Progressive Age is all about getting towards a better life style and becoming equal for everyone. A lot of changes have been made since the progressive age such as greater equality for African Americans and women both, also there is a lot more freedom for everyone. Many of the readings in “The American Reader: Words That Move a Nation” by Diane Ravitch, Progressive Age segment paints a picture of how life use to be back many years ago. W. E. B. Du Bois wrote a very enlightening letter directed towards an African American girl about furthering her education called “Advise to a Schoolgirl” (378).
This letter can paint a picture of how scared African Americans are because of all of the prejudice towards them. Du Bois born in 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts went on and achieved his Ph. D. AT Harvard after attending Fish University. Ravitch states that Du Bois is “the most influential black intellectual in the first half of the twentieth century. ” He published his most famous book in 1903 called The Souls of Black Folk, which got people’s attention about the big problem in the early twentieth century.
Between 1910 and 1934 Du Bois was an editor of The Crisis a magazine from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. On January 7, 1905 Du Bois replies to a letter that he received from a white high school teacher from Berwyn, Pennsylvania. The letter that Du Bois received about a young African American girl, Vernealla, that is extremely smart and has the idea that she is not smart enough to further her education. The thesis statement in the letter is that she will never be as great as she can be if she does not apply herself.
With many writings during the Progressive Age it shows the many hardships that were faced during the time. In Advice to a Black Schoolgirl it shows that many African Americans did not have the chance to further their academics by going to college and being a woman during that time made the opportunity even harder. This letter is about a young African American girl that has exponential chance in furthering her schooling and is afraid to take it because of the discrimination during that time. Du Bois tries to tell her that she should take the chance by saying, “There are in the U.
Today tens of thousands of colored girls who would be happy beyond measures to have the chance of educating themselves that you are neglecting. ” Which is expressing his frustration that she is refusing to see the chance that many others would give anything to obtain. In the statement “. . . every time a colored person neglects an opportunity, it makes it more difficult for others of the race to get such an opportunity”, he is trying to explain to Vernealla that it is people like her that can help the cause of stopping discrimination and is something that other girls will look up to.
If she decides to go against her views and realize that she has the ability to help other girls make the same choice. Other girls will view her as a role model and Du Bois is trying to give her some encouragement to do what most people are afraid to do. WRITING STYLE: Unlike many of Du Bois’s other writings, this a short direct letter to Vernealla. This letter is very informal due to the fact it is directed to one person and not for audience. He does start off with a rhetorical question, “I wonder if you will let a stranger say a word to you about yourself?
” In some ways this letter is directed to her in guilt that she is not taking advantage of the opportunity of furthering her education in ways most African American women cannot. Conclusion: Even though the Progressive age has a lot of different meanings too it, to some people it used to be a time of struggle for society issues and to others it was a time of economic trouble due to classes. With all of those negative issues people still managed to stay positive through it.
African Americans were viewed as second class citizens, even though the time of slavery was over racism and inequality was still very prevalent. African Americans were not allowed to use the same bathroom, same water sink, and in some cases they were not even allowed to be patrons at the same restaurant as white people. The Progressive Age is a time that we will see African Americans stick up for what they believe is wrong and should change, also it is a time that they become more than second class citizens.
African Americans have come a long way over the years but just like women they did not have many rights. When an African American women has the chance to further her education because multiple people can see her potential really puts a strain on them during this time frame. The fear that white people have intoed on African Americans is shameful. America today with this issue is not the same because African Americans are free to do whatever they please, and unlike the progressive age hold a high position in a job setting, also they attend college.