This Day in Black History: Dec. 19, 1875
Carter Godwin Woodson, credited as “The Father of Black History Month,” was born in New Canton, Virginia, on Dec. 19, 1875.
The son of freed slaves, Woodson would go on to become one of the first African-Americans to receive a doctorate from Harvard University and one of the first Blacks to earn a Ph.D. in the United States. A scholar and advocate for the study of Black history in schools, Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life in 1915 and established the scholarly publication The Journal of Negro History, the following year.
Woodson used his influence to rally schools and other organizations to incorporate Black history into their programs. His efforts eventually led to the establishment of Negro History Week in Washington in 1926 and the publishing of the first issue of the Negro History Bulletin in 1937. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford issued the first Message of Observance of Black History Month. Ten years later, Congress designated February “National Black (Afro-American) History Month.”
Woodson died on April 3, 1950, at the age of 74.