Dr. Carter G. Woodson

“Carter G. Woodson was a scholar whose dedication to celebrating the historic contributions of Black people led to the establishment of Black History Month, marked every February since 1976. Woodson fervently believed that Black people should be proud of their heritage and all Americans should understand the largely overlooked achievements of Black Americans.”

Dr. Woodson’s parents were illiterate former slaves and growing up in W. VA, he needed to work, first on the farm farm and later in the coal mines, to help his family.  He did not begin high school until the age of 20 but he was able to complete the degree in two years.

“In addition to earning a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, he became the second Black American, after W.E.B. Du Bois, to obtain a Ph.D. degree from Harvard University. He joined the faculty of Howard University, eventually serving as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences”.

Working as an educator, though not allowed to attend professional conferences because of his race, it became clear to him that “African-American contributions ‘overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them’.”

To counter that, “Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915 in Chicago, describing its mission as the scientific study of the ‘neglected aspects of Negro life and history’.”

In 1926 he launched Negro History Week in the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Woodson’s concept was later expanded into Black History Month.  Dr. Woodson was also a prolific writer, authoring “many books on Black history, including the A Century of Negro Migration (1918), The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 (1919), The History of the Negro Church (1921), and The Negro in Our History (1922).”

All of the above was taken from NAACP website: https://naacp.org/find-resources/history-explained/civil-rights-leaders/carter-g-woodson