Author: Bashir Muhammad Akinyele, Guest Contributor
Photo credits: The Library of the U.S. Congress
The Father of Black History Month, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, was born in 1875 near New Canton, VA.
He was the son of former slaves and started formal school at the age of 19. In 1907, he obtained his BA degree from the University of Chicago. In 1912, Woodson received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. In 1915, he and friends established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
A year later, the Journal of Negro History, began quarterly publication. In 1926, Woodson proposed and launched the annual February observance of “Negro History Week,” which became “Black History Month” in 1976.
It is said that he chose February for the observance because February 12th was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and February 14th was the accepted birthday of Frederick Douglass. Dr. Woodson was the founder of Associated Publishers, the founder, and editor of the Negro History Bulletin.
He was also the author of more than 30 books. His best-known publication, The Mis-Education of the Negro, was originally published in 1933 and is still pertinent today.
He died in 1950 but Dr. Woodson’s scholarly legacy goes on.
Bashir Muhammad Akinyele is a History and Afrikana Studies teacher at Weequahic High School in Newark, NJ. He is also the co-coordinator for ASCAC’s (the Association for Study of Classical African Civilizations) Study Group Chapter in Newark, NJ. (https://ascac.org/)