Best Historical Figures’ Ideas

Many people including philosophers and activists have dealt boldly with the issues that have always been faced by Black Americans. Some of the most prominent figures who helped fight for Black Americans include Marcus Garvey, W.E. B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington. Based on the obstacles they faced, some of these philosophers and activists’ ideas would move Black Americans forward at the beginning of the 20th century.

Booker T. Washington was known for his fight for the African American slaves’ rights. Among his famous accomplishment was his ability to rise from poverty and slavery to become a celebrated scholar and educator among the white majority. His most popular ideas include disagreement with black militancy and the approval of segregation. He accepted the Southern white people’s demand for racial segregation. On his education views, he wanted Americans to value and respect industrial education as it was not simply a tool to assist one with the English language, but it helped in making people’s lives attractive and endurable.  According to his ideas, freedom from slavery did not mean freedom from hard work. He therefore, insisted that his people needed to celebrate that they used their hands to complete tasks. He also supported an industrial curriculum that involved things like tailoring, farming, and carpentry as it could help black people to be employed and earn their living.  One of his philosophies was that giving to the community that one resided  in was good as the community would give back ten times what it was given. To the blacks in the South, he believed that they needed to make themselves vital in agricultural training, and this worked as it helped them in the end.


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W.E.B. Du Bois too was a well-educated black American. He believed in classical education and was therefore against Booker’s ideas on vocational training as he believed that blacks were not supposed to focus on vocational skills alone. An educational class of leadership was needed to make sure that blacks were not stripped away because of the legal loopholes. He trusted that in history, every class of people had a talented few who would help the masses in improving their societal statuses. He believed that blacks could only excel economically only in case of social and political equality. Using these ideas, he spoke against laws that inhibited black equality such as the Jim Crow laws. He therefore, joined others in fighting against black American discrimination in the society, and only stopped when he came to the realization that black Americans had come to accept their position in the American society. However, in his later years, he lost his faith on whether African Americans would one day come to experience total equality in the US.

While these two activists were born and raised in America, Marcus Garvey was not. He was born and raised in Jamaica but in a similar situation to the previously discussed activists. He became aware of black and white racial segregation in his younger years although he claims to have had a few white friends. His first experience with racism was when he was called a ‘nigger’ and his white friends barred from seeing him. He became known for being an accomplished politician, writer, and printer in his years and eventually introduced anti-colonial thinking in his country. At one time during his life, he left Jamaica for other places to see the way blacks were treated. He traveled to Central America and England and came to the conclusion that black people were treated the same way. He therefore, started initiating his philosophies and activist ideas which were aimed at bringing together the black community and promoting the spirit of love and the pride of their race. He also worked hard to reclaim its respect because he saw it as a fallen race. He hoped that he would establish Christian worship, which was a conscientious issue among the native African tribes together with promoting education by building secondary schools, colleges, and universities for his people to further their education. His ideas were thus centered on the sole idea of uniting the black race like the way the Jews were held together by their religion.

Among the three activists and philosophers, the one who would have best led African Americans in the 20th century was Washington. The judgment is based on his experiences with race and slavery, unlike Dubois and Garvey. As a Southerner, he was familiar with the actual treatment of black people. He was therefore, speaking as a person who had been affected by racism and segregation and not someone who had learned from other people’s experiences. In fact, his philosophies and ideas seemed more popular than those of others.

Apart from his experiences, his solutions were workable as he was against the black violence, which is still seen among blacks today. The same violence that Washington came to disagree with has plagued his race as they have turned against themselves at this time in history. His emphasis on education and giving to the society were also more valid solution than those of some of the philosophers like Du Bois.

In conclusion, among philosophers like Du Bois and Harvey, Washington’s ideas and experiences seem the most valid and capable of taking African Americans through the 20th century. The reason behind it is because he experienced racism and slavery as someone who was born in the south. His ideas on education also helped some black people not to forget that his views were widely accepted in the black community.

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