Booker T and W.E.B.: Adding Women's Voices


Black History Month provides educators with the opportunity to explore the contributions of prominent African American leaders and thinkers in greater depth.

The post-Reconstruction period presented 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.

African American educator Mary Church Terrell

African American educator Mary Church Terrell

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. And the 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!



About Author

Molly Farrow

Molly Farrow taught high school history for 11 years in Wake County and Durham County. She also taught at the Taipei American School in Taiwan. She received a M.A.T. degree from the University of North Carolina and a B.S. degree in Political Science from Wake Forest University. Outside work, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and their dog, Dante.

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