The point of this comparison is not privilege one over the other, but rather to highlight how their joint contributions attend to the needs of their respective ideologies. Washington had a keen sense that the way in which Americans become fully integrated into society comes through accumulating economic wealth. Through examining the history of other settling groups, this always proved a successful way of raising one's value to a society.
It was through collective economic empowerment to the masses of black people who already had skills in agriculture and other trades that Washington believed all black Americans could achieve and become full members of the society. In the sense that he concerned himself primarily with the economic well-being of the black masses indiscriminantly, Washington was visionary in his approach to addressing black uplift concerns.
Dubois on the other hand, works from an understanding there is more to life than simply acquiring money. His project focuses on educating the talented, encouraging them to become the leaders of their generation. He cites that becoming learned and devoting oneself to advocating for social and political equality is constitutive of developing oneself to one's full potential. In this respect, Dubois represented the views of many leaders and organizations who had long advocated the cause of black America. His was a trickle-down empowerment notion, whereas Washington held concerns for black Americans in an state.
While their approaches were different, their contributions inspired the mood of the moment and enabled the cultural explosion that would take place in the Harlem during the 1920's. As Alain Locke, editor of the anthology, The New Negro would later state, their different philosophical orientations would not be a hindrance to race progress, but a tremendous asset to its growth.
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