Paper: An Introduction to the History of African-American Community in the United States

Booker T. Washington, A. Philip Randolph, Marcus Garvey, and W.E.B. Du Bois were all influential African-American leaders in the early to mid nineteen hundreds. But each leader had their own distinct way of uplifting the African-American community to the same status of the white community.Garvey, a persuasive and intelligent speaker, urged African-Americans to come together as a family and return to their ancestral land of Africa. Garvey encouraged blacks to migrate to Africa so they could start and rise to their own economic independence. While Washington an American educator, advised blacks to uplift themselves through educational attainments and economic advancement. He influenced blacks to stop demanding equal rights and simply get along with whites. Washington's willingness to accept segregation and inequality in exchange for economic advancement caused him to receive major criticism from other black leaders, notably W. E. B. Du Bois of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Du Bois objected to Washington's strategy of accommodating and compromising with whites in both politics and education. Du Bois perceived this strategy as accepting the denial of black citizenship rights. He also criticized Washington's emphasis on the importance of industrial education for blacks, which Du Bois felt came at the expense of higher education. Randolph, a believer in radicalism, felt the solution to discrimination was integration with the white community. During Randolph's life he organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the first march on Washington. Each one of these four leaders had great ideas for improving the African-American race, but only Du Bois and Randolph's ideas would have had a positive effect on the black community. Randolph and Du Bois saw it necessary to have equality with whites to be able to succeed in America. Garvey's view would have caused even more separation and hatred between the black and white communities. While Washington's view of just accept and get along, would have kept blacks inferior to whites and would have kept them at the bottom of the working class. ...