The W.E.B. Dubois Recipe for Student Success

The W.E.B. Dubois Recipe for Student Success



The renowned civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois inspired a generation of African American students to strive for excellence in all aspects of their lives from the academic to the social. He was the foremost proponent of the concept of the "Talented Tenth," or the idea that a select few of the African American population could be educated and prepared to assume positions of leadership with the responsibility of advancing the race. 


Through his writings, Du Bois proposed a recipe for student success that emphasized the importance of developing employable skills, social leadership, academic achievement, and economic intelligence as essential keys to African American prosperity. In this article, we will explore how we can apply this recipe to modern students to ensure their success.


Overview of W.E.B. Dubois' recipe for student success



W.E.B. Du Bois is remembered as a great leader, educator, and civil rights activist in the fight for racial equality. As an advocate for education and opportunity for all people, he was particularly influential in the development of education initiatives for African Americans in the early twentieth century.


 He wrote ‘The W.E.B Dubois Recipe for Student Success’ in which he set out his blueprint for how to provide young people with access to quality education and maximize their learning outcomes at school using three key principles: self-discipline, industriousness, and ambition.


Self-Discipline: W E B Du Bois believed that self-discipline was one of the most important psychological foundations of student success. He thought that self-discipline could be taught through methods like moral instruction by teachers and through positive reinforcement from parents or other adults in a young person’s life.


Industriousness: This refers to a willingness to study hard and be productive with time outside of school lessons. Dubois advocated regular setting of educational goals by students and actively engaging within their homework rather than just passively listening to the teacher’s lectures during class time alone. 


Ambition: To instill a sense of ambition among students, Du Bois argued that they must be exposed to what is possible if they work hard at school including being exposed to models of success from outside their own communities who can serve as inspiration examples towards setting achievable goals `for themselves.



Academic Achievement


W.E.B. Dubois (1868-1963) was an African American sociologist, civil rights activist, and one of the foremost Pan-Africanists of the 20th century. Dubois believed that education was the key to African American prosperity and success. He called on African Americans to pursue academic achievement as a path to success. 


He envisioned the development of a "Talented Tenth" of well-educated African Americans who would serve as examples of success in their social and professional circles. In this article, we'll discuss the strategies that Du Bois proposed for achieving academic success.



Emphasis on higher education



As part of his platform for economic success, W.E.B. Du Bois particularly highlighted the importance of higher education in his recipe for excellence in African Americans. 


He argued that education was essential to inspiring ambition and self-improvement in younger generations and that without a college degree, many African Americans would lack the motivation to achieve great things despite the adversity they faced.


Du Bois advocated providing traditional university education to African American students so that they could become literate and knowledgeable citizens willing to contribute their unique insight into the modern world. He believed that studying abroad should be actively encouraged among African-American students as it would grant them a wider knowledge base than is traditionally offered on native soil.


He also stressed the importance of learning both practical and theoretical skills so that students could fully develop their potential while also gaining fundamental skills employers might value, such as familiarity with software or coding languages. 


To Du Bois, development of these abilities was an essential part of building opportunities for post-educational careers in STEM fields and other highly coveted areas of expertise.


Overall, W.E.B Dubois's vision for academic achievement saw education as a key tool for nurturing greater personal and collective success among African-Americans, regardless of prejudice or systemic racism standing in their way.



Pursuing a college degree


Pursuing a college degree can be a difficult journey, yet doing so can bring amazing rewards. It is an opportunity to gain knowledge and study topics you're passionate about in a way that's most meaningful for you. With hard work and determination, you will be compensated for the effort you put into higher education, including the ability to secure higher-paying employment and future career advancement opportunities


First, when taking on the challenge of college education - start by planning ahead. Understand which steps are needed in order to secure admission into the college of your choice. Research relevant colleges and universities near your area, or even options abroad if desired, consider if they match with your academic ambition.


 You may need to demonstrate satisfactory completion of high school requirements before starting college, such as passing standardized tests like ACT or SAT with required scores or reviewing international requirements if applicable..


Then narrow down your preferences by researching factors like course availability. Determine what specific classes align with the subject matter offered that best fits your personal interests—and take at look at tuition fees. Do not forget to evaluate diplomas and certifications towards both degrees and other technical certification programs offered that may apply towards your chosen field of study and lead to job opportunities upon graduating from college.


Finally – utilize support systems like mentorships from organizations such as W. E. B. Du Bois Society designed specifically to help students achieve their goals in educational success as well stepping out of their comfort zone and reaching out for help financially is necessary when pursuing this academic milestone


 Scholarships and grants are worth considering as an aid towards paying for both tuition costs and other miscellaneous expenses that come along with pursuing higher education such as room & board or outstanding collegiate fees & fines prior to graduation day.  Above all never give up--staying open minded in considering resources available will ultimately pay off!



Developing employable skills


In addition to setting academic goals, any successful recipe for student success will include support for developing employable skills. This can be accomplished through participation in internships and other experiential learning opportunities, career mentoring, and exposing students to professionals in a variety of fields.


It is also important to provide students with an understanding of workplace dynamics. Soft skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and interpersonal communication are essential qualities to achieving success in academics and beyond.


 Additionally, students should become aware of the different work cultures that exist across different industries so they can better understand how their performance will be evaluated in the professional world.


In order to gain these qualities while attending college or university programs, most institutions now have career services available for all students. These services can help scholars network with recruiters through internships or job fairs assisting them in building their resumes for future employment. Additionally, counselors are able to offer advice on topics such as transitioning into the job market and preparing for interviews – both valuable experiences that will build critical skills needed upon graduation and beyond.



Social Leadership


W.E.B. Dubois' recipe for student success highlights the importance of social leadership in college readiness and employable skills. Social leadership is based on the idea that educating the elite, or "Talented Tenth" of African Americans, would lead to greater social and economic advancement of the entire community. 


Dubois' recipe for student success stresses the importance of academic achievement, economic intelligence, and social leadership in order for African Americans to become more prosperous and successful. Therefore, his recipe for student success places a strong emphasis on building strong social leadership skills.



Establishing the concept of the "Talented Tenth"



W.E.B. Du Bois established the concept of the “Talented Tenth” which was a phrase he used to describe those members of the African-American community who were seen as the most intellectually talented and had the best chance of making something of themselves and becoming agents of social change within their communities. 


Du Bois felt that while it would take increasing social and economic opportunities for Blacks as a whole to make significant improvements in their lives, it would also take exceptional individuals taking on an enhanced leadership role in their families, communities, and ultimately across all aspects of American life.


The “Talented Tenth” became a rallying cry for Black educators like Du Bois whose rhetoric for student success acknowledged that everyone can be successful if given tools to achieve success - but that only some students will possess the qualities necessary to truly lead their society forward. 


The idea behind this was that about one in ten individuals were exceptional enough to become leaders who could bring about education reform, motivate others to strive beyond current standards, create equal opportunities, push others towards empowerment and so on.  As part of his call for action against racism, Du Bois proposed that these segmented yet talented individuals should be identified early on as they are key to ensuring long-term advancement in civil rights issues within both black and white communities alike.



Fostering a sense of community



Fostering a sense of community within and among student groups is important in developing successful leadership. One way to accomplish this is through meaningful interaction between students and adults, both informally and officially.


Informal interaction can take several forms, such as open conversations with teachers during lunch or free periods, organized get-togethers outside of school hours, mentoring relationships with adults in the community, workshops aimed at helping students explore their interests and abilities or just generally engaging with them in casual discussion about life experiences or current events. 


Official interaction might include having guest speakers discuss topics relevant to the school's mission; giving presentations during class time that facilitate small group discussions on themes; sponsoring seminars on topics related to leadership development; offering alternative activities such as debate teams or golf teams; giving awards for outstanding achievement; involving parents in school-wide events like picnics or field trips; and providing a forum for dialogue about issues among members of different student groups. 


All of these activities should help create a sense of belonging within the student population by creating opportunities for building trusts between individuals and actively cultivating respect for diverse opinions and backgrounds. This will empower students to work together to identify common goals they can strive toward while feeling confident they have the support of their peers. 


Ultimately, creating an environment conducive to social leadership will provide students with the necessary skills needed in order to become successful leaders who are capable of peacefully navigating differences when necessary.



Empowering African American youth


Empowerment of African American youth is a key component of the W.E.B. Du Bois’ recipe for student success. Dubois believed that education was vital to the upliftment and revitalization of African Americans, and he encouraged the development of a robust support structure within schools and communities–one that was free from racism–to provide students with the greatest possible opportunities for success. 


The leadership qualities that Du Bois stressed were not limited to academics or academics-related activities; he wanted students to understand civic responsibilities as well. To this end, he advocated for “voter education” courses in high schools and colleges, believing this to be one of the best ways to help young people gain the knowledge needed for successful voting and participating in their local governments.


 Dubois also highlighted the importance of African American churches as a spiritual center for nurturing moral rectitude among younger generations, citing their value in offering instructional resources to individuals from all backgrounds within a community as well as providing learning opportunities through educational services they may provide.


By encouraging young people's involvement in volunteer efforts and extracurricular activities outside of academia—from mentorship programs to sports teams—Du Bois sought to reinforce strong values within African American youth while giving them necessary outlets for creative expression and developing their character traits needed to become empowered adults and leaders themselves one day. 


Not only did these attributes prepare them mentally, but actively engaging in their communities allowed them tangible social experiences, which would further develop character strengths over time strengthening student success even more so than just academia alone could provide. 



Economic Intelligence


W.E.B. Du Bois, a key figure in the civil rights movement, proposed the idea of the "Talented Tenth" to help African Americans become economically prosperous. His goal for the Talented Tenth was to equip this group with employable skills, academic achievement, and economic intelligence so that they could become socially and economically successful. In this heading, we will discuss the ways that Dubois sought to cultivate economic intelligence in the Talented Tenth.



Understanding the importance of financial literacy



The ability to make sound financial decisions is an essential life skill that everyone must develop. Financial literacy starts with knowing the fundamentals and understanding the concepts related to money, such as saving and budgeting, debt management and financial planning.


Financial literacy is necessary for economic stability because it enables individuals to efficiently manage their finances and make informed decisions with regards to their money. Good financial habits are necessary in order to create a secure future. By inculcating positive financial habits now, individuals are able to prepare for their future without needing additional aid or guidance.


Understanding economics also helps students make informed decisions about personal matters such as career paths and college choices so they can be well prepared for life's eventualities. 


Learning economics also provides a better understanding of public policy issues that affect the nation's overall economy and welfare of its citizens, allowing them to critically assess news stories related to those topics. Being polite and understanding of other people’s cultural differences will create a more peaceful society in which different beliefs can co-exist harmoniously. 


It is important for young people today to understand how economic systems work so that they can intelligently navigate their way through life’s monetary concerns as well as tackle larger problems on both a national and global level in order create positive changes in our world today. 


Financial literacy is key ingredient in W.E.B Du Bois recipe for student success; preparing students theoretically as well as practically while empowering them financially so they may have greater control over their lives, unlocking potential pathways otherwise unknown or deemed too risky due to lack of skill or confidence.



Preparing for economic independence



Preparation for economic independence is an important life skill for students to learn. By developing the skills to become financially responsible, students can create financial stability, grow their assets over time, and develop their own businesses and goals. To achieve this level of preparedness, W.E.B. Du Bois recommends a three-part recipe for student success:


W.E.B. Du Bois' 3-part recipe for student success


  1. Understanding Your Financial Position - The first step towards financial independence is understanding your current financial situation and goals so you can make informed decisions about where your money is going and what investments you should make in the future.
  2.  Building an Asset Portfolio - To build wealth over the long-term, building up a portfolio of assets - including savings accounts, real estate investments, stocks, and mutual funds – is essential. It is important to diversify investments so that when some areas don’t run as well at a certain time, other areas can build your portfolio. 
  3.  Practicing Financial Intelligence - To manage these assets with confidence and success requires knowledge of the financial markets and making sound decisions by analyzing trends in investment activities like trading stocks and bonds for optimal returns on investments (ROI) to maximize earnings potential without taking on too much risk or incurring any significant losses. 


Ultimately, adept fiscal knowledge empowers students to make informed choices about their economic future that will secure their independence by minimizing debt while maximizing earning potential thereby putting them in command of their financial destiny with independent decision-making capabilities free from outside influences or bouts of reckless spending habits that impede future progress or educational goals.



Investing in the future of African Americans


In the late 1800s and early 1900s, W. E. B. Du Bois was a renowned scholar, activist, and sociologist who championed the cause of African Americans through his prolific writing. He focused on the importance of economic intelligence as an essential component to aiding African Americans in achieving social and economic equality in a segregated society.


Du Bois' recipe for student success began with developing strong academic skills coupled with valuable knowledge of economics. With a strong foundation of both, students could help their peers rise out of poverty, address unjust laws, and create resources to build the wealth that future generations deserved.


Du Bois felt that by increasing access to tools such as financial literacy courses and education related to banking and investing, African Americans would become economically viable citizens who could then have an influence on broader policy issues related to sharing in the nation's prosperity. He believed that empowering individuals within their communities was essential for achieving social mobility and true equity.


By promoting economic integration among all races and advancing educational opportunities within underserved communities, W.E.B Du Bois stirred up meaningful conversations about economic disparities in America between different classes of people—an issue he tackles quite frequently in his writings on race relations over the last century.



Keys to African American Prosperity


W.E.B. Du Bois was a leading civil rights activist and educator who proposed a recipe for student success that he believed could be the key to African American prosperity. Du Bois proposed the concept of the "Talented Tenth," a strategy for African American economic, social and intellectual advancement. 


His recipe for student success combined college readiness, employable skills, social leadership, and academic achievement to prepare African Americans for economic intelligence and success. In this article, we will explore Du Bois' recipe for student success and analyze the essential elements for African American prosperity.


Developing a strong work ethic



Developing a strong work ethic is an important part of achieving success in any field, but it is especially important for African Americans who, historically, have had to face numerous obstacles that their counterparts in the majority population might never confront. W.E.B. Du Bois believed that this was the key to elimination institutionalized inequality: by preparing its citizens to excel without constraints and to rise above their less-than-equal circumstances through hard work and dedication.


Du Bois’ formula for African American prosperity was based on three elements: self-respect, meritorious effort, and lasting achievement. Self respect was essential because it provided individuals with the motivation needed to take responsibility for their own accomplishments rather than attributing them to external factors such as racial discrimination. It also allowed individuals to nurture their talents more fully since they knew that these talents could open doors previously closed due to racism and prejudice.


 Meritorious effort would include actively keeping up with studies and working diligently outside of school hours if necessary – even when a helping hand was not offered - in order to achieve tangible results in course projects or vocation responsibilities. These efforts should be punctuated by lasting achievements so that individuals can put forth a clear manifestation of successful endeavors over time and hence formulate a solid basis for future aspirations and career growth prospects. 


By applying this formula consistently over time, DuBois believed that any young person could overcome seeming minor individual disadvantages or hindrances resulting from marginal societal conditions currently beyond his or her control – poverty, racial prejudice, inadequate education systems etc. – today’s investments become tomorrow’s potential bridgebuilders toward access of better opportunities for all people regardless of race or socio-economic background.


Encouraging self-reliance


Encouraging self-reliance among African American youth is a key factor in promoting both social and economic stability. Self-reliance begins with an understanding of one's abilities and worth, which leads to confidence in decision making and the ability to recognize opportunities. This approach to success is essential for students to reach their full potential and achieve long-term success. 


Building confidence starts with creating a safe learning space where students can make mistakes without fear or judgment, providing access to mentors that serve as role models, and emphasizing cultural pride by celebrating significant contributions of past generations. Students should also be encouraged to take risks with new ideas as well as becoming civically engaged in order to gain an understanding of how their actions affect the larger society


By instilling these fundamental lessons within young people, they will gain an awareness of themselves as individuals capable of making choices that will impact their communities, families, businesses, and ultimately the nation at large. With guidance from teachers and parents coupled with knowledge, they possess skills worthy of recognition. African American students can turn self-reliance into self growth and prosperity.



Promoting college readiness



Promoting college readiness among African American students is an important step towards improving overall economic prosperity. Taking measures to ensure educational equity does not end at the high school level, but rather extends far into college and beyond. 


One way to ensure African American students have the best chance of success in college is through encouraging early exposure to a broad array of cultural and academic opportunities. Parental involvement plays a critical role in this process, as well as exposing students to resources such as summer educational programs and early enrollment in advanced placement classes starting in middle school. 


College planning also becomes essential when striving for success, especially during the junior year when students start applying for colleges, researching financial aid options, and studying for the SAT or ACT tests. A successful application process hinges on understanding the admissions cycle with early preparation for transcripts and appropriate standardized tests being key components for success. 


Finally, providing African American high schoolers with access to college advisement services can provide support from mentors and role models who have personally experienced higher education


Connecting with adults who are dedicated to helping guide students through their academic careers can be instrumental in goal setting, staying motivated academically, managing life after graduation, and reducing financial burdens associated with college debt so that post-secondary plans become a reality rather than a dream deferred.

Andrew Callaway

Article by Andrew Callaway

Published 01 Apr 2023