Objectives: What argument is DuBois making? How does he support his argument? What does this piece tell us about the education during the Jim Crow era? Guiding questions: How was DuBois’ educational view shaped by his historical context? How were these reform movements expressed in African-American schools and colleges?
Jubilee Hall at Fisk University is the oldest permanent building for the higher education of African Americans in the United States
Du Bois with Fisk University faculty and students in front of Jubilee Hall, c. 1887.
Du Bois was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1896.
1896 - 1954: Jim Crow and legitimized discrimination • Jim Crow is entrenched within cultural America, notion of equality is erased Educational funding declines significantly and separate schools are maintained • Debate on how blacks should be educated, DuBois v. Washington • African Americans utilize their own political (NAACP) and social means (social capital) to achieve an education • DuBois (and others) says, there must be a change in attitude toward separate schools to make them stronger because the racist ideals of the white men are not changing. • [Du Bois] stated that African Americans have to believe in their own abilities to be successful
W.E.B. DuBois, “Does the Negro Need Separate Schools?” To answer the question posed, DuBois answers unequivocally, yes; separate schools are needed “just so far as they are necessary for the proper education of the Negro race.” A “proper education” is comprised of a sympathetic connection between student and teacher, knowledge of the history and background of (Black) students, and proper facilities. Overwhelming white hostility prevents such as education. “I am no fool,” DuBois states, “I know that race prejudice in the United States today is such that most Negroes cannot receive proper education in white institutions.” (328-329). Thus, as long as white hostility exists, separate schools for the proper education of African Americans are needed.
W.E.B. DuBois (1896-1954) Reasons for Segregation • It is easy for one to misinterpret DuBois’s position on the issue of school segregation. The question arises: is he really supporting separate schools for whites and blacks? • African Americans … should be campaigning for equal pay, facilities, and opportunity • DuBois questions schools which are desegregated and says there could be potential learning harm within them • [Du Bois] believes that African Americans, like all children, deserve a proper education, but in white schools, he argued, black children can not currently receive a proper education • Black students who attend integrated schools do not receive a meaningful education.
W.E.B. DuBois, “Does the Negro Need Separate Schools?” On attempts to force desegregation and integrate schools, DuBois states that “to compel even by law a group to do what it is determined not to do, is a sill waste of money, time, and temper” (329). Thus, both races have to want to be educated together; they cannot be forced to do so. DuBois contends that the attitude of whites will not change and, as such, the “customary attitude toward these separate schools must be absolutely and definitely changed” (330). In other words, Blacks must accept separate schools and work to improve them.
W.E.B. DuBois, “Does the Negro Need Separate Schools?” Two reasons prevent a majority of Black to adopt such a (radical?) position: segregation is in a sense “giving up” on equality and there is “an utter lack of faith” that Blacks, on their own accord, can do anything well. (330). To counter both these notions, DuBois states that children must not be used as ideological tools (why sent kids to suffer in white schools just to reach a principle of integration?) and, moreover, that Blacks must believe in their own power and ability. It follows that if Blacks accepted separate schools, what must be worked and indeed fought for, instead of integration, is equal pay, equal facilities, and equal opportunity. This is justified by the notion that Blacks have “a distinct entity, whose spirit and reactions demand a certain type of education for its development” (333).
W.E.B. DuBois (1896-1954) Reasons for Segregation • In schools there needs to be a connection between the pupil and the teacher, and the teacher must be equipped with the knowledge of the group’s background and experience • DuBois feels that the student and the teacher have to relate to one another and that they should be socially equal • DuBois at the end says that he is not arguing for separate education. He is merely citing the fact that he believes that black children cannot get the education that they deserve in white or mixed schools
Objectives What argument is DuBois making? How does he support his argument? What does this piece tell us about the education during the Jim Crow era? Guiding questions: How was DuBois’ educational view shaped by his historical context? How were these reform movements expressed in African-American schools and colleges?