Carter G. Woodson

December 19, 1875 — April 3, 1950

Progressive-Era historian and founder of Black History Month

Carter G. Woodson

Called the “father of black history,” Carter G. Woodson was a historian, author, and journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. As one of the first scholars to study African American history, Woodson proposed Negro History Week, which would become Black History Month, in 1926 with the conviction that one day it would be unnecessary––that the contributions of African Americans would truly be seen as an integral part of the story of American history.

Woodson’s study of African American social conditions led him to conclude that religion would only limit progress toward dignity and justice. In his 1933 book The Mis-Education of the Negro he observed that “the ritualistic churches into which these Negroes have gone do not touch the masses, and they show no promising future for racial development. Such institutions are controlled by those who offer the Negroes only limited opportunity and then sometimes on the condition that they be segregated in the court of the gentiles outside of the temple of Jehovah.”1

  1. Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1990; originally published by The Associated Publishers, 1933), 55.