Carter G. Woodson, often called the “Father of Black Historical past,” is given a lot credit score for the creation of Black Historical past Month, a federally acknowledged celebration throughout the month of February of the impression African People have had and the contributions they’ve made in the US. Additionally it is a time to mirror on the continued efforts African People make to combat for racial justice and equality amongst individuals of colour.
All through his life, Woodson, who was born in 1875, devoted his work to educating African People on their heritage.
The son of former slaves, Woodson spent most of his childhood working in coal mines in Huntington, West Virginia. After educating himself English and arithmetic, he graduated from Berea School in 1903 and went on to earn his grasp’s diploma in historical past from the College of Chicago.
He later earned a doctorate in history from Harvard, making him the second Black American to graduate with a PhD from the college, and the one particular person of enslaved mother and father to earn a PhD in historical past from any establishment in the US, based on the Nationwide Park Service.
Troubled by the lack of expertise concerning the accomplishments of African People, Woodson in 1915 based the Affiliation for the Research of Negro Life and Historical past, a corporation now referred to as the Affiliation for the Research of African American Life and Historical past, to jot down Black People into the nation’s historical past.
Woodson believed it was crucial for younger African People to grasp their historical past and be happy with their tradition.
“If a race has no historical past, if it has no worthwhile custom, it turns into a negligible issue within the considered the world, and it stands at risk of being exterminated,” Woodson wrote in “The Mis-Training of the Negro,” revealed in 1933.
In 1926, Woodson helped create the primary Negro Historical past Week, which was held throughout the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist who himself escaped from slavery, and former President Abraham Lincoln. Although his true date of beginning is not identified, Douglass celebrated his birthday on February 14, whereas Lincoln was born February 12.
The week influenced communities nationwide to arrange performances and lectures centered on Black historical past, and set up historical past golf equipment in faculties. Many years later, metropolis mayors started to difficulty yearly proclamations to acknowledge Negro Historical past Week, based on The Association for the Study of African American Life and History. By the late Nineteen Sixties, Negro Historical past Week advanced into Black Historical past Month on faculty campuses. However it wasn’t till 1976 that then-President Gerald Ford formally acknowledged Black Historical past Month throughout the celebration of the US Bicentennial.
“In celebrating Black Historical past Month, we will take satisfaction from this latest progress within the realization of the beliefs envisioned by our Founding Fathers,” Ford stated in a February 10 speech. “However, much more than this, we will seize the chance to honor the too-often uncared for accomplishments of Black People in each space of endeavor all through our historical past.”
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History dedicates its time to selling, preserving and disseminating details about Black historical past, tradition and life, based on its acknowledged mission. It additionally selects a theme for Black Historical past Month every year that displays how individuals of African descent in the US have seen themselves, the affect of social actions on racial ideologies, and the aspirations of the Black group.
This 12 months’s theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.