December 09, 2013

On this day December 9th...

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On December 9, 1875 Carter Goodwin Woodson was born in New Canton, Virginia. He became known as the "Father of Black History." In 1926 Woodson created the first of what is an annual celebration of African-American achievement. It was once called Negro History Week but is now called Black History Month.

"Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history"

These are the words of Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, distinguished Black author, editor, publisher, and historian. Carter G. Woodson believed that Blacks should know their past in order to participate intelligently in the affairs of the world including the US. He strongly believed that Black history - which others have tried so diligently to erase - is a firm foundation for young Black Americans to build on in order to become productive citizens of our society.

Known as the "Father of modern Black historiography," Carter G. Woodson holds an outstanding position in early 20th century American history. Woodson authored numerous scholarly books on the positive contributions of Blacks to the development of America. He also published many magazine articles analyzing the contributions and role of Black Americans. He reached out to schools and the general public through the establishment of several key organizations and founded Negro History Week (precursor to Black History Month). His message was that Blacks should be proud of their heritage and that other Americans should also understand it.

Although his parents could neither read nor write, Carter G. Woodson credits his father for influencing the course of his life. His father, he later wrote, insisted that, "learning to accept insult, to compromise on principle, to mislead your fellow man, or to betray your people, is to lose your soul." Carter G. Woodson traveled throughout Europe and Asia and studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris. In 1908, he received his M.A. from the University of Chicago, and in 1912, he received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University.

During his lifetime, Dr. Woodson developed an important philosophy of history. History, he insisted, was not the mere gathering of facts. The object of historical study is to arrive at a reasonable interpretation of the facts. History is more than political and military records of peoples and nations. It must include some description of the social conditions of the period being studied.

Woodson's work endures in the institutions and activities he founded and promoted. In 1915, he and several friends in Chicago established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The following year, the Journal of Negro History appeared, one of the oldest learned journals in the United States. In 1926, he developed Negro History Week and in 1937 published the first issue of the Negro History Bulletin.

 

 

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