Name: Carter G Woodson
Born: 19 December 1875
Titles: PhD (Harvard)
Passed: 3 April 1950
Place of birth: New Canton, Virginia, Paris
Residencies: USA, Paris
Known for: Father of USA Black History Month, author, editor, publisher and historian
Carter G Woodson it is reported was born in New Canton, Buckingham County, Virginia. His parents Anne Eliza (Riddle) and James Henry Woodson were former slaves.
According to sources Carter felt that black people should know their past in order to participate intelligently in the affairs in the country.
It is said that Carter believed that black history is a firm foundation for young blacks to build on in order to become productive citizens of our society.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is of the strong view that Carter G Woodson is the ‘Father of Black History,’ and held an outstanding position in early 20 th century American history.
Carter came from very poor beginnings but realised the importance of education, and over the course of his lifetime obtained various degrees including a PhD in history from Harvard University. Sources says that Carter was the second black American to receive a PhD in history from Harvard. The first was W.E.B Du Bois.
According to sources in 1915, Carter and others set up the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and in the following year the Journal of Negro History began quarterly publication.
It is said that Carter went on to develop Negro History Week, and hoped (according to sources) that the time would come when Negro History Week would be unnecessary; when all Americans would willingly recognise the contributions of Black Americans as legitimate and an important part of the history of this country.
The African American Museum says that in 1926 Carter proposed and launched annual February observance of ‘Negro History Week’, which became Black History Month in 1976.
It is reported that Carter chose February for the observance because February 12th was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and February 14th was the accepted birthday of Frederic Douglass.
According to sources, Carter was dean of the College of Liberal Arts; head of the graduate faculty at Howard University (1912-1920); and dean at West Virginia State College, Institute. While Carter was at the West Virginia State College, it is said, that he founded and became president of Associated Publishers to bring out books of black life and culture. He felt that this was necessary as experience had shown that the usual publishing outlets were rarely interested in scholarly works about or for black people.