Du Bois, growing up mostly in the northern cities as a free man, won distinction as the first black man to achieve a Harvard degree. Washington, growing up more in the south and born into slavery, eventually received an honorary Masters degree from Harvard as well as an honorary Doctorate from Dartmouth College. Both DuBois and Washington wrote a great deal about the limited role of the black man in post-Civil War America, yet they had widely different opinions regarding what should be done to change this. Their writings educated the white American public about the true issues involved. However, each had different ideas about how best to help black people succeed. These differences were shaped, to a great degree, by their personal experience of slavery.Washington’s life provided an example to black and white people of what could be accomplished when the individual was not prisoner to the whims of white oppression. He was born as a slave, eventually proving that this simple fact was not sufficient cause to render him incapable of advanced thought. There was nothing about his birth or his position in life that singled him out as being an exceptional example of the race and thus he was representative of the race in general. At no point in his life was he given any kind of privileged access to education over the other slaves. As a child, he worked on a plantation with his mother as a slave. Later, after he’d been freed, he worked with his father in the salt mines. However, he was determined to learn how to read and fought to attend night school as a means of furthering his education (Beck, 1996). Throughout his young adulthood, Washington continued to work hard to support himself on meager earnings and study harder at night, knowing it was his only chance to break the cycle. He consistently encouraged the black people around him to study with him learning the skills and knowledge of the white man so

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