DuBois and Washington-Analytical Paper


The masters of
literature of the late 1800’s wrote astounding persuasive essays and speeches
to discuss their points on social progress and the reconstruction of the south.
William Edward  Burghardt DuBois’s Of Our Spiritual Strivings was a well
developed essay written to the public to discuss the separation of African
Americans and Whites after the Emancipation. DuBois was an African American
sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, educator,
editor, writer, poet, and scholar born February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington,
Massachusetts.DuBois became the first African American to earn a PhD from
Harvard University in history.In 1909 DuBois co-founded the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People. While working as a professor
at Atlanta University DuBois publicly opposed Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta
Compromise Speech”, DuBois ridiculed Washington for not demanding equality for
African Americans. Later on in 1903 DuBois published his profound work,The
Souls of Black Folk, which was an essay DuBois wrote to address the unnecessary
separation of African Americans and Whites after the Emancipation.

Washington was born on
April 5, 1856 in Franklin County, Virginia. In 1872 Washington left home and
walked 500 miles to Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute.Washington took odd
jobs to support himself and convinced administrators to let him attend the
school. Washington also took a job as a janitor to help pay his tuition and was
later recognized by the schools founder and head master. Washington was offered
a scholarship sponsored by a white man.On September 18, 1895 Washington delivered his
famous “Atlanta Compromise” speech at the Cotton States and
International Exposition in Atlanta. In Washington’s speech he exclaimed the
importance of coming together as a unity and being economically progressed but
disapproved the fact of forgetting the past and socially progressing as DuBois
did. Washington did not feel the necessity of Whites and African Americans
coming together as friends or equals.Although DuBois and Washington had entirely
different point of views regarding the integration of African American and
Whites both wanted unity in the act of creating a successful, progressive
society.In DuBois’s Of Our Spiritual Strivings and Washington’s Atlanta
Compromise   Speech both authors used figurative language, rhetorical
devices, and methods of persuasion to advance their point of views of being
able to re-establish the South and social progress of having blacks and whites
come together to contribute to the power and persuasiveness of the text.

Both authors presented
figurative language in their writings. DuBois stated, “Leaving, then, the white
world, I have stepped within the Veil raising it that you may view faintly its
deeper recess,- the meaning of its religion, the passion of its human sorrow,
and the struggle of its great souls”(DuBois,  1994, p.1). DuBois uses this
metaphor of a veil to draw the focus to the separation of whites and
blacks.This is one of many representations of the persuasiveness DuBois used to
appeal to the readers emotions by explaining the “veil” that coexisted with
segregation. DuBois later establishes another metaphor when he includes, “
This, then, is the end of his striving: to be a co-worker in the kingdom of
culture, to escape both death and isolation, to husband and use his best powers
and his latent genius”(DuBois,1994, p.3). DuBois referred to the African
Americans end result of equality to a coworker in the kingdom of culture was
being referred to equality and being able to live up to your own ability.
Washington also used a metaphor in the Atlanta Compromise Speech, “ In all
things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as
the hand in all things essential to mutual progress”(Washington, 1895, par.5).
Washington was comparing the blacks and whites as a social progress to fingers
on a hand they have no reason to be intertwined and can remain separated yet as
a mutual progress they come together to rebuild the south.

 According to DuBois (1994) when he was younger
and in school his class decided to have an exchange of cards.DuBois said the
exchange was merry until a newcomer, a tall girl, refused his card, refused it
peremptorily with a glance (DuBois, 1994, p.3). DuBois used imagery to recall
an incident as a child when he first encountered the realization of being a
“problem” to society. DuBois talked about the “problem” of how the separation
of African Americans and Whites lead to  the Negro race being looked down
on and considered outcasts towards society.

Washington used imagery
as well when he talked about how African Americans helped the whites during
slavery “As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, in nursing your
children, watching by the sick-bed of your mother’s and fathers, and often
following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our
humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can
approach, ready to lay down their lives, if need be, in defense of yours, interlacing
our  industrial, commercial,civil, and religious life with yours in a way
that shall make the interests of both races one”(Washington, 1895, par.5).
Washington described how African Americans helped Whites in the past  and
how outrageous it would of been to have foreigners come in and help when Whites
could of utilized the help that was already provided. Another display of
imagery was “Nearly sixteen million hands will aid you in pulling the load
upward, or they will pull against you the load downward”(Washington, 1895,
par.7). This quote means that the African Americans could help the Whites
rebuild the South or they would tear it down, either way they will be involved
because they are an essential part of the south and its success or failure.

Washington and DuBois
both manifested rhetorical devices throughout their writings using an example
of repetition and an allegory. Washington used an allegory when he described a
story about a lost ship at sea that reached out to an upcoming, friendly,
vessel and asked for fresh water. The friendly vessel instructed the stranded
ship to “cast down your buckets where you are” the stranded ship then sent out
a second, third, and fourth signal asking for water. The captain of the
distressed vessel finally took heed to the other vessels reply and cast down
their buckets and were rewarded with fresh, sparkling water from the Amazon
River (Washington, 1895, par.3). Washington used this allegory to refer the
vessel to his indication of  how the Negro race and the Whites needed to
look at what was in front of them. He exclaimed that African Americans did not
have to leave the South for better lives they could create a better life in the
South. He then turned and used the same allegory towards the Whites by
addressing the fact that insteads of looking to foreign outsiders they could
avail the African Americans who were already available and ready to assist in
the triumph of the South. DuBois showed repetition in his essay multiple times
using the phrase “How does it feel to be a problem?”(DuBois, 1994, p.2). DuBois
expressed that African Americans were seen as problems and outcasts to society
which created the start of inequality and segregation.

DuBois and Washington
enhanced their writings by appealing to the audience’s emotions and logic by
using the methods of persuasion pathos and logos. Washington used logos in the
statement “One-third of the population of the South is Negro race”(Washington,
1895, par.1). Washington used logos to persuade to the readers logic. Using the
number one-third allows the reader to get a sense of the population of the
south. Washington used another form of logos when he wrote “Nearly sixteen
millions of hands will aid you in pulling  the load upward, or they will
pull against you the load downward”(Washington, 1895, par.7).Washington
addressed the number of African Americans in the south because before he said
there was eight million African Americans which is sixteen million hands.
  DuBois used pathos to appeal to the authors emotion when he said
“Shout, O children! Shout, your free! For god has bought your liberty”(DuBois,
1994, p.4). DuBois acknowledged the emotions of  his audience he was
talking about how the children should shout and rejoice because they were free.

All things considered DuBois
and Washington had different opinions about the unity of blacks and whites
socially but they agreed on them coming together economically. DuBois used
rhetoric to further provide detail regarding to the persuasion and power he
used in his essay. Washington’s goal was to enhance his point of rebuilding the
South by using rhetoric in the relation to power persuasiveness of his speech.
DuBois and Washington both exhibited figurative language, rhetorical devices,
and methods of persuasion to advance their point of views of being able to
re-establish the South and social progress of having blacks and whites come
together to contribute to the power and persuasiveness of the text.  











DuBois, W.E.B. (1994). Of Our Spiritual Strivings. In the souls of
black folks (p.i). New York, NY. Dover Publications


Washington, B.T. (1895). The Atlanta Exposition Address. Speech
presented at the cotton state and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.