American Progressive Era

For this assignment, you will analyze a historical issue from the second half of American history (1877 – present). You will need to compare at least two opposing perspectives on the issue of civil rights for Black Americans during the American Progressive Era.


  1. Read the following:

a.“The Meaning of Black Freedom” and “Racial Violence in Reconstruction” from the free ONLINE textbook from Lumen Learning.

b.The document titled “Washington and DuBois Reading”, which includes two perspectives on the issue. One from Booker T. Washington and another from W.E.B. DuBois. (See the attachment above.)

2.Complete the following writing assignment.

a.Your answers should be in complete sentences and use proper grammar.

b.Your response should be at least 5 paragraphs in length, using the format described below.

c.Be sure you understand that this is an individual assignment.

d.Using proper format provide citations for your sources (see below).

e.Type your answers in Microsoft Word or another word processing program and then load it into the TurnItIn link below.


Paragraph I. Introduction

1.Describe in general the issue that is to be debated. In no more than 3-5 sentences, give an overview of the social and political situation that Black Americans faced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Study “Jim Crow and African American Life” from the free ONLINE textbook from Lumen Learning. Use the link HERE. End this paragraph with a thesis statement that succinctly describes both Dubois and Washington’s programs.

Paragraph II. One perspective

2.Read and describe Booker T. Washington’s program in the excerpt “Up from Slavery.” Write at least a paragraph on Washington’s perspective and his proposals. Reference the document and use direct quotes, but do not allow any quote to extend beyond the third line of text in your paper.

Paragraph III. A second perspective

3.Read and describe W.E.B. Dubois’s program in the excerpt “The Souls of Black Folk.” Write at least a paragraph on Dubois’s perspective and his proposals. How does Dubois differ from Washington? Reference the document and use direct quotes, but do not allow any quote to extend beyond the third line of text in your paper.

Paragraph IV. Applications and assessment

4.Apply your learning to the present day. In light of the current discussion on race and civil rights in the United States, how did the reading(s) change the way in which you understood the subject? Who has the better solution, if any – Dubois or Washington? Why?

How are the issues presented in the reading(s) still relevant to you today? Please explain how your personal background and life experiences might influence your perspective on this topic?

Paragraph V. Conclusion

5.Wrap it up. In no more than 3-5 sentences, restate your thesis, add any final thoughts, tie up any loose ends, and answer any final questions that your reader may have. You may even choose to ask a thought-provoking question to encourage your reader to do more research.

Addendum: Citations

6.Cite your sources properly. When quoting or referencing your sources (the text, Dubois, or Washington), you need to use the Chicago Manual of Style, the standard method of documentation for history. Chicago Style requires footnoting. To footnote in Microsoft Word, look under the “References” tab, find the “Insert Footnote” button, and click on it. A line will appear at the bottom of your page under which you type your footnote.


Examples of the Chicago Manual of Style:

When citing Washington, this footnote will appear at the bottom of your page:

[1] Booker T. Washington, “Up From Slavery: An Autobiography of Booker T. Washington,” in Louis R. Harlan, ed., The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 3, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 583–587.

If you cite Washington again, your footnote should appear as such:

2 Washington, 583 – 587.

When you cite W.E.B. Dubois, your footnote should appear as such:

[1] W.E.B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches, 4th ed. (Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1904), 300-305.

If you cite Dubois again, your footnote should appear as such:

2 Dubois, 300 – 305.

Requirements: 5 paragraphs well written

Answer preview

From the two perspectives, it is evident that racial inequality was an issue of concern promoted by the Jim crow laws. However, two influential African American leaders, Washington and Du Bois had different ideologies on addressing the issue. While Washington believed that comprising to separation but promoting equality was legit and that education would help blacks overcome the racial injustices as he did, Du Bois promoted protests.[1] Du Bois’s approach was the better solution because it allowed all blacks to fight oppression.[2] However, the emphasis on education may have sidelined the poor who could not afford training from the learning institutions. Generally, these issues are relevant today since they encourage the oppressed to take a stronger stance to fight social injustices. Based on my experiences, creating room for compromise makes the oppressed subject to racial inequality for the long term.

[785 Words]

American Progressive Era