“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better,”
- Carter G. Woodson, Excerpt from The Mis-Education of the Negro
As we begin to celebrate Black History Month, we want to make sure that we pay tribute to the person who set the stage– Carter Godwin Woodson.
Woodson was an author, journalist and historian born on December 19, 1875, in New Canton, VA. After receiving degrees from the University of Chicago (B.A.) and Harvard (PhD), Woodson along with some friends started the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915 where they produced a quarterly publication called the “Journal of Negro History”. In February of 1926, the organization started “Negro History Week”. This celebration was held on the second week of February. The reason behind choosing the second week of the month was due to the fact that the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and Frederick Douglass (February 14th) were two days apart from each other. Both persons were celebrated in the Black community. Negro History Week was not met with much popularity at first but over time educational institutions and public schools started to gain interest in working with Woodson on distributing literature about Black history. Churches also played a huge role in distribution efforts as well. As momentum gained throughout North America, it slowly became recognized as a holiday in some states.
In 1969, black educators and students alike first proposed Black History Month as an idea at Kent State University. One year after that proposal was made, Black History Month was officially celebrated at Kent State from January 2nd to February 28th. In 1976, President Gerald Ford federally recognized the month’s celebration in the United States. Now, the month-long celebration is observed or recognized in other countries such as The United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland.
Woodson’s idea for what we now know as Black History Month was inspired by his desire to make sure that black stories were being included in history– specifically American history that largely excluded mentions of the black population. He went on to write over 30 books including “The Mis-Education of the Negro” published in 1933. Today, we continue to honor his legacy by continuously raising awareness on events, places and people within the African diaspora globally.
Over the course of the month, we will be highlighting some notable black figures within our global African diaspora in hopes that we inspire each other from our past achievements and continue this celebration throughout the year.
https://news.lib.wvu.edu/2015/08/03/carter-g-woodson-the-father-of-black-history/ (image source)
https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/142122.Carter_G_Woodson (quote source)