In our next series of our Black History Month blog, Kymberlaine Banks discusses Carter G. Woodson.
Carter G. Woodson, The Father of Celebrating Black History
In the context of 2022, where more than half of the nation’s state legislatures are either considering or have passed laws to try to prevent true history being taught in schools, it is more important than ever to celebrate the dream Carter G. Woodson (1875 – 1950), brought to fruition nearly 100 years ago in 1926.
Woodson, the son of formerly enslaved parents who never learned to read, was self-taught before earning two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Harvard in 1912.
The myth of the inferiority of the Negro was drilled into him in almost every class he entered and in almost every book he studied. The thought that Black people are inferior has been drilled into white people as well. Carter G. Woodson initiated the annual celebration of Negro History Week in February 1926 to combat this “deliberate, organized historical scheme to rob Black people of their history and role in the development of civilization.”
He fervently believed that Black people should be proud of their heritage and all Americans should understand the largely overlooked achievements of Black Americans.
Before the first celebration during the second of week of February which commemorated the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, he sent brochures suggesting ways to celebrate to state boards of education, elementary and secondary schools, colleges, women’s clubs, Black newspapers and periodicals, and white scholarly journals.
President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then, every US president has officially designated February as Black History Month.
What began as a week-long celebration 50 years earlier was given a full month in 1976, but, Black history belongs in year-round teaching and learning. We hope this series has and will pique your interest in learning more about Black History Month, celebrating the Americans who made it, and selecting at least one way to make it personal for you.
To learn more from Kymberlaine Banks, check out her full company profile. Diversity Crew works with corporations, nonprofits, academia, and government to help make equity, inclusion, belonging and justice part of our culture. We can help you make it part of your culture wherever you lead. Contact us at LetsGo@DiversityCrew.com to get started today.
Update: Check out Part 1 and Part 3.
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History – https://asalh.org/ – Established on September 9, 1915, by Dr. Carter G. Woodson Black History Month – https://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/ – The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial
 Wade Hudson, Black History Month 2021 – A Reflection, Just Us Books, http://justusbooks.blogspot.com/2021/01/black-history-month-2021-reflection-by.html
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