Carter G. Woodson, Historian
Carter G. Woodson was born in 1875 in New Canton, Virginia. One of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate from Harvard, Woodson dedicated his career to the field of African-American history and lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide institution. He also wrote many historical works, including the Carter Godwin Woodson was born on 1875 in New Canton, Virginia to Anna Eliza and James Woodson. The first son of nine children, the young Woodson worked as a sharecropper and a miner to help his family. He began high school in his late teens and proved to be an excellent student, completing a four-year course of study in less than two years.
After attending Berea College in Kentucky, Woodson worked for the U.S. government as an education superintendent in the Philippines and undertook more travels before returning to the U.S. Woodson then earned his bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Chicago and went on to receive a doctorate from Harvard University in 1912—becoming the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from the prestigious institution, after W.E.B. Du Bois. After finishing his education, Woodson dedicated himself to the field of African-American history, working to make sure that the subject was taught in schools and studied by scholars. For his efforts, Woodson is often known as the “Father of Black History”
A Word on Black History Month: Today marks the beginning of Black History Month. While I appreciate the sentiment and I recognize the need at the time for such a month. It is my view that Black History should be celebrated and recognized all year around. Carter G. Woodson began “Negro History Week” in the hopes that one day it would be ended when people recognized that Black History IS American history. I came to that concluson decades ago. The reason I post so much Black history on this blog is because in my view, our history is being revised in ways that are unnacceptable. Further, I do not believe our history is being taught to empower African Americans. It should not be forgotten that as early as two years ago the Texas Board of Education tried to pretend slavery never happened by proposing to call it the "Atlantic Triangular Trade". Nor should it be forgotten that Malcolm X, one of the most revered and important African Americans in American history continues to have his legacy attacked; with some calling his biography a “work of fiction”. Malcolm spoke famously about these folks.
Another reason why I post so much black history is because I had a 3rd grade teacher named Ms. Hazzard at PS 200 in Harlem who understood the power of history. Our classroom was covered in accomplished African Americans and she made sure that not only did we know them all but that there was no reason why we could not be one of those people. If you grew up in Harlem at that time, then you know that’s not a small deal. She didn’t start putting up pictures and teaching us our history in Feburary…that began in September when the school year began. Just like Black history did not begin with slavery, the celebration and recognition of it for me does not begin in February. No history post I post will ever be in celebration of Black History Month.