Home > Male, N-Z > Carter G. Woodson, Historian, Author, Educator, Journalist (1875)

Carter G. Woodson, Historian, Author, Educator, Journalist (1875)

Born on December 19, 1875, this remarkable man resisted insurmountable odds and became a historian, an author, an educator and a journalist.

For financial reasons, he couldn’t attend school on a regular basis, so he resorted to self-instruction. By age 17, he’d mastered the fundamentals of common school subjects.

In 1895, at age 20, he entered Douglass High School and received his diploma in less than two years.

In 1912, he earned a Ph.D. in History at Harvard University, becoming the second African-American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University. The first African-American to receive a Harvard University doctorate was W.E.B. DuBois

In 1915, Carter Godwin Woodson founded Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which ran conferences and published the Journal of Negro History. The organization is now called Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

English: Portrait of African-American historia...

Portrait of Carter Godwin Woodson as a young man. Courtesy of the New River Gorge National River website, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, United States Government.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Between 1920 to 1922, Mr. Woodson was Dean of West Virginia Collegiate Institute, currently known as West Virginia State University.

After leaving his deanship at West Virginia Collegiate Institute, Mr. Woodson devoted the rest of his life to historical research, preserving African-American history, and accumulating thousands of artifacts and publications.

Carter G. Woodson donated thousands of black artifacts from the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries to the U.S. Library of Congress.

Carter G. Woodson, also known as Father of Black History, concluded that racial prejudice against blacks is “…merely the logical result of tradition, the inevitable outcome of thorough instruction to the effect that the Negro has never contributed anything to the progress of mankind.”

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson pioneered Negro History Week, which was celebrated in the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The yearly celebration is now one month long and is Black History Month.

Related Links

The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 by Carter G. Woodson (gutenberg.org)

A Century of Negro Migration by Carter G. Woodson (gutenberg.org)

The History of the Negro Church by Carter G. Woodson (gutenberg.org)

An Old Story Made New. Negro Makers of History by Carter G. Woodson (loc.gov)

The Burgeoning ‘Cause,’ 1920-1930: An Essay on Carter G. Woodson by Charlynn Spencer Pyne (loc.gov)

NAACP History: Carter G. Woodson (naacp.org)

1993 Press Release: Library of Congress Traveling Exhibit Examines Contributions of Black History Pioneer C.G. Woodson (loc.gov)

Carter G. Woodson Collection of Negro papers and related documents [finding aid]. Library of Congress. [PDF rendered 2005-12-06.111932.71] (loc.gov)

Carter Godwin Woodson papers, 1736-1974 (Library of Congress Finding Aid) (loc.gov)


Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History (asalh.org)

Carter G. Woodson (wikipedia.org)


  1. March 31, 2013 at 1:03 am

    This is the only time I’ve been to your website. Thank you for sharing more information.

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