“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”
Dr. Carter G. Woodson
There should be a national holiday celebrating the life of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, best known as both the founder of Negro History Week (later Black History Month); and the author of the highly acclaimed “Mis-education of the Negro.”
The son of slaves, Carter G. Woodson was born in 1875, later becoming the second African American, after W.E.B. DuBois, to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Over time he became greatly disturbed about the extreme lack of information about black history found in books that were published at the time. So upset that in 1926, he founded what became the first annual celebration of black history in America. First called Negro History Week, it later became known as Black History Month in 1976.
Woodson reportedly selected February because it is the birthday month of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two men who had great impact on the lives and history of black Americans. But February includes other important milestones as well including:
* Birthday of W.E.B. DuBois
* 15th Amendment passed – Giving blacks the right to vote
* Month when first black senator, Hiram R. Revels was sworn in
* Founding month of the NAACP
* Month in which Malcolm X was assassinated
* Month when first lunch counter sit-ins occurred in Greensboro, NC
Source – The Black History Timeline
Black History Facts – Bet You Didn’t Know
1. Journalist/Activist Ida B. Wells – Refused to give her railcar seat to a white man in
2. Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) – First institution of higher education founded for
African Americans in 1854.
3. Shirley Chisholm, survived three assassination attempts in her historic run for
president in 1972. She was the first black woman elected to Congress.
4. Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., became the first African American trained as an astronaut in
5. Satchel Paige, after years of being denied entry into the Major Leagues, finally became
the oldest rookie at age 42, when he signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1948.
6. Cathay Williams became the first and only female Buffalo Soldier, posing as a man
to gain entry into the 38th Infantry in 1866.
Source – The Stir
Any article about the importance of Black History Month, must end with a quote from the esteemed Dr. Woodson.
“If you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”
“Now You Know!”