Once upon a time in Black Entrepreneur History lived an African American man named Carter G. Woodson who went on to become the founder of Negro History Week which turned into Black History Month, also known as African American History Month.
Carter Godwin Woodson’s Youth & Education
Carter Godwin Woodson was born on December 19, 1875 in the city of New Canton, Virginia as the son of formerly enslaved parents, James and Elize Woodson. He ended up a self-taught child because he was unable to attend school regularly throughout his young life, and it wasn’t until he moved to Huntington, Virginia with his brother, that he was able to gain a high school education at the age of twenty. By the age of 22, he’d already graduated from Douglas High School.
It was then that Carter Woodson went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Literature from Berea College in two years, finishing in 1901. He went on to earn both the B.A. and M.A. degrees while in Chicago from the University of Chicago, and from Harvard University, Carter G. Woodson went on to gain his Ph.D. in 1912.
Carter Godwin Woodson’s Career
Carter Godwin Woodson had a magnificent career in education. He became a teacher before becoming the principal of the high school he attended, Douglas High School. He also taught languages in Washington D.C., which he’d learned from his studies abroad in Asia and Europe, and was the Dean of Schools of Liberal Arts at Howard University as well as West Virginia State College. He was also the Supervisor of schools in the Phillippines.
In the fullness of his extensive education both in the United States and abroad, he found there was a large part of history missing. There was no African American history being taught anywhere, despite the substantial contributions African Americans, at the time called Negros, made both in the USA and across the globe. Therefore, he founded his first organization.
Carter G. Woodson’s The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History
In 1915 (September 9), Dr. Carter G. Woodson created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History to address the missing history of Negros African Americans in education. His association was founded in the city of Chicago, Illinois, and in that same year, he published his book The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861. In the following year (1916), he also began publishing the Journal of Negro History, never missing an issue. Today, this same journal is titled the Journal of African American History.
Negro History Week to Black History Month
Because of Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson’s hard, necessary work, in 1920, he founded Associated Publishers for the publication of the history of African Americans, those who are the descendants of the enslaved in the USA that were sold/stolen from Africa and sent to the USA during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. Before this, absolutely no publications printed African American History.
It was in 1926, that Negro History Week was born, launched by Carter Godwin Woodson, and it is today that we have Black History Month (1976) because the push for the celebration of African Americans grew, and finally African American historical contributions to the USA and history were being published and learned, beyond slavery, which is all anyone had every learned, in the country and globally.
Any and all publications about African Americans have a foundation in his books and journals.
Carter Godwin Woodson’s Death
Carter Godwin Woodson passed away at the age of 75 in 1950, after having put over three long decades devoted to the publication of African American history when no one else would do it. After his death, contributions poured in to continue the publications, and they continued so that the movement would go forward.
He is one of the foundational reasons why Black Entrepreneur History documents this history, specifically for African Americans, because he is the Father of Black History Month. He has been honored with numerous awards across multiple states in the USA and always honored in the hearts and minds of African Americans.
- The Selma Times-Journal (Selma, Alabama)25 Feb 1996, Sun Page 54
- The Black Dispatch (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)02 Feb 1952, Sat Page 4