Shout Out to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month, I would like to share a little history as to the genesis of Black History Month. I have been asked “why is Black History month in February, the shortest month of the year.” The month of February was chosen by Dr. Carter G. Woodson.

Carter G. Woodson (1875 – 1950) was the son of former slaves. He understood the importance of gaining a proper education. However, he did not begin his formal education until he was twenty years old. His dedication to the need for education enabled him to earn a high school diploma in West Virginia and bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago in just a few years. In 1912, Carter G. Woodson became the second Black American too earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. The first was W.E.B. DuBois. Dr. Woodson began teaching Black students in the District of Columbia’s public schools and at Howard University.

It was commonly held in the begining decades of the twentieth century that Blacks had little history outside of slavery. However, Dr. Woodson recognized the depth of information on the accomplishments of Black Americans and in 1915 he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Under his leadership he created research and publication outlets for Black scholars with the Journal of Negro History and the Negro History Bulletin. In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week. He chose the month of February to correspond with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, this one wekk celebration was expaned to include the entire month of February.

Shout outs to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History Month, for his pioneering efforts!!!!!!!!

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Andrew Krzmarzick

I never knew this is why February was chosen! Do you think there will ever be a time in America where we won’t *need* to celebrate Black History Month because we’ve reached a point where (the most blatant and ongoing forms of) racism and discrimination in our nation’s history will be so far in our rear-view mirror that we’ll wonder why we’re bringing up the differences?

Dianne Floyd Sutton

Andy, I love your philosophy but… after working at EEOC, I can tell you that racism and othe “isms” are institutionalized in the USA. Over hundreds of years, discrimination against differences has been woven into our core systems. While blatant racism may always be a factor, there are so many subtle ways of discimination that still pop up. The number of employement discrimination cases filed with EEOC has increased. Also the number of hate groups in the USA have increased. As long as we adhere to the philosophy of “us against them” mentality, isms will be around.

What I am witnessing are generational shifts in thinking. The youngest generation do not see diffwerences as negatives. I think you and I understand because of marriage.

I don’t see an end during my life time but I do see a better place for your children. Think of the Star Trek,, The Next Generation for inspiration and a more positive model. While it may have not been perfect and never will, the series showed what what respect and inclusion might look like. Mind you it was a military environment.