African American History Month
Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Carter G. Woodson, known as the "Father of African
History," created several key organizations and founded
Negro History Week (precursor to African American History Month). His
life was build around sharing the message was that African
should be proud of their heritage and that it was important
for other Americans it.
Born in New Canton, Buckingham County, Virginia to former
slaves Anne Eliza (Riddle) and James Henry Woodson, Carter G.
Woodson cited his father as a major influence in his
life. Though, as slaves, his parents were never taught
to read or write, they shared life experiences and
wisdom. Years later, Woodson wrote of his father
stressed that "learning to accept insult, to compromise
on principle, to mislead your fellow man, or to betray your
people, is to lose your soul."
Like many African Americans of his generation, economic
hardships prevented Woodson from pursuing the formal education
that he and his family wanted. Carter, as a young man,
taught himself the core academic subjects that were typically taught
in school. This instilled a love of life-long
learning. At 17, he moved to Huntington, West Virginia,
with his brother, Robert Henry. They hoped to attend the
Douglass High School.
Again, economics dictated that he support himself
financially. He work3ed as a miner in Fayette County
coal fields. Hard, demanding work, he was able to devote
only a few months each year to his schooling. This did
not stop him, however, he received his diploma in 1895, in
less than two years.
He worked in education, as a school teacher and then
principal and earned his Bachelor of Literature degree from
Berea College, Kentucky. He then spent much of his life
working in the Philippines and Later he traveling throughout
Europe and Asia, studying at the Sorbonne University in Paris.
In 1908, he received his M.A. from the University of
Chicago. In 1912, he received his Ph.D. in history from
Dr. Woodson held an important philosophy of history. Period
textbooks of his time intentionally minimized the role of
Africans and African Americans. He saw this as an
injustice to all Americans. Not only were important
facts left out, Dr. Woodson believed that historical study
must go beyond dates and names and interpret facts.
Meaningful history must present descriptions of the social
Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life
and History and the Journal of Negro History, one of the
oldest learned journals in the United States. He promoted
Negro History Week in 1937, publishing the first issue of the
Negro History Bulletin.
While a strong advocate for more diversity and inclusion
within the study of histry, Dr. Woodson hoped the time would
come when Negro History Week would be unnecessary -- it would
be integrated in our views of the historical development of
our country and culture. Recognizing the contributions
of African Americans as a legitimate and integral part of the
history of this country. The places, people, and events
that influenced our nation would be studied and accepted on
the merits of their significant to all Americans.
One does not simply rewrite history overnight; nor it it
accomplished in one lifetime. Dr. Woodson's inspired
others to carry on his work. Today, the study of African
American history is widely accepted as an important topic of
intellectual inquiry. Many believe that the most
important contribution that Dr. Woodson gave us is a deep and
justified sense of dignity to all African Americans, cultivating
pride in the rich heritage of diverse Americans.
By Bill Breitsprecher
All Rights Reserved
Books By Dr. Carter G. Woodson
African heroes and heroines. Washington: Associated Publishers, 1939.
The African background outlined. Washington: ASNLH., 1936.
The education of the negro prior to 1861: a history of the education of the colored people of the United States from the beginning of slavery to the Civil War.
New York: Putnam's, 1915.
A century of negro migration. Washington, D.C.: ASNLH., 1918.
The history of the negro church. Washington, D.C.: Associated Publishers, 1921.
The mis-education of the negro. Washington: Associated Publishers, 1933. Repr. AMS Press, 1972.
The negro in our history. Washington, D.C.: Associated Publishers, 1922. E185.9 .W89 1970
Free negro owners of slaves in the United States in 1830: together with absentee ownership of slaves in the United States in 1830, ed. Washington: ASNLH., 1924; Repr. Negro Univ. Press.
Free negro heads of families in the United States in 1830: together with brief treatment of the free negro. Washington: ASNLH., 1925.
Negro orators and their orations, ed. Washington: Associated Publishers, 1926The Mind Of The Negro As Reflected In Letters Written During The Crisis, 1800-1860, ed. Washington:
Negro Makers of History. Washington: Associated Publishers, 1928.
African myths together with proverbs: a supplementary reader composed of folk tales from various parts of Africa. Adapted to use of children in the public schools. Washington: Associated Publishers, 1928.
The negro as a businessman, joint author with John H. Harmon, Jr. and Arnett G. Lindsay. Washington: Associated Publishers, 1929.
The negro wage earner, joint author with Lorenzo J. Greene. Washington:
The negro professional man and the community: with special emphasis on the physician and the lawyer. Washington: ASNLH., 1934
The rural negro. Washington: ASNLH., 1930. Repr. Russell, 1969.
The story of the negro retold. Washington: Association Publishers, 1935.
Periodical Articles by Dr. Carter G. Woodson
"The Negroes of Cincinnati Prior to the Civil War." Journal of Negro
History, 1(January, 1916): 1-22.
"Freedom and Slavery in Appalachian America." Journal of Negro
History, 1(April, 1916): 132-150.
"The Beginnings of the Miscegenation of the Whites and Blacks."
Journal of Negro History, 3(October, 1918): 335-353.
"Negro Life and History in Our Schools." Journal of Negro
History, 4(July, 1919): 273-280.
"The Relations of Negroes and Indians in Massachusetts." Journal of Negro
History, 5(January, 1920): 44-57.
"Fifty Years of Negro Citizenship as Qualified by the United States Supreme Court."
Journal of Negro History, 6(January, 1921): 1-53.
"Early Negro Education in West Virginia." Journal of Negro
History, 7(January, 1922): 23-63.
"Ten Years of Collecting and Publishing the Records of the Negro." Journal of Negro
History, 10(October, 1925): 598-606.
"Negro History Week." Journal of Negro History, 11(April, 1926): 238.
"Emma Frances Grayson Merritt." Opportunity, 8(1930): 244-45.
"15 Outstanding Events in Negro History." Ebony, 5(February, 1950): 42-46.
"A Health Venture with Negro Management." Southern
Workman, 60(1931): 518-24.
"Journalism in Schools." Howard University Record, 14(may, 1920): 356-366.
"The Mis-Education of the Negro." Crisis, 38(August, 1931): 266-67.
"Negro Labor in the United States, 1850-1925." by Charles H. Wesley Ph.D.,
American Historical Review, 33(1927): 154-56.
"Some Things Negroes Need to Do." Southern Workman, 51(January, 1922): 33-36.
"An Accounting of Twenty-Five Years." Journal of Negro
History, 25(October, 1940): 422-431.
"The Anniversary Celebrated." Negro History Bulletin, (June, 1941): 198-199.
"The Negro in New England." Negro History Bulletin, 5(October, 1945): 421-431.
"Notes on the Bakongo." Journal of Negro History, 30(October, 1945): 421-431.
"Egypt." Negro History Bulletin, 13(November, 1949): 39-45; (December, 1949): 62-70; (January, 1950): 95.
"Thaddeus Stevens: Crusader." Negro History Bulletin, 13(December, 1949): 51-52.