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He urged blacks to accept discrimination for the time being and concentrate on elevating themselves through hard work and material prosperity. Du Bois, a towering black intellectual, scholar and political thinker (1868-1963) said no--Washington's strategy would serve only to perpetuate white oppression.
Their opposing philosophies can be found in much of today's discussions over how to end class and racial injustice, what is the role of black leadership, and what do the 'haves' owe the 'have-nots' in the black community. Washington, educator, reformer and the most influentional black leader of his time (1856-1915) preached a philosophy of self-help, racial solidarity and accomodation.
Du Bois was a leader of the first Pan-African Conference in London in 1900 and the architect of four Pan-African Congresses held between 19. As the editor of , he encouraged the development of black literature and art and urged his readers to see “Beauty in Black.” Third, Du Bois’s black nationalism is seen in his belief that blacks should develop a separate “group economy” of producers’ and consumers’ cooperatives as a weapon for fighting economic discrimination and black poverty.
This doctrine became especially important during the economic catastrophe of the 1930s and precipitated an ideological struggle within the NAACP.
However, they sharply disagreed on strategies for black social and economic progress.
This, he said, would win the respect of whites and lead to African Americans being fully accepted as citizens and integrated into all strata of society. In addition, he argued that social change could be accomplished by developing the small group of college-educated blacks he called "the Talented Tenth:" "The Negro Race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men.
Washington among many black intellectuals, polarizing the leaders of the black community into two wings—the “conservative” supporters of Washington and his “radical” critics.
Following this fruitful decade at Atlanta University, he returned once more to a research position at the NAACP (1944–48).
This brief connection ended in a second bitter quarrel, and thereafter Du Bois moved steadily leftward politically.
Upon leaving the NAACP, he returned to Atlanta University, where he devoted the next 10 years to teaching and scholarship.
In 1940 he founded the magazine (1935) was an important Marxist interpretation of Reconstruction (the period following the American Civil War during which the seceded Southern states were reorganized according to the wishes of Congress), and, more significantly, it provided the first synthesis of existing knowledge of the role of blacks in that critical period of American history. In this brilliant book, Du Bois explained his role in both the African and the African American struggles for freedom, viewing his career as an ideological case study illuminating the complexity of the black-white conflict.