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W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey’ Works Comparison


It is imperative to mention that the works by Du Bois and Garvey are truly fascinating, and both leaders were extremely influential. “The Souls of Black Folk” and “Africa for the African” are the ones that are especially noteworthy. Both pieces are regarded masterpieces by many scholars, and they are frequently studied to get a better understanding of positions of these authors. Moreover, authors had different perspectives on what course of actions must be taken to resolve most significant problems people of color had to deal with and preferred different approaches, but their goals were quite similar most of the time.

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It is important to understand that the primary goal of these works was to address some of the most important issues at that time, but authors believed that there are various ways in which they may be resolved. One of the most significant aspects that should not be disregarded is that Du Bois has focused on the duality of people of color. He believed that the influence of America on the culture and traditions is significant and should be acknowledged.

Moreover, Garvey has agreed that collective effort is needed because people of color have so much in common. Also, another aspect that is worth noting is that both of these authors have enormous experience in this area, and most of the suggested ideas are reasonable and comprehensive. Moreover, their views on the subject of cultural heritage were quite similar. Both Du Bois and Garvey agreed that traditions must be respected and should not be forgotten.

Furthermore, their support of Pan-Africanism is also worth noting. They believed that it is necessary to establish a particular alliance, and such relationships would help people of color to become much more self-reliant. However, it is imperative to mention that this approach was frequently criticized, and many scholars have voiced their opinion that numerous barriers that may lead to severe complications are present. Moreover, it is evident that both of them believed that the liberation of Africa is vital, and all necessary measures should be taken to address issues that were present at that time. Another similarity that needs to be discussed is that both authors have recognized that there is an enormous potential that is not fully utilized.

Also, they agreed that the education of the masses is vital because many individuals did not have an understanding of social rights movements because they did not have access to needed information. Furthermore, Du Bois wanted to ensure that every individual may be able to vote, such problem as inequality and discrimination based on the color of the skin are resolved, and young people are presented with opportunities in the workplace. It is also possible to state that his piece was also aimed at white people (Rogers 189).

Also, the focus on prejudice is also vital because it has a tremendous effect on minds of people, and one may not be capable of dealing with such discrimination and unfair treatment. The problem is that it is hard to forget events that happened in the past, and it has had an enormous impact on ideas and values of people. Moreover, he acknowledges the fact that one of the core reasons why discrimination was still present is that people of color were living in much worse conditions and several limitations that have prevented them from reaching their full potential were also present (Du Bois 55). Another similarity that has been identified is that both of them had a particular vision of the future, and they believed that cooperation is necessary if masses want something to change in the future. Garvey suggests that all the people of color must focus on freedom, and it can be achieved if every individual selects a position (Garvey 88).


On the other hand, numerous differences between their ideas also should be noted. For instance, they had a very different stance on separatism. Du Bois believed that it was unreasonable and recognized that it may not be viewed as a solution to the problems. Moreover, it was possible to see that the situation was getting better at that time, and such dramatic changes could lead to the introduction of numerous issues. Garvey preferred Black Nationalism and believed that it the only way in which problems may be resolved. The focus on religion is also quite interesting and differentiates these two works. Moreover, another aspect that is worth noting is that the authors have criticized ideas suggested by each other.

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Assimilation was viewed as a significant problem, and Garvey thought that it should not be considered as an efficient approach. The problem is that many scholars believe that the idea to create a union based on the race is not reasonable, and it only leads to more disagreements and tension. On the other hand, such movements are understandable because many people have lacked motivation, and a sense of unity is something that can be viewed as an encouragement. Moreover, one of the most important aspects of his work is that he has drawn attention to the fact that ideas that suggest that the superiority of any race should not be acceptable (Garvey 85).

The most significant difference between their approaches is that Du Bois was extremely dependent on the leadership abilities of people of color he viewed as talented and thought that the support of the white community is critical. Many individuals were willing to offer their help. Another interesting aspect that needs to be discussed is that he frequently discussed integration, but also believed that voluntary segregation is beneficial for people of color. On the other hand, Garvey thought that he is capable of leading the masses, and believed that the purity of race is the core objective, and it may be achieved with separatism. Moreover, it is important to understand that he has often focused on the return of the community to Africa, but such statements had spiritual meaning most of the time.

The problem that he had to deal with is that his nationality was frequently viewed as an issue, but it was evident that he was determined to ensure that the needs of all blacks are taken into account. However, some of the approaches suggested may be regarded questionable at this time, but it is paramount to understand that Garvey has had an enormous impact on African American community, and such aspects of his works as pride and dignity were valued the most (Shilliam 384). The problem with his approach is that he was very particular about his stance on this topic, and he believed that his ideas are the only ones that are reasonable.

Moreover, he criticizes the people that try to promote other leaders. It is paramount to understand that the freedom of choice is one of the most important aspects, and it is not possible to force someone to join a movement if they do not support it. Another difference between these two works that needs to be noted is that Du Bois frequently focuses on events and situations that occurred. On the other hand, Garvey provides various recommendations and promotes his ideas to inspire the people. The last line regarding establishing a particular government is especially interesting (Garvey 89). The leader should have understood that it could not be achieved because there are numerous differences between cultures and traditions, and such issues as language barriers could have been problematic.

On the other hand, it is entirely possible that this phrase had numerous meanings. Moreover, it is imperative to mention that many individuals at that time believed that there are numerous opportunities present in Africa, and such movements would be incredibly helpful. The problem is that Du Bois understood that the ideas suggested by Garvey were not reasonable, and such radical approaches may seem questionable most of the time. He recognized that tension between races is present, and this problem may not be resolved anytime soon. Moreover, the process may take too much time, and new issues could get introduced.

The focus on the intellectual elite is vital because the activist understood that someone has to lead the masses and should be viewed as an example. Moreover, he agreed that some policies that were introduced were beneficial, but people of color still lacked the most important rights, and he believed that leadership may not be established if young individuals are not presented with opportunities to get an education. Another issue with Garvey’s approach that needs to be discussed is that many individuals have lacked the necessary knowledge because of years of discrimination and unfair treatment, and it is not likely that a particular government could be established promptly.

It is necessary to understand that a set of policies in the United States has been developed over many years, and it is a complicated process that is influenced by numerous internal and external factors. Furthermore, it is understandable that such ideas were not supported by Du Bois, and he was frequently focused on responsibilities (Raine 323). However, the fact that Garvey was able to inspire others and have drawn attention to such problems as discrimination should not be overlooked (Asukile 42). Overall, it is evident that the ideas and opinions of Du Bois and Garvey were quite different, but they focused on the same goals most of the time. They understood that discrimination and unfair treatment are the biggest problems for people of color, and something needs to be done.

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In conclusion, it is evident that there are enormous differences between these pieces, but several similarities are also worth noting. The importance of these works should not be overlooked, and they had a significant impact on the society. Moreover, the situation has been getting better over the years, but the problem is that many issues still need to be addressed. Also, these leaders have inspired millions of people, and it has led to the creation of numerous movements that were quite influential. Furthermore, these works need to be studied to get a better understanding of the progress that has been made, and which areas are in need of improvement.

Works Cited

Asukile, Thabiti. “Joel Augustus Rogers’ Reflection and End of Life Admiration of Marcus Garvey in New York.” Afro-Americans in New York Life and History 37.2 (2013): 41-79. ProQuest. Web.

Du Bois, William E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. New York, NY: The Modern Library, 2003. Print.

Garvey, Marcus. “Africa for the Africans.” Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology. Ed. Venetria K. Patton, and Maureen Honey. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010. 83-89. Print.

Raine, Anne. “Du Bois’s Ambient Poetics: Rethinking Environmental Imagination in the Souls of Black Folk.” Callaloo 36.2 (2013): 322,341,507. ProQuest. Web.

Rogers, Melvin L. “The People, Rhetoric, and Affect: On the Political Force of Du Bois’s the Souls of Black Folk.” The American Political Science Review 106.1 (2012): 188-203. ProQuest. Web.

Shilliam, Robbie. “What about Marcus Garvey? Race and the Transformation of Sovereignty Debate.” Review of International Studies 32.3 (2006): 379. ProQuest. Web.

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