Between the two viewpoints of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois about improving the lives of black Americans after the Civil War, the superior opinion is held by W.E.B. Du Bois. While Washington's plan holds merit in that it supports the idea of working together with Southern whites to improve each other as well as raising themselves through self-improvement, the rest of his message supports extreme black subservience. This harms the concept of black equality by supporting an attitude which encourages political, social, and economic complacency as a lower class. Du Bois, on the other hand, supports black self-reliance, and the idea that African Americans must strive for their own political and social progress. Du Bois' strategy is ultimately superior due to the fact that it addresses how the Southern whites will not work to improve the lives of African Americans, and that this improvement can only come from hard work on the part of African Americans to raise themselves through education and labor and to protect their rights as citizens. The idea that ultimately makes Du Bois' plan more effective is the acceptance that although cooperation with Southern whites is beneficial for both parties, it is ultimately up to African Americans to improve themselves in society and politics.