Carter G. Woodson was an African-American writer and historian known as the “Father of Black History Month.” He penned the influential book The Mis-Education of the Negro.
Carter G. Woodson was born in 1875 in New Canton, Virginia. One of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate from Harvard, Woodson dedicated his career to the field of African-American history and lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide institution. He also wrote many historical works, including the 1933 book The Mis-Education of the Negro. He died in Washington, D.C., in 1950.
Carter Godwin Woodson was born on December 19, 1875, in New Canton, Virginia, to Anna Eliza Riddle Woodson and James Woodson. The fourth of seven children, young Woodson worked as a sharecropper and a miner to help his family. He began high school in his late teens and proved to be an excellent student, completing a four-year course of study in less than two years.
After attending Berea College in Kentucky, Woodson worked for the U.S. government as an education superintendent in the Philippines and undertook more travels before returning to the U.S. Woodson then earned his bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Chicago and went on to receive a doctorate from Harvard University in 1912—becoming the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from the prestigious institution, after W.E.B. Du Bois. After finishing his education, Woodson dedicated himself to the field of African-American history, working to make sure that the subject was taught in schools and studied by scholars. For his efforts, Woodson is often called the “Father of Black History.”
Writing ‘Mis-Education of the Negro’
In 1915, Carter G. Woodson helped found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (which later became the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History), which had the goal of placing African-American historical contributions front and center. The next year he established the Journal of Negro History, a scholarly publication.