United States Observes the First Negro History Week Later Known as Black History Month
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.
He was one of the first scholars to value and study Black History. He recognized and acted upon the importance of a people having an awareness and knowledge of their contributions to humanity and left behind an impressive legacy. A founder of Journal of Negro History, Dr. Woodson is known as the Father of Black History.
After leaving Howard University because of differences with its president, Dr. Woodson devoted the rest of his life to historical research. He worked to preserve the history of African Americans and accumulated a collection of thousands of artifacts and publications. He noted that African American contributions "were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them." Race prejudice, he concluded, "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." In 1926, Woodson single-handedly pioneered the celebration of "Negro History Week", for the second week in February, to coincide with marking the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The week was later extended to the full month of February and renamed Black History Month.
Feb. 1, 1926 - What is now known as Black History Month was first celebrated on this date as Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson. It became a month long celebration in 1976.
Black History Month owes its beginning to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a black American man born to slave parents, who later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Throughout his studies, the scholar was perturbed by the absence of black Americans in historical texts, despite their presence in the New World since the colonial period. In 1915, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and, one year later, the Journal of Negro Life. In 1926, it was he that began Negro History Week, aiming to bring the nation’s attention to the struggles and contributions of black Americans. As part of the Nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded to a full month in 1976. Woodson originally chose the second week of February as Negro History Week because it held the birthdays of two important figures in black history – Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.