Activists of the 1930's : The Start of A New America
W.E.B. Du Bois & Booker T. WashingtonBy Esther Pototskiy (ALL of Washington) and Drew Shaeffer (ALL of Du Bois)

THE 1930S

(Contributed by Drew)
This time period, although also a time of advancement, was a problematic period for many, especially African Americans. “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line” many considered, due to the constant discrimination against the colored race (Contemporary Heroes and Heroines 1). Physically and socially, those differing from white societies were affected and their lives would never be lead the same again. Violence and objections to things such as intermarriage or integration involving blacks were constantly problems; they were constantly parts of an African American's daily life. They were insulted, hated, and fought against. This segregation made America into a country of standards made low and loss of liberties. Thankfully, people called activists ,felt strongly against these remarks, and dedicated their lives to making the lives of African Americans just as fair as any other Americans'. These people, such as Booker T. Washington and Du Bois, helped make America the place it is today and will stand to be.

Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington

Booker Taliaferro Washington was "born among slaves on the 5th of April, 1856 on James Burrough's farm just outside Hales Ford Virginia" (Schraff 9). He lived with his mother and two brothers and his sister "Amanda [who] was born in 1859" (Schraff 9). However, his childhood was dull and unlike many today because "there was very little play in Booker T. Washington's childhood, other than an occasional run through the fruit trees and willow trees" (Schraff 10). As mentioned earlier, Washington was a slave and he "had no schooling as a child" (Schraff 15). He had a great desire for an education and as a result he was allowed to go to school "for an hour a day during the winter months" ("Booker T. Washington" paragraph 5). Even though he was a slave he achieved many difficult goals throughout his life as an educator.

The following video gives a brief summary of his life.

The life of a slave was hard and often times depressing. Though Washington remained with his family, his work was hard and consisted of work "in coal mines and salt furnaces" (Smock 89). In addition to hard work, slave owners often punished slaves "such as lashings, short rations, and threats to sell members of the slaves' family"; many of these threats and punishments encouraged slaves to work harder each and every day (Davis 503). As life pursued for Booker T. Washington, so did his career of being a great and an encouraging educator. He was often called "the great educator" due to his peaceful and uplifting words during the struggle for African American education (Davis 28). Presently, he is still considered one of America's most influential leaders.

As a child, Booker T Washington was a very brave and he portrayed the trait of a risktaker. When he was about 10 years old, Booker T. Washington decided to go on "a long difficult journey to Hampton Institute" in order to get an education that was hard to obtain (Davis 28). He decided to go on a long and unexpected journey. Without knowing what lied ahead, he had to risk everything in order to get the education he wanted. Washington also showed the IB trait of caring. He cared for the other African Americans that could not get the desired education. He worked hard in order to help others. He created the Tuskegee University which was a school that taught "African Americans in agricultural pursuits" ("Booker T. Washington" paragraph 1). This is one reason he is considered one of the most influential people in American even today.

Booker T. Washington and financial supporters of the Tuskegee University
Booker T. Washington and financial supporters of the Tuskegee University

Health and Social Education Connection to Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington affected many people through his encouraging thoughts and views on African American education. In order to prevent racial problems, Washington often "advised blacks to stop demanding equal rights and simply get along with whites" (Smock 89). African Americans and whites often disputed over racial discrimination, but in order to allow education to pursue for African Americans, Washington advised them to "accept disenfranchisement and social segregation" ("Booker T. Washington" paragraph 3). This decision helped him to cooperate with the hardships that endured during this time era. Though his thirst for education did not all of a sudden appear. As mentioned earlier, he loved education, and when he was 10 he decided to make "a long difficult journey to Hampton Institute" in order to get an education that was hard to obtain (Davis 28). One of the greatest priorities for Booker T. Washington was education but unfortunately he was only allowed "to go to school for an hour a day " and this inclined him fight for education even more for those who did not have to ability to obtain it ("Booker T. Washington" paragraph 5). His environment also influenced him to try and get a good education. Booker T. Washington encouraged African Americans to be patient and cooperative with others for the fight for African American education.

Quotes by Booker T. Washigton
"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else."

"Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life,
rather by the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed."

"The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows;
it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts."

"I shall never permit myself to stoop so low as to hate any man."

"You can't hold a man down without staying down with him."

"Opportunities never come a second time, nor do they wait for our leisure."

W.E.B. Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois, or William Edward Burghardt Du Bois lived from February 23rd, 1868, born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, to August 27, 1963 (Rudwick 379). He lived his life to the fullest, being not only the first in his family to have a complete education but studying at Fisk University and finishing his studies at Harvard (Kranz 46). Education was extremely important to Du Bois seeing that he had the ability to study black history, culture, and human sociality which were important subjects considering his continuation in life as an activist. After his education, he began a successful start by spending half a decade working.
This activist knew where he was headed in life when directing and devoting himself to something he felt strongly against.

W.E.B. Du Bois
Harvard Memorial Hall bust of Du Bois in honor of being the first African American to receive a Ph.D. at this University

Du Bois graduating at Harvard University

While serving as a role in the civil rights movement, Du Bois had many views that separated him from the rest. First of all, Du Bois supported the ways of Pan-Africanism, which is the idea that "all people of African descent have common interest and show work together to conquer prejudice" (Rudwick 372). Very often, he applied these thoughts to his activist work in teaching leadership and inspiring his brethren to find similar interests. He believed helping them find similar strengths would promote them in seeing their potential and power providing them with a sense of leadership. More than often, Du Bois reinforced the fixing of discrimination through speeches. He had always been a very talented speaker and used his ability to get across his activist ideas. Many of his speeches were given in creating the Niagara Movement in 1905 (Rudwick 372). In his second of many speeches during this event he said, "'Until we get [our] rights, we will never cease to protest and assails the ears of America" (Kranz 46). This also helped him when forming the NAAC(National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in 1909 (Rudwick 372). This organization had a goal of "being the political and civil rights of Negroes" ("The Social Equility" paragraph 4).
Another way Du Bois got across his ideas was through writing (Kranz 45). In 1903, he wrote a novel indeed based off his activist views called The Souls of Black Folk (Kranz 45).

Here is an excerpt from The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. This book explains, as he puts it, "the problem of the color line" (Du Bois).

“To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.”
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk
How does it feel to be a problem, is what Du Bois calls it, as it seems to the rest of African Americans that they are. The environment that surrounds the blacks makes them feel so hated, that they are an issue or not meant to be there. Thinking back to slavery, people treated blacks with such distaste as to own them and beat them. It is only nice to say that African Americans were raised to think that they are not humans, but rather an nuisance or alien, which is not at all true. Du Bois seems to be saying that when the white society around them displays their hate and the dominance they believe they have, he says nothing, and moves on, holding his head high.

Early in his career, this novelist "came to believe that intellectualism had to be reinforced by more direct forms of political activity" (Moses paragraph 9). After supporting his views through the Niagara Movement and the NAACP, many people began to notice his greatness and follow him on his journey to equality. In a 1993 biography, Lewis describes Du Bois as a "'premier architect of the civil rights movement in the United States'", which helps to explain how much effort this man put into his civil rights activism ("The Social Equality" paragraph 2).
Du Bois dedicated most of his life to defending his heritage and his brethren's racial pride. After taking so much thought and consideration into the fairness offered to blacks, Du Bois joined the Communist party early in his career, and officially at age ninety-three (Kranz 46). He wrote at this time, "communism- the effort to give all men what they need and to ask of each the best they can contribute- this is the only way of human life" (Kranz 46). As the hatred towards his people refused to be swayed away, Du Bois became convinced that no source of racism would be found in the capitalist system and was a better fit for the lifestyle he desired (Moses paragraph 16). He was so dedicated to activism that he was "arrested and charged with being a communist spy" in 1961 at age eighty-three (Gillis 4). Essentially, in turning over to the communist party, " Du Bois became increasingly hostile toward American society" (Moses paragraph 15).

Du Bois was incredibly committed not to one organization or party, but to his views. He did or joined whatever he felt would best benefit his activist advancements in finding the liberties his people deserved. He dedicated his heart, soul, education, safety, and life to the causes he invested in. This video helps further explain his devotion to being an activist as told by his son, David Du Bois:

Du Bois’ work as a social scientist made him well heard in the lives of all people, whether the supported or opposed racial equality (Moses paragraph 9). As an activist, he based his thoughts on the fact that “white audiences in this period were assured that social equality led to… the eventual downfall of society” (“The Social Equality” 3). He believed that “African Americans must speak out constantly against discrimination”; alas he expressed that to black communities (Rudwick 372). His morals strong, Du Bois encouraged those not accepted to be true to themselves as a decision he made. This choice was founded by his drive to create equality for his ancestors and himself. Besides these decisions, Du Bois was also daring enough to challenge multiple Jim Crow laws and directly attack Washington’s policies. With power in his words and actions, Du Bois posed as an idol to most blacks as he inspired them to strive to be equals in society.

Du Bois was definitely a communicator, demonstrated in the Background Information provided. Constantly, he searched for new ways to express his ideas. When one was not sufficient, he moved to another way of communication. Du Bois started giving speeches very early in his career, wrote his book in 1903, formed the Niagara Movement in 1905, and the NAACP in 1909; and lastly, he joined the communist party in 1961 as an effort to have more freedom with his views. Clearly, Du Bois strived to find the most opportunistic ways of expressing his anti-segregation views and his support of racial equality.
This was the way that Du Bois shaped his life around the ideas of activism and led him to becoming an activist. His ability to communicate in a variety of ways proved to influence people's views on racial equality, and made him successful in changing the world. Being the communicator, movement maker, committee creator, and author he was, Du Bois was able to assist in taking a prime role of the civil rights movement of the 1930s.


Connection To Other Topics of the 1930s

Activists:Great Depression
(Contributed by Drew)

An African American Life During TGD

Look at the link above and you will read about the life an African American led during The Great Depression and New Deal. TGD greatly affected the already struggle of a life a black person led.

Paragraph 1: This paragraph briefly explains how TGD made life worse for the African Americans and how it was even worse than it was for whites. It explains the struggle they faced to find a job, how unemployment was more rampant, and how they were excluded from beneficial programs to the poor and their elimination from soup kitchens.

Paragraph 2: This paragraph helps you to understand how activists and others helped the black society adapt to this economic state through different programs, like the ones Du Bois instituted, except for suitable for this economic situation.

Paragraph 3: Further explaining the revolt and leadership growing in the black community, which could have been instituted in them through Du Bois and Washington's communication of ideas, this paragraph tells you how they began to vote for the Democrat side. They voted in large groups, swaying the votes extravagantly to express themselves, their ideas, and their seeking of freedom.

Paragraph 4: This paragraph shows how the leadership of these brave African Americans paid off when (Franklin D.) Roosevelt, after democratic election, had a black cabinet as advisers to him. This was a big step in the advancement of African American freedom.

Paragraph 5: Again, their hard work pays off when The New Deal greatly benefits their economic status. Roosevelt makes sure that their economic state does not demolish their chance in an American lifestyle and gave them jobs, allowed them to continue youth education, and opened up low cost housing.

Paragraph 6: They were also given a chance to join labor unions.

Connection To Other Wikis

Segregation and Jim Crow Laws
(Contributed by Esther)

WEB Dubois and Booker T Washington both relate to the topic of Segregation and Jim Crow Laws.
Washington and Dubois worked hard in order for African Americans to obtain equal rights. Though this was hard during the 1900s because of the Jim Crow Laws that were in place. As stated in the wiki, they were "laws targeted [towards] African Americans" ("A Time of Pain" paragraph 1). Both Dubois and Washington were against these treatments of African Americans. Many innocent African Americans endured these harships often due to the color of their skin. For example they were not allowed to go to school and often times, this often "caused for African Americans to have worst eduaction that white people" ("A Time of Pain" paragraph 1). Washington worked hard to reverse this and in so he created the Tuskegee University. Dubois on the other hand helped African Americans by giving them a sense of confidence and leaderrship. Both of these activists strived to make improve the life of many African Americans through their leaderships and actions during the duration of Jim Crow Laws and Segregation.

(Contributed by Esther & Drew)

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Kranz, Rachel. The biographical dictionary of Black Americans. New York: Facts on
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Moses, Wilson J. "Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt (1868–1963)." Encyclopedia
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"The Social Equality of Whites and Blacks." Human and Civil Rights: Essential Primary Sources. Ed. Adrienne Wilmoth Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, and K. Lee Lerner. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 319-321. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 11 Apr. 2013

"A Time of Pain." TKAMmilieuWIKI. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2013.

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