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A Tribute to Dr. Carter Woodson, the Father of Black History Month

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Dr. Carter G. Woodson was born in Buckingham County, Virginia on Dec. 19, 1875, to former slaves, James & Eliza Riddle Woodson. His father helped Union soldiers during the Civil War & moved his family to West Virginia when he heard that Huntington was building a high school for Blacks.

From a large, poor family, Dr. Woodson could not regularly attend school. Through self-instruction, he mastered the fundamentals of common school subjects by age 17. Wanting more education, he went to Fayette County to earn a living as a miner in the coal fields. He was able to devote only a few months each year to his schooling.

In 1895, at the age of 20, Dr. Woodson entered Douglass High School, where he received his diploma in less than 2 years. From 1897 to 1900, Dr. Woodson taught at Winona in Fayette County. In 1900 he was selected as the principal of Douglass High School. He earned his Bachelor of Literature degree from Berea College in Kentucky in 1903 by taking classes part-time between 1901 &  1903.

Convinced the role of African American history & the history of other cultures was being ignored or misrepresented among scholars, Dr. Woodson saw a need for research into the neglected past of African Americans. Along with Alexander L. Jackson, Dr. Woodson published The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 in 1915. He followed this book with The Mis-Education of the Negro in 1933.

The Bronzeville neighborhood inspired him to create the Assn. for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915. Now known as the Assn. for the Study of African American Life and History, it ran conferences, published The Journal of Negro History, and "particularly targeted those responsible for the education of black children".

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