“Democracy and Education”, by Booker T. Washington, as well as “The Talented Tenth”, by W.E.B Debois are both short reviews written by African Americans on their opinion of the Negro education during the time period. Each was written in the late 1800s early 1900s. As a historical reference, slavery had been previously abolished however the rights of African Americans were now a crucial topic amongst activist fighting for the rights of the African Americans. These two readings discuss the topic of education or lack of proper education amongst the Negro population of the time. Both writers were distinguished African Americans of their time and each took his own stand point on the needs for proper education and the effects on the community around them as well, as their opinion of a solution. While both writers make good points the argument of W.E.B Debois in “The Talented Tenth” makes a better argument.
“The Talented Tenth” discusses the need for a better education to allow for a better lifestyle in general, Dubois states, “...Knowledge of the world that was and is, and of relation of men to it—this is the curriculum of that Higher Education which must underlie true life (Debois, 1.)” Dubois stand point reflects that the higher education is crucial in making the Negro community understand better. He feels that some of the best educators are the group of African Americans who have become successful lawyers, doctors, clergy, or professors. Through their success and through their understanding of how life happens Dubois feels they are the best influence for the African American community. “…to-day guiding the work of the Negro people?’ The exceptions’ (Dubois, 4.)” In Debois eyes these African Americans who strived to fight for abolition and strived to better their lives are what will best educate and lead the community. This is a sound argument due to the fact that when a person sees someone who has many similar characteristics to them become successful they feel like there is the ability for them to accomplish it as well. The idea that teaching through the exceptions of the African American community is well stated because other people will begin to follow the ways of someone who has already and made it and will trust to learn from someone much like them.
On the other hand, Booker T. Washington, in “Democracy and Education” feels that the lack of education of African Americans is a downfall for the entire country. He sees that “When the South is poor, you are poor; when the South commits crime, you commit crime (Washington, 1.)” Booker believes that the lack of education is a down bringing for the country as w whole because it leads to people voting who are uneducated in their choices and are ignorant. Through this he sees the ignorant vote causing, “corruption, dishonesty in a dozen forms have crept into the exercise of political franchise… (Washington, 1.)” Washington refers to this fact not only with the African American community, but as well the uneducated whit community. While these things are true, that an uneducated person makes an uneducated vote and allows for incorrect influences however Washington’s solution to education is an industrial education. “I have referred to the industrial education as a means of fitting the millions of my people in the South for the duties of citizenship.” This argument for education does not seem to be as effective as that proposed by Debois. W.E.B Debois reflects on the education through someone has become successful in the African American race, a person that has already proven to the community that they are intelligent and able (the talented tenth of the race) as well as educated about the world in which they leave. He reflects on these people as educators, but as well places the implication of a role model and influence. For a person trying to educate themselves in their lives this strong role model is often a common