The Niagara Movement Speech and the 1895 Atlanta Compromise Speech

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Ethical choices are provided by W.E.B Dubois and Booker Washington.  Dubois chose citizenship. He sought the common good for the most people. He pushes the agenda for equality and fairness for both black and white American citizens. He seems to criticize discrimination against the black Americans; equal application of the laws; freedom of speech; education; and freedom to vote. Booker Washington choses responsibility. He demonstrates an understanding that actions creates certain consequences. He acknowledges that the black American had been accepted in America

Dubois seems to understand that seeking the good for the most people guides a person to promote equality regardless of race, gender, wealth, and skin colour among others. However, Dubois suggests that lack of citizenship demonstrates cowardly actions that tend to suppress the weaker team from rising and from attaining equality with the white (1). Washington’s promotion of responsibility highlights benefits like determination to administer absolute justice and willing obedience amongst people of all classes (2). However, irresponsibility often brings about racial suspicions and animosities that curtail the growth of the Negro to the full, at the expense of the Negro’s potential.

Personally, I would choose respect and trustworthiness. Respect promotes treating others better than one would be treated by them. Treating others better seems to erode all the boundaries of colour, age, gender, class, nationality, and ethnicity among others. Often, treating others better replaces discrimination and inequality with harmony and equality. Moreover, respect promotes openness and tolerance of differences. Washington seems to suggest that respect promotes loyalty (1). Trustworthiness makes a person act in honesty and not deceive. Washington suggests that trustworthiness makes a person trust other heed to their call to “Cast down their buckets where you are” (1). Dubois suggests that trustworthiness involves not believing in violence to seek for one’s rights.

In choosing respect there seems to be exhibition of treating others the way would wish to be treated, and dealing peacefully with disagreements, anger, and insults. Dubois suggests that Black Americans are foreigners who may be excluded unjustly and illegally (2). Washington seems to suggest that Black Americans seem to be non-law-abiding and resentful people, thus making the whites hesitant to trust them. Trustworthiness might involve acting with integrity, being reliable, credible, and consistent (Washington 5).

I support the speakers’ decision for citizenship and responsibility. As a black American, agree that in line with good citizenship, one should seek the common good for the majority. Black Americans are always regarded as minority (Dubois, 1). I tend to believe that the current discrimination against blacks only deepens the roots of disrespect and untrustworthiness. As a Black American disrespect and untrustworthiness is likely to translate to unjustified exclusion, racial suspicions and animosities evidenced in association of black Americans with crime (Washington, 5).

Washington and Dubois were African Americans. Washington highlights that if anything, the Whites would be expected to treat blacks with more dignity and be accountable for their actions.

Duboi experience in Tennessee upon attending university made him an analyst of the deep troubles caused by American racism.

Upon reading the speeches, I appreciate the critical role played by activists. Dubois demanded equality for African Americans, and eventually contributed to the right of black Americans to vote. Washington on the other hand became renowned for efforts to promote economic self-reliance among black Americans. My reaction to other cultures would be that of an advocate to convince people to treat each other with respect as this would make a person treat others like they would want to be treated.

Perhaps I would take a strong stand to often stand for what is right and sharply critic and disagree with oppressive processes, actions, and policies. I would become a leader in creating awareness on how to end racial and class injustice. I would not only advocate for equality, but also create awareness amongst the discriminated to embrace self-help in overcoming their economic and social limitations.

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  1. Dubois, W. The Niagara Movement Speech
  2. Washington, Booker. The 1895 Atlanta Compromise Speech
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