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FW: Dulaney on Moore, _Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, an d the Struggle for Racial Uplift_

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  • A.J. Wright
    fyi..aj wright // ajwright@uab.edu ... From: Ian Binnington, H-South [mailto:cfib@eiu.edu] Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 10:15 AM To: H-SOUTH@H-NET.MSU.EDU
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 10, 2003
      fyi..aj wright // ajwright@...

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Ian Binnington, H-South [mailto:cfib@...]
      Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 10:15 AM
      To: H-SOUTH@...
      Subject: Crosspost: H-Survey Review, Dulaney on Moore, _Booker T.
      Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, and the Struggle for Racial Uplift_

      Published by H-Survey@... (September 2003)

      Jacqueline M. Moore. _Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, and the
      Struggle for Racial Uplift_. African American History Series.
      Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 2003. xix + 195 pp. Timeline,
      illustrations, bibliographic essay, index. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN
      0-8420-2994-X; $19.95 (paper), ISBN 0-8420-2995-8.

      Reviewed for H-Survey by W. Marvin Dulaney, Department of History,
      College of Charleston

      Uplifting the Race

      Jacqueline Moore has written an interesting analysis of the early
      twentieth-century conflict between Booker T. Washington and W. E. B.
      DuBois over how to uplift African Americans from the racism and
      discrimination that they faced. This book is a synthesis of the
      last thirty-five years of scholarship on the lives of these two men
      and it is very well done. Although the book is written primarily
      for a student audience and for usage in courses primarily in
      American or African-American history survey courses, professional
      historians will also find the book useful as a compact assessment of
      the historic conflict between Washington and DuBois.

      Moore's goal in analyzing this historic conflict is to present
      readers with a broader understanding of it. Moreover, she wants "to
      explain in more detail a conflict which most textbooks only briefly
      outline and to place it in broader historical context" (p. xix).
      She achieves this goal in a number of ways. First, she places the
      conflict within the context of the emerging racial segregation that
      African Americans confronted in the early-twentieth century. Then,
      she analyzes the personalities, educational backgrounds, and
      philosophies of Washington and DuBois. Finally, she also presents
      the viewpoints of Washington's and DuBois's African-American and
      white allies and contemporaries. Thus, in this manner she broadens
      the reader's viewpoint on the conflict by showing how it was not
      just a disagreement between the two men over educational philosophy
      and how best to challenge segregation and uplift the race, but also
      one that involved personality conflicts, misunderstandings, and
      personal vendettas.

      Moore organizes the book into five chapters. The first chapter
      addresses the rise of segregation in both pre- and post-Civil War
      American society. She shows how racism, segregation, and
      discrimination affected the lives of African Americans and how these
      three evils reached their peak when DuBois and Washington were
      coming of age as leaders among African Americans. In two more
      chapters, she analyzes the early lives and educational backgrounds
      of both DuBois and Washington, and shows how they emerged as leaders
      among the African-American elite. Then, she carefully documents how
      the conflict between the two developed over the nature of education
      for African Americans, their participation in politics, and their
      quest for equality in American life. Finally, in a very unique
      manner, which sets the book apart from others that have sought to
      address this conflict, she shows that there were other African
      Americans who proposed and pursued other strategies (including
      emigration to Africa) to address the issue of racial uplift for
      African Americans.[1]

      She concludes the book by offering documents, primarily letters and
      essays, which document what each man as well as others had to say
      about African-American life in the early twentieth century. These
      documents are a very important part of the book. Indeed, it enables
      the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about the conflict and
      even to take sides. The documents humanize the participants in the
      conflict: several documents show how Washington used spies and his
      political influence to harass and intimidate DuBois and his
      supporters; others show how DuBois and his supporters sought to
      discredit Washington with inflammatory charges and unfounded

      Overall, Moore's book does a very good job of explaining the
      complexity of the conflict between DuBois and Washington. Moreover,
      by including a chapter that analyzes the positions of other
      African-American leaders and activists such as Kelly Miller, Mary
      Church Terrell, Alexander Crummell, and even those who advocated
      that African Americans emigrate to Africa to escape American racism
      and segregation, she shows that African Americans had more options
      for "racial uplift" than those offered by DuBois and Washington.

      For those of us who teach American and African-American history
      survey courses from the perspective of the "conflict thesis" this
      will be a very valuable resource. It will provide students analysis
      and documentation, as well as an interpretation of how the ongoing
      racial conflict in American society bred not only ideological and
      violent conflict between blacks and whites, but also intragroup
      conflict among various factions in the African-American community.
      As noted above, this is the type of complexity that students need to
      learn and understand. Moore's book shows literally that many issues
      in American history are not just "black and white," but many shades
      of gray that require in-depth analysis in order to understand them

      I strongly recommend the book for American and African-American
      history survey courses. Those of us who have had students read
      DuBois's _The Souls of Black Folk_ and Washington's _Up From
      Slavery_ in order to provide them a perspective on early
      twentieth-century race relations not available in most American
      history textbooks can now use this book as a condensed, but very
      adequate substitute.[2] Students will not only receive a broader
      understanding of the conflict, but also be able to read and
      interpret it beyond the perspectives of the two central
      protagonists. In addition, the book is well written, easy to read,
      and accompanied by a bibliographic essay that will lead students to
      the recent historiography and primary sources that further
      illuminate the DuBois-Washington conflict.

      Perhaps the only misgiving that I have about substituting Moore's
      book for one that I have used before is the price. Students can
      purchase DuBois's _Souls of Black Folk_ and Washington's _Up From
      Slavery_ (as well as James Weldon Johnson's _The Autobiography of An
      Ex-Colored Man_) in _Three Negro Classics_ for only $6.95 in the
      paperback version (see note [2]). The paperback version of Moore's
      book costs almost three times as much and the hardback version is
      very costly for such a small volume. Nevertheless, as noted above,
      the analysis that Moore provides and the documents included in the
      book make the paperback version a very worthwhile addition to the
      reading list for American and African-American survey courses.


      [1]. The DuBois-Washington conflict has been well documented and
      analyzed in a number of sources. The best analyses are those of
      August Meier, _Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915: Racial
      Ideologies in the Age of Booker T. Washington_ (Ann Arbor: The
      University of Michigan Press, 1971); Francis L. Broderick, "The
      Gnawing Dilemma: Separation and Integration, 1865-1925," in _Key
      Issues in the Afro-American Experience_, vol. 2, _Since 1865_, ed.
      Nathan I. Huggins, Martin Kilson, and Daniel M. Fox (New York:
      Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, 1971); John Hope Franklin and Alfred
      A. Moss Jr., _From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African
      Americans_, 7th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997); and David L.
      Lewis, _W. E. B. DuBois: Biography of A Race, 1868-1919_ (New York:
      Henry Holt and Company, 1993).

      [2]. Both of these books by DuBois and Washington are in a
      convenient and inexpensive paperback entitled _Three Negro Classics_
      (New York: Avon Books, 1999). The third "classic" in the book is
      James Weldon Johnson's _The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man_,
      originally published in 1912.

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      contact the Reviews editorial staff: hbooks@mail.h-net.msu.edu.
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