By: Shelby E. Lockhart
“No man knows what he can do until he tries” (Woodson).
Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson was born on December 19, 1875 in New Canton, Virginia. Being the scholarly individual he was, Woodson obtained his BLit from Berea College, both a BA and MA from the University of Chicago. There he would become a member of the first black professional fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi and a brother of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. He was an influential and prominent individual, who became the second African-American to receive a doctorate from Harvard University. He devoted his time to African American history, as well as educating African American people of our gifts and history to break the chains that slavery had shackled in the mind. This message was especially profound in his book entitled, The Mis-Education of the Negro. Therefore, he worked diligently to see that his history, black history, was taught in schools and within the community. Through his determination, he and Min. Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). This organization thrived from researching and promoting the achievements of our people. The ASNLH would then allow sponsorship of, “Negro History Week, “which is now known as Black History Month. “Negro History Week,” created in 1926, celebrating 50 years since our ancestors were emancipated, took place during the second week of February to commemorate the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln. It was not until 1976, that President Gerald Ford officially recognized “Negro History Week,” as “Black History Month.” It is because of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s earnest dedication to the education of our people that he is cited as, “The Father of Black History.”
“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated” (Woodson).
There would be no better way to start off our roots with the founder of Black History Month!!!
I encourage everyone to liberate their mind by reading, “The Mis-Education of the Negro!”