Carter G. Woodson


Woodson 1
Today, we will profile the father of Negro History Week. The week turned into the Black History Month that we celebrate today.

What is it that we should give and take from the month of February? We should give some of our attention, our time, and give some of the stories of our past to our future, our children. What should we take from this holiday month? PRIDE, take from the footprints of the past. It’s the honest reality of the horrific lives of our forefathers. It’s almost overwhelming how we were treated. The truth of our struggle is very mentally damaging, if you only focus on barbaric captures and the 100 years physical torture and the mental rape of slave makers. No, it will drive you to HATE. A place for no one to exist because those bondsmen win again. Hate leads to crime, self-destruction, prison and death. This is your life in your time. No, focus on how the black life rose from the ashes like a Phoenix as we move on to this new cycle of life. Always in the shadows of hate.

Just to live with the burden as an African American, is a weight no other race in America has to deal with, save Jewish people. But, the cream of the hate produced the pride, the true purpose of our celebration. Take from this the dignity and pride that when your very race’s existence was in question, our race produced extraordinary “persons” to combat the evil. So many, in so many areas that we broke the genocide!

The preservation of our rich past is so important. How important? Africans and the people of African descent were relegated to the lowest of wrongs of racial hierarchy. Only recently, did African Americans begin to take their rightful place in the history of mankind. Africans’ downfall was our history. It was orally passed down by the elders of the community. It had no physical recording. Our traditions were not written down. Because we had no collective history on record, Europeans called us a savage race. The chronicles of our American history must be documented and our forefathers know that!

The father of Negro History Week (Black History Month) was Carter G. Woodson. He was so much more than the founder of Negro History Week. He was one of the first true African American historians, an author, journalist, and founder of the “Association for the Study of African American Life and History”. He is regarded as one of the first scholars to study African American history!

Carter Godwin Woodson (December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950)

He was born in Buckingham, Virginia. The son of former slaves, James Woodson and Eliza Riddle Woodson. His father helped Union soldiers during the Civil War. Young Woodson never attended school regularly. He was mostly self-taught and by age 17, he mastered the common basic lessons of a student his age. He left home in pursuit of more education. At age 20, he enrolled in Douglass High School and received his high school diploma at age 22. He then taught school and eventually, became the Principle of Douglass High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bere, a college in Kentucky. In 1907, Woodson worked in the Philippines under the government’s U.S. War Department. He traveled to Africa, Asia and Europe.

In 1915, he published his first book, “The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861”. At the same time, he co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) to preserve our history! In 1922, he published the first edition of his widely popular, at that time and now, “The Negro in Our History”.

Woodson decided to commit his life to the ASNLH and to its success. He only slept four to six hours a day and was extremely dedicated to the early Black History Movement. During this time, in the 1920’s, his long, hard work manifested itself in the outside belief that Woodson received tens of thousands of dollars from white philanthropists to fund ASNLH.

In 1926, he launched “Negro History Week”. Let’s kill one huge misconception about the time of Negro History Week that later evolved into Black History Month. The government did not place this African American holiday in the month of February because it’s the shortest and coldest month of the year, as many blacks now days believe. No, the true facts are that Woodson chose February to celebrate because his two heroes were born in February – Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln!

In 1937, he created the Negro History Bulletin, mainly for school teachers and black school text. He spurred Negro History Week by tireless speeches at Elementary Schools, High Schools and black churches, where ever he could!

He gave his very life to the history of ours. He penned the historical influential book “The Miseducation of the Negro”. Woodson died suddenly from a heart attack in his home office on April 3, 1950. He never married or had any children. His life was for the history of your life. Black History Month is a constant reminder of the past so that will never happen again. It’s recorded history so no one can ever exploit us again! Black History Month is the PAST lives of our brothers and sisters, who’s lives were sacrificed for this moment in time.

I say it with heart and soul.

#youngblackhistorian
-KJS
Copyright 2016
Negro week BHM 2016