Unit 3

Understand the views and goals of the two best-known black leaders of the turn-of-the-twentieth century U.S.:  Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois.  You will do this by writing an editorial supporting one of the men from a specific historical perspective.  This assignment will help you practice the skills of comparison, analyzing evidence, and argumentation, as well as become more familiar with black history and progressivism in the early twentieth century.

Documents for analysis: 

Booker T. Washington, “Atlanta Compromise” (1895), http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/ .

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W.E.B. DuBois, “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others” (1903), http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/40 (also, see the excerpts that are available in this submodule).

Task:

  • First, read both documents carefully, along with pp. 617-619 in the textbook.
  • Second, create a persona and perspective from which to write.  Some suggestions are:
    • a black southern sharecropper.
    • a white Atlanta businessman.
    • a black, female domestic worker in Atlanta.
    • a black 17-year-old living in Harlem.
  • Write an editorial (300-400 words, or more than 1 page and less than 2) in support of DuBois OR Washington from your persona to one of the following newspapers:
    • Chicago Defender – the leading black newspaper of the day.
    • Atlanta Journal – Atlanta daily newspaper; championed the “New South”; very conservative on race.
    • Atlanta Independent – black weekly newspaper published in Atlanta.

In your editorial, include

  • a brief introduction (2-3 sentences) of your character
  • state at least two (2) reasons why you (as your character) support your chosen leader
  • and at least one (1) reason you believe the other leader’s ideas are flawed.
  • Bring in at least one direct quote from each primary source.

In other words, you are comparing the two men, but ultimately supporting one over the other as having the best vision for black Americans, ca. 1903.

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