Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Carter G. Woodson-Father of Black History
Carter Godwin Woodson was an African-American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Woodson was one of the 1st scholars to study African-American history. A founder of Journal of Negro History in 1916, Woodson has been cited as the Father of black history. In February 1926 he announced the celebration of "Negro History Week", considered the precursor of Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson was born the son of former slaves, James and Eliza Riddle Woodson. His father helped Union soldiers during the Civil War and moved his family to West Virginia when he heard that Huntington was building a high school for blacks. Carter Woodson could not regularly attend school, but through self-instruction, Woodson mastered the fundamentals of common school subjects by age 17. In 1895, at the age of 20, Woodson entered Douglass High School, where he received his diploma. In 1900 he was selected as the principal of Douglass High School. He earned his Bachelor of Literature degree from Berea College in Kentucky in 1903. He attended the University of Chicago, where he was awarded an A.B. and A.M. in 1908. He was a member of the first black fraternity Sigma Pi Phi and a member of Omega Psi Phi. He completed his PhD in history at Harvard University in 1912. Convinced that the role of African American history and the history of other cultures was being ignored or misrepresented among scholars, Woodson saw a need for research into the neglected past of African Americans. Along with Alexander L. Jackson, Woodson published The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 in 1915. Woodson would later promote the first Negro History Week in Washington, D.C., in 1926, forerunner of Black History Month.