Celebration of Dr. Carter G. Woodson ~ The Father of Black History
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
For over 52 years, we have celebrated Black History Month. During the month of February, the US recognizes the history and accomplishments of African American people.
While celebrating Black History Month, it would be remised of us not to also celebrate the man who we all know as the ‘Father of Black History’, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
Born the of son of a former enslaved couple, Dr. Woodson had to put off schooling while he worked in the coal mines. He eventually graduated in 1912, the second African American (W.E.B. Du Bois being the first) to obtain a PhD from Harvard University.
Dr. Woodson was an American historian, an author, a journalist, and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Dr. Woodson was one of the first scholars to study the history of the African diaspora and African American history. To add to his writing experience, Dr. Woodson founded The Journal of Negro History.
On February 7, 1962, Dr. Woodson launched ‘Negro History Week’. His purpose was to encourage people of all ethnic and social backgrounds to discuss and learn about the experiences of Black people. Although many people know Dr. Woodson, many do not know that he chose to celebrate this week-long observance in February because the month included the birthdays of President Lincoln and Frederick Douglass (a social reformer). Dr. Woodson believed that these gentlemen played a great role in ending the enslavement of African people, making February the best month to implement such a wonderful week of celebration.
During the last 1960s, the civil rights movement and the increased awareness of ‘Black identity’, Negro History Week evolved into Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month sharing that it would be an “opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.
It is important for everyone to learn all that we can about those who have played a role in US history. People of African descent, those who were on US soil before and after enslavement, are people of wonder and should be recognized as such. We should explore Black history every day of the year, but if nothing else, be sure to share with our young people each day throughout the month of February.
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