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Black History Month Facts 2018: Carter G. Woodson

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Carter G. Woodson Photo Credit: Archives Center, National Museum of American History


Born in New Canton, Virginia, in 1875, Carter G. Woodson would never see the first Black History Month. The historian, best known for his 1933 book The Miseducation of the Negro, recognized over the course of his studies the dearth of African Americans in the nation’s curriculum.

To stem the tide and bring to the fore those lost voices, Woodson founded in 1915 the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History and launched the following year The Journal of African American History.

Seeking to bring still more African Americans to light, Woodson founded in 1926 the first Negro History Week, timed to coincide with Abraham Lincoln’s and Fredrick Douglass’s birthdays. It wasn’t until 1976 that President Ford extended the observation to a full month—one honoring the contributions of black Americans to this day.

For Woodson, such associations and commemorations provide a kind of “real education”—one that “inspires people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”


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