who was W.E.B. DuBois?

Define the Following Words: 

1. Scathingly 

2. Cadre 

3. Disillusionment 

Read the following article: 



W.E.B. DuBois Mini Biography

W.E.B. DuBois - Talented Tenth

Please watch the following video on W.E.B. DuBois' Philosophy: 



Rivalry between Booker T. and DuBois