Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), the “”Father of Black History,”” was honored during a celebration marking his 147th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the purchase of his home in Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood on Saturday, December 17, at Dunbar High School in Northwest. Celebrants joined the National Park Service (NPS) and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) for a special program and musical performance. Dr. Woodson is the second Black American to graduate with a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He remains best known for creating Negro History Week in 1926, now recognized as Black History Month.
Before his work, there was minimal accurate written history about the lives and experiences of Americans of African descent. In 1915, Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Woodson, who dedicated his career to the field of African-American history, wrote the seminal work, “The Mis-Education of the Negro” (1933). Born December 19, 1875, in New Canton, Virginia, to Anna Eliza Riddle Woodson and James Woodson, the fourth of seven children, Woodson worked as a sharecropper and a miner during his youth to help his family. He began high school in his late teens and proved an excellent student, completing a four-year course of Study in less than two years.
After attending Berea College in Kentucky, he worked for the U.S. government as an education superintendent in the Philippines before returning stateside to continue his studies, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago. He received a doctorate from Harvard University in 1912, becoming the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from the prestigious institution after DuBois. After finishing his education, Woodson dedicated himself to African-American history.
The author of more than a dozen books throughout his career, Woodson’s “The Mis-Education of the Negro” which challenged the Western indoctrination system and African-American self-empowerment, has become required reading at many colleges and universities. Other books include “A Century of Negro Migration” (1918), “The History of the Negro Church” (1921) and “The Negro in Our History” (1922).