The post-Reconstruction period provided significant challenges for African Americans struggling to improve their lives in segregated and hostile environments. At the turn of the 20th century, two thinkers stood out as leaders within African American communities. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois agreed on the goal of increasing equality of opportunities in this country, but each outlined a distinct vision for the path blacks needed to take to achieve greater equality.
In Booker T. Washington and Equality, students explore the plight of African Americans in the late 1800s and analyze primary-source excerpts from the writings of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois to compare their different perspectives on the best way to attain greater equality.
The Document Analyzer section also includes excerpts from two great African American women who may be less well-known than Washington and Du Bois. The excerpt from journalist Ida B. Wells’ book Self Help calls for greater African American activism, speaking out against the murderous practice of lynching. The final excerpt from educator Mary Church Terrell highlights the achievements of African American women in the post-Civil War period.
Take advantage of Black History Month and invite your students to delve more deeply into African American voices and experiences.
Looking for more African American resources? Check these out!
African Americans and the New Deal
Reconstruction Era Sharecropping
The Great Migration: Who, What, When, Where, and Why
Civil Rights: Desegregating the Military
The Civil War: The Emancipation Proclamation
The Harlem Renaissance