On this day in 1926, Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week, laying the groundwork for Black History Month


FILE - Carter G. Woodson in an undated photograph. Woodson is a founder of the Association for the Study of African American History, who first came up with the idea of the celebration that became Black History Month. Woodson, the son of recently-freed Virginia slaves who went on to earn a Ph.D in history from Harvard, originally came up with the idea as Negro History Week to encourage black Americans to become more interested in their own history. (AP Photo)
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On February 7, 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week, marking a significant milestone in the recognition of African-American history. Revered as “The Father of Black History,” Woodson designated the second week of February for this observance. In 1976, Negro History Week was expanded to encompass the entire month of February, becoming Black History Month. 

David from Washington, DC, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Born to formerly enslaved parents, Woodson earned a PhD from Harvard University. He specifically chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14) and President Abraham Lincoln. 

(1923) El Ojo, Institute, West Virginia: Alpha Zeta Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, West Virginia Collegiate Institute, p. 26 of the PDF, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1933, Woodson wrote in “The Mis-Education of the Negro“: “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 rely solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.”

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