African American Writers
The African- American Community has been blessed with a multitude of scholars.

Two of those scholars include Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du bois. Both of
these men, had a vision for African- Americans. They wanted to see the
advancement of their race of people. These great leaders just had different
viewpoints as to how this should be accomplished. Mr. Washington’s viewpoints
are based on his own personal experience and understanding of politics. Mr. Du
bois’ viewpoints came from his knowledge of the importance of education and
its ability to break down barriers of color. Washington and Du bois wanted to
see the advancement of the African-American people. The question was "How
could they advance?" There is a twelve-year age difference amongst the two
gentlemen. I could see the difference that a decade could make in the mindsets
of the two gentlemen. Washington is the elder of the two. He was apart of the
slavery system not merely a product of it. He was a slave who was freed. A man
without neither a history, nor a surname to call his own. Du bois was born into
a system of freedom. He never experienced having a master or the lack of freedom
to move about as he pleased. He came into the world and saw problems. He
didn’t see the long path that had been traveled to get them to the point that
they were at currently. Therefore these men saw different ways of accomplishing
their goals as a race. In Booker T. Washington’s autobiography Up From Slavery
, he shares with the reader an abundance of information as to how he became the
man he was. He was born on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia. At the
earliest moments of his life, he was a laborer, cleaning the yards, carrying
water, and taking corn to the mills. Booker T. Washington talks about the burden
of freedom. He talks about the attitudes of the slaves towards their masters
after emancipation. When the slaves learned they were free there was a feeling
of excitement, followed by one of the reality that they were now responsible for
providing for their families, shelter, food, clothing and a better way of life.

He talks about the connection and bond that they continued to share, as the
slaves began to prosper and the master and his family began to suffer.

Washington remembers his new life in West Virginia. The part where is education
was put on the back burner as a result of a need of income to support his
family. But he also remembers his will and determination to gain an education at
any cost. This resulted in him going to school at night and traveling several
miles in order to gain a proper education. Washington eventually gained an
education at Hampton University, and went on to teach. He was also head of

Tuskegee University. Mr. Washington’s life experience’s taught him that
everything has a time and a place. He painted a picture of a boy in a filthy
room with torn and ragged clothes, reading a French book. He believed that man
must have skills and should be able to provide for himself and his family. He
was speaking of economic freedom. He was speaking of working with white people,
to try to make a better place for both races. In many ways, I think he felt it
was more important to have food on your table rather than books in your hands.

Mr. Washington knew that in order for African-Americans to prosper, whites would
have to be involved. In order for a man to get up off the ground he must first
convince the man holding him down to take his foot off his throat. Mr. W.E.B. Du
bois was indeed a scholar and revolutionary. He was born in Great Barrington,

Massachusetts. He was a graduate of Fisk University and the first Black to
receive a doctoral degree from Harvard University. Du Bois’s research into the
historical and sociological conditions of black Americans made him the most
influential black intellectual of his time. His book The Souls of Black Folk
written in 1903 is a powerful collection of essays, in which Du Bois describes
the efforts of African- Americans to reconcile their African heritage with their
pride in being U.S. citizens. In this book he also contended that Washington’s
push for African-Americans to relinquish political strength and the quest for
civil rights temporarily for the building of wealth was wrong. Du bois believed
that "he right to vote, civil equality and the education of