Dr. Carter Woodson
This and that

Black History Month- Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson



-December 19, 1875- April 3, 1950

-Founder of Black History

-Historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study African American Life and History

-Founder of the Journal of Negro History, now called The Journal of African-American History

-Coming from a large, poor family, he could not regularly attend school. Through self-instruction, Woodson mastered the fundamentals of common school subjects by age 17.

-Convinced that the role of his own people in American history and in the history of other cultures was being ignored or misrepresented among scholars.

-He realized the need for research into the neglected past of African Americans.

-His final professional appointment in West Virginia was as the Dean of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute, now West Virginia State University, from 1920–22.

-He studied many aspects of African-American history. For instance, in 1924, he published the first survey of free black slaveowners.

-He became affiliated with the Washington D.C. branch of the NAACP, and its chairman Archibald Grimke. On January 28, 1915, he wrote a letter to Grimké expressing his dissatisfaction with activities.

-He made two proposals:

  1. That the branch secure an office for a center to which persons may report whatever concerns the black race may have, and from which the Association may extend its operations into every part of the city; and
  2. That a canvasser be appointed to enlist members and obtain subscriptions for The Crisis, the NAACP magazine edited by W.E.B. DuBois.

-His difference of opinion with Grimké, who wanted a more conservative course, contributed to Woodson’s ending his affiliation with the NAACP.

-He worked to preserve the history of African Americans and accumulated a collection of thousands of artifacts and publications.

-He noted that African American contributions “were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.”

-Race prejudice, he concluded, “is merely the logical result of tradition, the inevitable outcome of thorough instruction to the effect that the Negro has never contributed anything to the progress of mankind.”

-In 1926, he pioneered the celebration of “Negro History Week”, designated for the second week in February, to coincide with marking the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass.

-The week of recognition became accepted and has been extended as the full month of February, now known as Black History Month.

-In 1992, the Library of Congress held an exhibition entitled “Moving Back Barriers: The Legacy of Carter G. Woodson”. Woodson had donated his collection of 5,000 items from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries to the Library.

-His Washington D.C. home has been preserved and designated the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site.

-In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante named Carter G. Woodson on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.

-Has countless places named after him including: parks, schools, roads and museums.

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