American historian, author, carter g wilson biography and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
Born in Virginia, the son of former slaves, Woodson had to put-off schooling while he worked in the coal mines of West Virginia. He made it to Berea College, becoming a teacher and school administrator. At the age of seventeen, Woodson followed his brother to Huntington, where he hoped to attend the brand new secondary school for blacks, Douglass High School. However, Woodson, forced to work as a coal miner, was able to devote only minimal time each year to his schooling. Woodson later attended the University of Chicago, where he was awarded an A. He was a member of the first black professional fraternity Sigma Pi Phi and a member of Omega Psi Phi. Convinced that the role of his own people in American history and in the history of other cultures was being ignored or misrepresented among scholars, Woodson realized the need for research into the neglected past of African Americans.
Hartgrove, George Cleveland Hall, Alexander L. In January 1916, Woodson began publication of the scholarly Journal of Negro History. It has never missed an issue, despite the Great Depression, loss of support from foundations, and two World Wars. Woodson stayed at the Wabash Avenue YMCA during visits to Chicago. Woodson believed that education and increasing social and professional contacts among blacks and whites could reduce racism and he promoted the organized study of African-American history partly for that purpose. He would later promote the first Negro History Week in Washington, D. 1926, forerunner of Black History Month.
He served as Academic Dean of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute, now West Virginia Carter g wilson biography University, from 1920 to 1922. He studied many aspects of African-American history. For instance, in 1924, he published the first survey of free black slaveowners in the United States in 1830. Woodson became affiliated with the Washington, D.
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NAACP, and its chairman Archibald Grimké. That a canvasser be appointed to enlist members and obtain subscriptions for The Crisis, the NAACP magazine edited by W. Du Bois added the proposal to divert «patronage from business establishments which do not treat races alike,» that is, boycott businesses. Woodson wrote that he would cooperate as one of the twenty-five effective canvassers, adding that he would pay the office rent for one month. Grimké did not welcome Woodson’s ideas. I am not afraid of being sued by white businessmen.
In fact, I should welcome such a law suit. It would do the cause much good. We have been in this mental state for three centuries. I am ready to act, if I can find brave men to help me. His difference of opinion with Grimké, who wanted a more conservative course, contributed to Woodson’s ending his affiliation with the NAACP.
Woodson devoted the rest of his life to historical research. He worked to preserve the history of African Americans and accumulated a collection of thousands of artifacts and publications. He noted that African-American contributions «were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them. In 1926, Woodson pioneered the celebration of «Negro History Week», designated for the second week in February, to coincide with marking the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
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