W. E. B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr. shared many key characteristics. Both were influential men in achieving racial equality. Unfortunately, neither Du Bois nor King lived to see the gains they strived for African Americans come to fruition. Du Bois handed off his legacy to King to carry on where he had left off. Du Bois died the day before Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech, which some herald as the greatest speech ever given. Although neither King nor Du Bois lived to see the equality of all people of color, King believed this equality would happen in time. Just as Du Bois wrote powerfully about the racial inequalities and injustices of African Americans, King spoke powerfully. King and Du Bois also had similar writing styles; both wrote in prose. They used biblical language and powerful imagery. Du Bois wanted changes “now,” and was not satisfied with sitting patiently and waiting, like other contemporaries, namely Booker T. Washington. In similar fashion, neither was King satisfied with waiting patiently for changes, as he called for immediate action with the infamous phrase “now is the time” in his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech (King, 1968). King accomplished what Du Bois was not able to. Du Bois paved the path for King’s civil rights revolution that changed the course of history for racial minorities. Changes in civil rights for minorities did not occur immediately, as Du Bois and King wanted. The journey is still not over; the path continues to be paved by others. However, in the 21st century, Barak Hussein Obama biblically proclaimed “The time is now” in his inaugural speech as the first African American President of the United States (New York Times, 2009). As President Obama declared in his inaugural speech, “A man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath (New York Times, 2009).”
What similarities do you see between W. E. B. Du Bois and President Barak Obama?
King, M. L. (1968). “I have a dream” address delivered at the march on Washington for jobs and Freedom. (August 28, 1963). http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/publications/speeches/address_at_march_on_washington.pdf. Accessed: February 22, 2009.
New York Times. 2009. Barak Obama’s Inaugural Address. (January 20, 2009). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/us/politics/20text-obama.html. Accessed: February 22, 2009.