Breaking the Color Line: W.E.B. DuBois and the African American Struggle for Equality

Paper Type:  Argumentative essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1273 Words
Date:  2022-12-28

Color-line problem was the main problem that was being experienced in the twentieth century. Black folks souls deeply shows challenges that are being encountered by the African American. The judicial system was against those who are African American. W.E.B Dubois has been using emotional appeal and also his personal experiences to explain the color-line problem. African Americans believe was that they would transcend their situations of the color line by use of intellectualism despite the veil. Black community elevation would also expand with the idea of acquiring higher education that would provide the opportunities to get influential positions in the government leading to changes. In this case, the main component for the success of African Americana is education.

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The historical plight of African Americans gives an excellent example of what would happen when one group is defined as inferior, and less intelligent or has less value. In 1865, slavery ended with South's defeat on the civil war and the life of black Americans was improved little. There was an addition of three amendments to the United States Constitution that guaranteed the rights to the freed slaves (Woodard, & Theoharis, 2019). Even though slavery was outlawed, it was replaced with racial injustice and discrimination which was legally upheld by Back Codes. African American was denied the right to vote, leave a job, possess a weapon, and freedom of movement. The African Americans were considered as servants and not slaves. Whoever would have disobeyed the Black Code would have been imprisoned. The effort to rebuild South's society and economy by the federal government in 1870 abolished Black Codes, but there was still open discrimination and prejudice.

After the reconstruction in 1877, the Southerners started passing laws that were enforcing racial segregation which was known as the Jim Crow laws. It was through Jim Crow laws where the beliefs on the nature of African Americans were perpetuated much throughout the era of the twentieth century. Jim Crow term was derived from a fictional racist that was popular in the United States of America in the early 1800s. This racist character was played by whites with a blackened face who was expressing racial prejudice against African Americans showing that they were poor, uneducated, and rural black persons (Hustwit, 2019). The African Americans prejudices led to discriminatory measures that were passed by the local government and state which was meant to keep black Americans at a lower economic and social status. The Jim Crow laws were strictly enforcing public racial segregation to all life aspects in the Sothern. There were no racial segregation laws in the Northern though there was racial discrimination that was everywhere in the Northerners. In this case, blacks were not allowed to buy houses near white's neighborhoods. Africans Americans were greatly restricted to educational and economic opportunities.

Most of Jim Crow discriminatory laws were enforced to support the racial segregation in the daily life of the people. These laws were designed in such a way that African Americans and whites were required to use separate public schools, water fountains, restaurants, public bathhouses, different buses, rail cars, and libraries even when there is no legal segregation. Before the spread of legal segregation in the south around 1890, de factor was able to replace exclusion that was happening in the southern. Through the aid of radical measures, the shift of segregation was institutionalized. However, both the redeemers and white republicans finally embraced these segregation policies. The attitudes of the black Americans made it possible to assure shift to segregation. The black self-respect, tactical emphasis to secure better facilities, economic pressure, and the issue of group identity enabled shaping of black's attitudes. The black Americans were protected by the American constitution in which all citizens were equally protected although the issue of color-line segregation was still existing. The judiciary was discriminating blacks which is evident in the American prisons where there is a higher number of blacks inmates in which many cases are ruled unjustly.

During the twentieth century, punishment and crime have been providing some significant symbols of racism in America. For African Americans, policing is known as the most enduring aspect in which people struggle to get civil rights since it has been the only mechanism for racial control. Historically, in both the Northern and Southern America, the police were enforcing and defending segregation and racism in where they were attacking those who are protesting for civil rights (Brown, Socia, & Silver, 2019). The police were also disrupting strikes by black Americans workers who needed to integrate neighborhoods and workplaces. The back Americans community harassment by the police is a widespread story in America. It is stated black Americans are 21 times more likely to get shot by the police when compared to whites. Blacks are likely to face indignities every day in the hands of the police. Blacks Americans always view police as the cause of a large system of inequality in the employment, housing, justice system, and education. The black Americans always face higher crime rates; hence they require to be in good terms with law enforcement. This didn't happen until the United States came up with a way of addressing its history in which they were using police as a tool to enhance racial inequality.

The black American intellectuals W.E.B Du Bois advocated the ideology of racial uplifting and came up with the idea that educated blacks were supposed to be responsible for the race majority welfare. The Du Bois's question was able to capture the struggle of black Americans to maintain and forge an identity that is positive in the society of United States that reduced the existence of alienating phrase known as Negro problem (Bates, 2019). Advocates of black Americans political and civil rights were lonely struggling with few allies of virulent anti-black racist. The Southern white's elites and politicians defended white supremacy where they proclaimed the mental, moral and physical inferiority of black American from pulpit, press, and university. Irrespective of political differences, blacks were able to encounter anti-black stereotype through class differences emphasis among blacks and their roles as racial leaders.

In the souls of Black folks, W.E.B Dubois advocated a liberal educational art as a method of emancipating people and give a clear meaning of life. He advocated a classical or liberal education as the preferable way to help blacks by fully emancipating themselves. Dubois and Booker T. Washington viewed that African American advancement was to come from obtaining practical skills. Their positions are nuanced responses on the challenges that were being faced by blacks such as segregation, inequality, slavery, and racism. Du Bois did not believe that only education could have ended discrimination, but he recognized that institutional structure, laws, market capitalism, and racism were all holding people back.

Based on the above discussion, we conclude that black Americans are supposed to have the same rights as whites. Supporting African American education is seen as an ultimate goal to success. The color division between nations does not lead to success but failure. Black Americans will inhibit their success by acquiring higher education.


Bates, J. (2019). US Empire and the "Adaptive Education" Model: The Global Production of Race. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 5(1), 41-54. doi:10.1177/2332649218783451

Brown, E. K., Socia, K. M., & Silver, J. R. (2019). Conflicted conservatives, punitive views, and anti-Black racial bias 1974-2014. Punishment & Society, 21(1), 3-27. doi:10.1177/1462474517736295

Hustwit, W. P. (2019). Integration Now: Alexander v. Holmes and the End of Jim Crow Education. UNC Press Books. doi:10.1007/978-1-4039-8250-6

Woodard, K., & Theoharis, J. (2019). The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North: Segregation and Struggle outside of the South. NYU Press. doi:10.1007/978-1-4039-8250-6_1

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Breaking the Color Line: W.E.B. DuBois and the African American Struggle for Equality. (2022, Dec 28). Retrieved from

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