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Dr. Carter G. Woodson - The Father of Black History Month

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Dr. Carter G. Woodson was father of Black History Month, he was born in1875 near New Canton, VA. He was the son of former slaves. In 1907, he obtained his BA degree from the University of Chicago. In 1912, he received his PhD from Harvard University. Carter G. Woodson (born 1875), convinced that the history of African-Americans was being ignored and misrepresented, took steps to put things right. In 1915 Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The association was created to promote and preserve African-American history and culture. He founded the Journal of Negro History in 1916.

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The implementation of his ideas – during these thirty-five years, has not been an easy task. The road has been very rugged. The awakening of the darker peoples of America and the world, to the importance of an historic knowledge of their backgrounds, has called for unshakable faith and persistence and unflinching sacrifice. The results of Carter Woodson’s efforts and of those who have journeyed with him over this rugged road, have vindicated the soundness of his thinking. These results are established in the factual findings of this Association, as they come into increasing use in institutions of learning, and among scholars and students of social progress all over the world. These results demonstrate the necessity for the vigorous and continued growth of this organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which stands, today, as the Master Key to the background of the world of color. Woodson believed the study of black history, using the tools of scholarly research and writing, could serve a dual purpose. It could be used to counter white racial chauvinism, which was used to rationalize the oppression of black people in America. The distortions and deletions in the American historical record as it pertains to race matters, Woodson believed, was detrimental to the health of a nation whose inherent promise is life, liberty and justice for all.

His was a great, humanitarian task, nobly and unselfishly undertaken; sturdily and effectively performed. But it was a continuing task. It was the kind of task initiated by great minds which they, themselves, may never hope to see completed – a task which must be left for fulfillment to succeeding generations of workers, lighted on their way by brightly burning fires, kindles from the torch of the leader. the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History – will not fail to take up the challenge of that flaming torch. The great fraternity of its membership and friends will not fail. I know that all who are of it stand ready, today, to step forward in support of the cause to which Carter Woodson dedicated and gave his life.

Mission of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum is two-fold:

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  1. To preserve, present, and interpret African American history and to engage a broad and diverse audience through these activities.
  2. To promote an understanding among various groups that comprise the St. Petersburg community to enhance our ability as a society to respect, value diversity, and foster equal rights and social justice.

Today, members and followers of the Association founded thirty-five years ago. As the outgrowth of the great thought conceived in the fertile mind of Carter Godwin Woodson – eminent scholar and great American – who came up from the coal mines of West Virginia, and the border country of old Berea College, through the classic halls of Harvard, in preparation for his great service.

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