HU Reconstruction and The Voi

2.1 Reconstruction and the Voices of Leadership: Washington and Du Bois

2.1: Essay 1: Obama, Washington, Du Bois 

Read: Washington and Du Bois

From the Norton Anthology:

  • “Literature of the Reconstruction to the New Negro Renaissance” Introduction

Booker T. Washington

  • Biographical introduction
  • All excerpts from Up From Slavery

W. E. B. Du Bois

  • Biographical introduction
  • Excerpts from The Souls of Black Folk:
    • “The Forethought”
    • I:  “Of Our Spiritual Strivings”
    • III:  “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others”
    • VI:  “Of the Training of Black Men”

Start Assignment

  • Due Sep 16 by 11:59pm
  • Points 250
  • Submitting a file upload

In 2008, approximately one hundred years after W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington expressed their thoughts on race and their vision for Blacks in America, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama delivered a speech that included similar themes.

1. Listen to and read this speech, entitled “A More Perfect Union.”   

MLA CITATION:  Obama, Barack. “A More Perfect Union.” BarackObamadotcom, 18 Mar. 2008,

Watch VideoREAD: 

2. Read Obama’s speech here: A More Perfect Union (Links to an external site.)

MLA CITATION:  Obama, Barack. Barack Obama Speech – The Race Speech – COMPLETE TEXT, 18 Mar. 2008,

3. Consider the key themes (such as self-reliance, race, identity, education, or other) that Obama, Du Bois, and Washington discuss.  

4.  Choose ONE of the following prompts and use it to write a 750-1000 word essay addressing three shared themes.  Feel free to use themes that you identify as important.  Here are the prompts.  You may use these verbatim in your essay:

  • THESIS STATEMENT ONE:  Barack Obama’s views are closely related to Booker T. Washington’s ideas (in terms of self-reliance, race, identity, education, other–choose only 3).
  • THESIS STATEMENT TWO:  Barack Obama’s views are closely related to W. E. B. Du Bois’ ideas (in terms of self-reliance, race, identity, education, other–choose only 3) . 
  • THESIS STATEMENT THREE:   Barack Obama’s views are closely related to Du Bois in terms of  X issue and Y issue, but they relate to Washington in terms of Z issue.  In this possibility, you can mix and match Obama’s relationship to both Du Bois and Washington using only 3 themes.


  • Be sure to use quotes from Obama’s speech—as well as from Washington and Du Bois—to support your perspective. 
  • You must explain and analyze these quotes in depth.
  • Do not simply give your overall impression of Obama’s presidency; I encourage you to remain focused on the ideas in this speech.   
  • Also, refrain from discussing the biographies of these men; you should be focused on their ideas in your essay. 

CITATIONS: Please cite in MLA format (Links to an external site.) ( (Links to an external site.)), using parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page. Please refer to the info on MLA citations here.  


  • Follow MLA formatting for your header
  • Use double spacing with a blank line between paragraphs.
  • This is a 750-1000 word essay. 
  • You must save your essay as DOC or  DOCX format so that I will be able to open the file and grade your essay.

SUBMIT your essay as a DOC or DOCX file upload.   This essay is worth up to 250 points. 

2.1 Additional Resources

2.2 Reconstruction Poetry and Prose: Cooper, Wells-Barnett, Johnson, and Dunbar 

2.2: Read: Wells-Barnett

  • Due Sep 16  by 11:59pm
  • Points None

From the Norton Anthology:

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

  • Biographical introduction
  • all excerpts from A Red Record 


Ida B. Wells Barnett 

2.2: Discussion: Wells-Barnett

No unread replies.No replies.

  • How do Wells-Barnett’s ideas about the problem of and solutions for lynching in 19th century America relate to the problem of and solutions to police brutality in 21st century America? 
    • TIPS: 
      • Begin with a one sentence thesis statement.
      • Write one paragraph about the problems and a second paragraph about the solutions.
      • Use examples from contemporary instances of police brutality, such as the death of George Floyd.  You should cite any external sources you choose to use. 
      • Be sure to use quotes from the texts to support your argument and analyze these quotes thoroughly. 
      • Properly cite your sources using MLA Works Cited and in-text citations.
      • Refer to 1.1 How to Write Discussion Posts for further advice about writing successful Discussion posts. 
  • Be sure to respond to at least 2 peers.

Note: Your original post is due by 11:59pm Saturday of the week assigned with comments by 11:59pm of Sunday of the week assigned (remember, weeks are Monday through Monday).

These Discussion Posts will help you to understand and analyze the readings and other materials in the course. They will provide an opportunity for you to discuss important topics with other students.

Each Discussion assignment carries a total of 25 points–15 for your original posting and 10 for your peer responses. 

2.2: Read: Dunbar

  • Due Sep 16 by 11:59pm
  • Points None

From the Norton Anthology:

Paul Lawrence Dunbar

  • Biographical introduction
  • All poems


Paul Lawrence Dunbar

2.2: Discussion: Dunbar’s Poetry

  1. How is Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poetry an example of the double consciousness that Du Bois writes about?  Give specific examples from at least two poems to support your point.



This is readings for Booker T Washington…