In African American history there is a vast amount of people who have dedicated themselves and their work to the important activism for the welfare of the African American community. Two well-known activists, also writers, are W.E.
B Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. Washington was born into slavery. While growing up as a slave he had a yearning to learn how to read and write. This yearning he had was not possible during the time because of slavery.
It was illegal for any African American to learn how to read or write. When Slavery was over Washington’s family moved with their father. At a young age, Washington became a houseboy for Viola Ruffin. When Ruffin realized that Washington was very interested and capable of learning she began to let him go to school after he finished all of his duties around the house. Washington founded the Tuskegee University, a historic black university. He also became a spokesperson for the African Americans that were just coming out of slavery. On the other hand, W.E.
B Du Bois was born free. He was born into a desegregated community which meant that whites and blacks were living in the same area. Du Bois went to college and graduated from Harvard. As his life progressed on he became very active in the African American community. Some examples of him being an active member in the African American community is him being a founder of the NAACP, being a part of the Pan African Movement, and being a key component in the Niagara Movement.Even though Du Bois and Washington contributed to the welfare of African Americans both opposed each other because of their different viewpoints.
Du Bois’s point of view was that African American history was being disregarded and that they were not being recognized for their advancements in society. On the contrary, Washington’s viewpoint was that African Americans should not push for social and political equality so that they could be a part of rebuilding the south. In Du Bois’s writing “Of Our Spiritual Strivings and Washington’s “Atlanta Exposition Address” both writers used rhetoric to advance their viewpoints and contribute to the power and persuasiveness of the text by using rhetorical devices, figurative language, and methods of persuasion. To advance their viewpoints and contribute to the power and persuasiveness of their work Du Bois and Washington used figurative language.
In Du Bois’s writing “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” he decided to start off by using a poem written by Arthur Symon. This is also known as an epigraph. Du Bois referred to the epigraph throughout his text multiple times to make distinct connections to support his point of view. For example, in the text, Du Bois writes “our little boat on the mad waters of the world-sea” (Du Bois,1994,p.6).
This was a metaphor and the reason Du Bois used it was so that he could convey to the reader the troubles that African Americans went through while searching for the things they yearned for such as liberty. According to Du Bois(1994) the phrase “mad waters” connects to the phrase “unresting waters” in the epigraph (Du Bois, 1994, p.7). These two phrases are an example of imagery.
They help the audience visualize how rough and dangerous the racial problem in America had become. This strengthened the impact of his writing while also advancing his viewpoint because it triggered the readers to look at a new perspective about the African American race struggles. Du Bois also uses another metaphor that really emphasized his viewpoint. In the text, Du Bois states “This, then, is the end of his striving to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, to husband and use his best powers and his latent genius”( Du Bois, 1994, p.3). This metaphor is comparing their own abilities and unity. To be more specific the metaphor was used in a way that influenced the reader that African Americans had decided to help build and contribute to the growing culture of America but were not realizing their own worth or ambitions. Africans Americans need to stop contributing to others welfare and start using their own abilities to advance further and gain the social status that they wanted.
Du Bois was simply implying that they have achieved so much but were not being recognized. The metaphor really impacted the power and persuasiveness of his writing because it called out the actual meanings of the things that they were accepting. African Americans were no longer oblivious to the fact that they were comfortable where they were, even though they complained they were not.Now on to Washington’s figurative language use in his “Atlanta Exposition Address”. Washington used a large amount of figurative language to effectively get his viewpoint across while contributing to the power and persuasiveness of his speech.
For example, Washington used the simile ” No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem” (Washington, 1895, p.2). This simile was emphasizing on the viewpoint that African Americans needed to stay where they are until they realize that there is no shame in working labor jobs, but instead to be proud of the fact that they are helping the black majority move forward and make progress in their social status. The use of this simile greatly contributed to his speech persuasiveness and power because it intimidated the African American audience by making them feel as if this is too good of a deal for them to pass up if they really wanted to see their own race progress in society. Once again he explained the idea of staying where you are to the audience.Another example of a figurative language that was used in Washington’s speech was an allusion.
Directly in the text, it says ” Oppressor with oppressed and close as in sin and suffering joined”(Washington, 1895, p. ). Allusion refers to something in an indirect way, so here he is actually referring to slavery. The line after that direct quote goes deeper into why African Americans are a necessity to rebuilding the south. Also that if African Americans aren’t included in rebuilding the south that they can minimize the progress of it. This contributes to his point of view because he is implying that African Americans are needed for the progression of the south, so if everyone stays where they are this can come about without any complications. Methods of persuasion were a huge part in contributing to the persuasiveness and power of both of the writer’s text. Washington substantially used logos throughout his speech.
For example, he states”One-third of the population of the South is of the negro race”( Washington, 1895, par 1). Washington uses this to convince the audience that the South’s population largely consists of African Americans. He also says this so that the audience is forced to face the logic and facts that African Americans are a key component into rebuilding the south. He’s simply saying that either way it goes African Americans are gonna be dealt with. He also used pathos to close off this speech.
According to Washington(1895) if African Americans and white people work together it would make the south “a new heaven and a new earth”(Washington, 1895, par 9). That use of pathos appealed to both blacks and whites because religion back then was something that was held very close to everyone’s heart. On the other hand, Du Bois mainly used pathos. Du Bois shared a story from the first time he experienced the veil, also known as racism. According to Du Bois(1994), his experience of the veil made him realize that there was a double consciousness that every African American had. This meant that African Americans are looking at themselves through their own eyes but also the eyes of whites.
The use of logos and pathos in both authors writings contribute to the impact of their text because it makes the reader and