“Booker T. and W. E. B. Du Bois” by Dudley Randall

     In Dudley Randall’s poem, “Booker T and W. E. B.” he contrasts the beliefs and activist approaches of Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois. Here he is clearly stating Booker T’s views of manual labor for the benefit of the community’s economy as well as the growth and benefit of the Black community socially, financially as well as emotionally due to the pride that comes with gain from the fruits of ones labor. Contrastingly, W. E. B.  believes that it is equal, if not, more important to cultivate the mind of the Black community rather than its soil, only to preserve and maintain the freedom of the Emancipation Proclamation and move forward to the freedoms of the Declaration of Independence.
     I have not uploaded this piece with the intent of proclaiming one intellectual right or wrong, nor to prove that one is greater than the other. I simply pray that you intellectually ponder over the piece as it discusses many of the main arguments found in many of Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery, and Dr. W. E. B. DuBois’s, The Souls of Black Folk.
 
Enjoy! 🙂
 
“It seems to me,” said Booker T.,
“It shows a might lot of cheek
To study chemistry and Greek
When Mister Charlie needs a hand
To hoe the cotton on his land,
And when Miss Ann looks for a cook,
Why stick your nose inside a book?”
“I don’t agree,” said W. E. B.
“If I should have the drive to seek
Knowledge of Chemistry or Greek,
I’ll do it. Charles and Miss can look
Another place for hand or cook.
Some men rejoice in skill of hand,
And some in cultivating land,
But there are others who maintain
The right to cultivate the brain.”
 “It seems to me”, said Booker T.,
“That all you folks have missed the boat
Who shout about the right to vote,
And spend vain days and sleepless nights
In uproar over civil rights.
Just keep your mouths shut, do not grouse,
But work, and save, and buy a house.”
“I don’t agree,” said W.E.B.,
“For what can property avail
if dignity and justice fail?
Unless you help to make the laws,
They’ll steal your house with trumped-up clause.
A rope’s a tight, a fire as hot,
No matter how much cash you’ve got.
Speak soft, and try your little plan,
But as for me, I’ll be a man.”
 “It seems to me,” said Booker T, —
I don’t agree,”
Said W. E. B.
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