In the early 1900s the living conditions under which many African Americans were living was poor. There was racial segregation, the passing of Jim Crow laws, sharecropping, and linchings. Africans were treated unequal and were highly discriminated against. African children were least likely to attend school, get high or well paying jobs, and raise a family out of poverty. There were few activists in this time period for the treatment of Africans, but two young men stepped forward. Du Bois and Washington, both from different backgrounds but both out to help the African race. Du Bois was born into a free family and makes certain demands to improve the living for his race, while Washington was borninto a slave family and seeks economic improvement.
I believe that Washington offers the best strategy for improving their treatment and the quality of their lives in the United States. Washington believed that African children should be educated. At the end of the Civil War the number of African children going to school tripled, and in 1905 the amount of children sky-rocketed again. In 1920, 65% of white children were going to school, and 55% percent of African children attended school. Yet, $22 was spent on each white student and$3 was spent on each black student.
Schooling for African children was hard, there were few school houses and students were often packed into tiny shacks that were supposed to be schools. The number of school houses in Alabama in the year 1871 for whites was 2,399, with 184,441 children attending schools, and 76.9 children per school house. The number of school houses for Africans that same year was 922, with 165,601 children attending and 179.6 children per school house. Schools for African children were overcrowded and not much learning would take place. More schools had to be built in order for education, discipline and morals to be taught. More money had to be given to African education, this another reason why the Tuskegee Institute was erected.
Since 1890 the number of illiterate African children over the age of 9 that has decreased almost 50%. Yet, the amount foreign born white people have remained the same, showing that Africans have a learning advantage over immigrants. Schooling is helping Africans become successful and possibly lead them to good job and lead them out of poverty. Washington believed education was important and opened the Tuskegee Institute, which taught Africans a trade that they could become successful in. The number of Africans, ages 10-14, in 1870 that were unable to read was 78.9%.
The number had decreased to 49.4% in 1890. This shows by allowing African children to go to school that they can learn everyday necessities. With the help of education Africans can help make economic improvements, and eventually it will lead to the equality of the African race, after a long period of time. Washington hoped to achieve racial equality through showing the white people that they can also work tot he same compacity as the white man, and together they could make the economy better. The number of children enrolled into schools after the Civil War nearly tripled. In 1871 the number of children in public schools was 33,834 and in 1880 it rose to 86,399. Being able to attend school was something new for children that were once slaves, but now that they were free they attended school and later in life sent their children to school.
Washington wanted Africans to learn a certain trade or skill so that they can become successful and then teach others that skill. Attending school was the beginning of learning their trade, and possibly after school they would attend college. Washington offered the best way for improving the treatment of African Americans and the quality of their lives. From education, economic improvements will slowly be made and when Africans learn to accept accommodation then whites will begin to work along with African Americans. Learning a trade will help the African race become more successful and then they will be able to lead productive lives.
As Booker T. Washington once said, 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…