GRE Question of the Day (November 14)

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Given the persistent and intransigent nature of the American race system, which proved quite impervious to black attacks, Lent Du Bois in his speeches and writings moved from one proposed solution to another, and the salience of various parts of his philosophy changed as his perceptions of the needs and strategies of black America shifted over time. Aloof and autonomous in his personality, Du Bois did not hesitate to depart markedly from whatever was the current mainstream of black thinking when he perceived that the conventional wisdom being enunciated by black spokesmen was proving inadequate to the task of advancing the race. His willingness to seek different solutions often placed him well in advance of his contemporaries and this, combined with a strong-willed, even arrogant personality made his career as a black leader essentially a series of stormy conflicts.

Thus Du Bois first achieved his role as a major black leader in the controversy that arose over the program of Booker T. Washington, the most prominent and influential black leader at the opening of the twentieth century. Amidst the wave of lynchings, disfranchisement, and segregation laws, Washington, seeking the good will of powerful whites, taught blacks not to protest against discrimination, but to elevate themselves through industrial education, hard work, and property accumulation; then, they would ultimately obtain recognition of their citizenship rights. At first Du Bois agreed with this gradualist strategy, but in 1903 with the publication of his most influential book, Souls of Black Folk, he became the chief leader of the onslaught against Washington that polarized the black community into two wings—the “conservative” supporters of Washington and his “radical” critics.

Which of the following statements about W. E. B. Du Bois does the passage best support?

A) He sacrificed the proven strategies of earlier black leaders to his craving for political novelty.
B) Preferring conflict CO harmony, he fol-lowed a disruptive course that alienated him from the bulk of his followers.
C) He proved unable to change with the times in mounting fresh attacks against white racism.
D) He relied on the fundamental benevolence of the white population for the eventual success of his movement.
E) Once an adherent of Washington’s policies, he ultimately lost patience with them for their inefficacy.

Correct Answer – E – (click and drag your mouse to see the answer)

It can be inferred that Booker T Washington in comparison with W. E. B. Du Bois could be described as all of the following EXCEPT:

A) submissive to the majority
B) concerned with financial success
C) versatile in adopting strategies
D) traditional in preaching industry
E) respectful of authority

Correct Answer – C – (click and drag your mouse to see the answer)

The author’s attitude towards Du Bois’s departure from conventional black policies can best be described as

A) skeptical
B) derisive
C) shocked
D) approving
E) resigned

Correct Answer – D – (click and drag your mouse to see the answer)


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