Black History Month: Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 3:54 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Feb. 1 marks the first day of Black History Month. It is a time to honor the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shaped the nation. News Channel 6 is going to do that by starting off with our first Black History fact, dating back to how Black History Month even came about.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson is known as “The Man Behind Black History Month.” Born in 1875 in New Canton, Virginia, Dr. Woodson worked as a sharecropper and miner to help support his large family. He earned his Bachelors in Literature from Berea college in Kentucky and his Masters degree at the University of Chicago. In 1912, he became only the second African American to earn a Doctorate from Harvard.

In 1915, he founded The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) and a year later he single-handedly launched the Journal of Negro History bringing attention to the achievements of Blacks.

Woodson believed that African American contributions “were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.” This led to him and his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Incorporated, to create the first Negro History Week in February of 1926.

Due to the popularity of this special week, ASNLH formed branches all over the country. To this day, Woodson’s row house on Ninth Street in Washington, D.C. is the home base for the Associated Publishers Press in which Woodson founded in 1921.

President Gerald Ford supported Woodson’s doctrine of “Black History Week” by taking it from a week to the entire month of February in October of 1974. Unfortunately, Woodson died from a heart attack at the age of 74 in 1950 and wasn’t able to see the expansion of his lasting impact, but one thing’s for sure, we are still celebrating it to this day.