Black Innovators, Inventors and Leaders: Carter G. Woodson

Bonjour Tout le Mode!!!

Today marks the 88th year that we are acknowledging the contributions, achievements and struggles of African-Americans. Let me re-introduced you all to the originator of this heritage awareness month, amazing as it is, I am not talking about Martin Luther King, Jr or Malcolm X or even Rosa Parks. The brother who speak of, was a fundamentalist of multicultural education as an avenue to lessen racial discrimination. May I have the honour to introduce you all to the man well known as the Father of Black History“, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.

carl_g_woodson Born Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950) in New Canton, Virginia son of former slaves, he and his siblings grew up poor. The importance of education, history, family and growth was fundamental. Even though Woodson started his schooling at 17, he graduated Douglass High in TWO years! In 1897, at 22 years old, he started teaching at a county school for about 3 years then in 1900 he returned to his high school and became principal. In 1903, Woodson moved to Kentucky to attend Berea College to study Literature after which it has been reported that he started to work for the government. He was relocated to the Philippines to be the school superintendent from 1903-07. A year later he returned to America and got his Bachelor & Master degrees from the University of Chicago. In 1912, he went to Harvard University to study African-American history, being one of the first in that field. Later on he became the 2nd African-American man to received a doctorate from there, the 1st was W.E.B DuBois. He wrote his dissertation, ‘The Disruption of Virginia’, from his research done at the Library of Congress during his time teaching high school in Washington D.C. Woodson continued teaching in public schools after earning his Ph. D from Harvard, his path of education went on to Howard University where he was the Dean of College Art and Sciences. Several years later Dr. Woodson was also Dean at, what is now, West Virginia State University.

A true scholar, in 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson noticed the lack of information on the culture of black people and of those who accomplished amazing fleets wasn’t being published. He recognized then the imperative importance of letting his know of the accomplishments of their ancestors. Dr. Woodson researched and partnered with, Alexander L. Jackson to put together a publication of contributions black people has done in America, “The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861” . Soon after that Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, known today as the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH). In 1916, the Journal of Negro History was published and couple years after that he came out with ‘A Century of Negro Migration’ (1918). It is said that during 1921, Dr. Woodson founded a printing press called, Association Publishers Press, where he published ‘The History of the Negro Church’ (1921) along with several other publications through Negro University Press and his own, such as “The Mis-Education of the Negro” (1933) { I had this book! =)) } Dr. Woodson wrote more than just books, there was news articles as well, he had a few published pieces in Marcus Garvey’s newsletter!

The birth of Negro History Week, an educational program Woodson was granted in the public school in Washington D.C. back in 1926, came from his ideal concept that rising one’s awareness of other races culture and historical background. Negro History Week happened in the mid-week of the month of February, it’s said he chose this week to commemorate the birthdays of abolitionist, Fredrick Doulgass fredrick_doulgass (it’s believed that Douglass was born in February however it is known that he transcended on the 20th of February 1895) and the president who freed the slaves, Abraham Lincolnabraham_lincoln< >(12th of February – April 1865) In this same year, Dr. Woodson was honoured with the National Association of Advancement of Coloured People Spingran Medal. In 1976 it grew from week to into a month of honouring outstanding African-Americans who continue to build and improve this land many black people call home, the United States of America.

A renowned historian, educator, author, journalist & activist who dedicated his life to keeping the past alive. Through history and education one can evolve to greater planes of life. I strongly believe that Dr. Carter Woodson’s ambitions of sharing knowledge was more than just to show that knowing one’s historical past but also to encourage & strengthen their character and becomes an aide in the conquest of success in the future. The history of the black people in America was, in the words of Dr. C.G. Woodson, “…overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.” (Wikipedia, 2014) Education the schools, back then and up to present days, was half accurate with the information that’s feed to the children. Many scholars, black and white, in his time and during mine have consistently publish books noting the holes in the education system. {I’m a lover of education! Hence, blog… I’m just sayin… =) } Woodson realized that the preservation of black history, here in America and abroad, was necessary and essential. To quote Dr. Woodson again on the topic of race and education, “is merely the logical result of tradition, the inevitable outcome of thorough instruction to the effect that the Negro has never contributed anything to the progress of mankind.” (Wikipedia, 2014) This was a fabricated notion that many Americans settled with as facts, Dr. Woodson was determined to show and prove otherwise. For the story of the fore-parents of this land, in it’s truth and glory, it was NOT going to be in the textbooks. It was obvious that all cultures teach, share and implement traditions, proverbs and names of their ancestors to the younger generation to install their race legacy in the world; the black race in America should be no different.

Woodson_Standing_in_Library

I agree with Dr. C. G Woodson, if we all educated ourselves on the various differences between each race it could reduce the racial tension here in this land of opportunity for all mankind. As the saying goes, “there’s more to a book than its cover”. This has been said in many ways & languages, despite the rearrangement of the words the meaning is and will be the same. Take the time to know your history, know yourself and your surroundings – people, places and things. Knowledge is Key, unlock the truth and discover beyond what’s been handled to you.

Au Revoir!!!

REFERENCES:

http://www.asalh.org
http://www.biography.com
http://www.goodquotes.com
http://www.wagner.edu
http://www.wikipedia.org
http://www.wvculture.org
http://www.yenoba.com

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