Who is Carter G. Woodson?
Carter Godwin Woodson (December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950) was an American historian, author, journalist, and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). He was one of the first scholars to study the history of the African diaspora, including African-American history. A founder of The Journal of Negro History in 1916, Woodson has been called the “father of black history.” In February 1926, he launched the celebration of “Negro History Week,” the precursor of Black History Month. Woodson was an important figure to the movement of Afrocentrism, due to his perspective of placing people of African descent at the center of the study of history and the human experience.
Born in Virginia, the son of former slaves, Woodson had to put off schooling while he worked in the coal mines of West Virginia. He graduated from Berea College, and became a teacher and school administrator. Earning graduate degrees at the University of Chicago, Woodson then became the second African American, after W. E. B. Du Bois, to obtain a PhD degree from Harvard University. Woodson is the only person whose parents were enslaved in the United States to obtain a PhD in history. He taught at historically black colleges, Howard University and West Virginia State University, but spent most of his career in Washington, D.C., managing the ASALH, public speaking, writing, and publishing.