Celebrating Black History :: Carter G. Woodson :: Negro History week is observed for the first time
Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Negro History week originated by Carter G.Woodson is observed for the first time in 1926.
Carter Godwin Woodson (December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950) was an African-American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Woodson was one of the first scholars to study African-American history. A founder of The Journal of Negro History in 1915, Woodson has been cited as the father of black history. In February 1926 he launched the celebration of "Negro History Week"; it was the precursor of Black History Month.
Carter G. Woodson was born in Buckingham County, Virginia on December 19, 1875, the son of former slaves, James and Eliza Riddle Woodson. His father helped Union soldiers during the Civil War and moved his family to West Virginia when he heard that Huntington was building a high school for blacks.
Coming from a large, poor family, Carter Woodson could not regularly attend school. Through self-instruction, Woodson mastered the fundamentals of common school subjects by age 17. Wanting more education, Carter went to Fayette County to earn a living as a miner in the coal fields. He was able to devote only a few months each year to his schooling.
In 1895, at the age of 20, Woodson entered Douglass High School, where he received his diploma in less than two years. From 1897 to 1900, Woodson taught at Winona in Fayette County. In 1900 he was selected as the principal of Douglass High School. He earned his Bachelor of Literature degree from Berea College in Kentucky in 1903 by taking classes part-time between 1901 and 1903.
From 1903 to 1907, Woodson was a school supervisor in the Philippines. Later, he attended the University of Chicago, where he was awarded an A.B. and A.M. in 1908. He was a member of the first black professional fraternity Sigma Pi Phi and a member of Omega Psi Phi.
He completed his PhD in history at Harvard University in 1912, where he was the second African American (after W.E.B. Du Bois) to earn a doctorate. His doctoral dissertation, The Disruption of Virginia, was based on research he did at the Library of Congress while teaching high school in Washington, D.C. After earning the doctoral degree, he continued teaching in public schools, later joining the faculty at Howard University as a professor, where he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.