February might be the shortest month of the year, but it might be the most powerful. Today marks the first day of Black History Month and in light of the occasion, we wanted to share a few things you may or may not have known about the man who invented Black History Month, Carter Godwin Woodson.
1. Woodson was born December 19, 1875 in New Canton, Virginia.
2. He excelled in academics early on, finishing high school in less than two years.
3. Both his bachelor's and master's degrees were earned at the University of Chicago.
4. Only behind W.E.B. Du Bois, he was the second African-American to receive a doctorate from Harvard University.
5. He formed the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History as well as the African-American-owned Associated Publishers Press in 1921.
6. Woodson established the Journal of Negro History, a scholarly publication, and the Negro History Bulletin to help teachers with African-American studies.
7. He was principle of D.C.'s Armstrong Manual Training School and dean of Howard University.
8. He wrote dozens of historical works, most notably The Mis-Education of the Negro (1933).
9. Woodson dedicated his career to African-American history and lobbied extensively to make Black History Month a nationally recognized institution. It started off as a program called Negro History Week in February 1926.
10. He died April 3, 1950, at the age of 75, leaving behind a legacy that we still honor today.
Woodson's ultimate goal was not to create Black History Month, but to see its necessity eliminated. The day that black history is recognized as an integral part of American history, Black History Month will no longer be necessary.
Although we've come a long way in the past few decades, his vision has yet to be realized. We continue to fight!