The Certified Scholar

"History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning."
Dr. Carter G Woodson

Who was Dr. Carter G Woodson? A prominent historian, teacher, author, and most importantly the founder of Negro History Week later known as Black History Month, and the ASALH ( The Association for the Study of African American Life & History). He was also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

The Life of Dr. Carter G Woodson & Academic Achievements: Carter G Woodson was born on December 19, 1875 in New Canton, VA. He was the son of former slaves James Henry Woodson and Anne Eliza Riddle. Both his father and grandfather were skilled carpenters although they were forced into sharecropping. The family was able to purchase land and established  a modest form of living in the late 1870s and 1880s.

He lived a sheltered life in rural Virginia and worked on his family's farm, as a teenager he worked as an agricultural day laborer. Eventually he developed an interest to pursue education he enrolled at Frederick Douglass High School at the age of 20 and completed his coursework in 2 years by graduating in 1897. Following his high school graduation he enrolled at Berea College in Kentucky this school was founded by abolitionists, to educate former slaves. He briefly attended Lincoln University, but still graduated from Berea in 1903. This is significant because he graduated before the state of Kentucky passed the "Day Law," legislation that prohibited interracial education.

After completing his undergraduate studies at Berea College Carter G Woodson taught at Frederick Douglass High School in West Virginia. He believed that education could transform society's race relations. In 1907 he enrolled at the University of Chicago as a full-time student earning his second bachelors degree and a masters degree. He studies European history, submitted a thesis on French diplomatic policy toward Germany in the eighteenth century two years later he attended Harvard University earning his Doctorate degree in history. In 1912 he wrote his dissertations on the events leading to the creation of the state of West Virginia after the Civil War began. He never published his dissertation. He continued teaching at both Armstrong & Dunbar M Street high schools in Washington, D.C. from 1909-1919, he eventually moved to Howard University, where he served as dean of arts and sciences, professor of history, and head of graduate program in history from 1919-1920. From 1920-1922 he also taught at West Virginia Collegiate Institute, and  returned to Washington to direct ASALH ( The Association for the Study of African American Life & History) full time.

Carter G. Woodson worked diligently on The Journal of Negro History, he served as editor until his death. The editorial policy was inclusive but topically the journal provided insight on different subjects that correlated to the black experience: slavery, the slave trade, black culture, the family, and religion. Carter G Woodson remained dedicated to his research until his death on April 3, 1950.


Toni's Thoughts: I believe in celebrating Black History Month during the month of February and all for the remainder of the year. I have heard many people be dismissive of this annual celebration such as Stacey Dash and Morgan Freeman. I opposed to this notion it is disrespectful to my ancestors, the struggle, and the work of Dr. Carter G Woodson. I have heard many people suggest that we celebrate Black History Month in August instead of February. I believe this is a good suggestion the month of August is very significant to the black experience. I apologize for my absence but I plan on celebrating this month with providing insight on unsung heroes, events, and civilizations so stay tuned.


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