Remembering the Father of Black History Month, Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Woodson
Photo credit Creative Commons

Saturday marks the end of the 44th year celebrating Black History Month.

The roots of the historical celebration can be traced back to 1924, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson felt that African Americans were not being taught enough about the history and accomplishments of their ancestors.

Dr. Woodson turned to his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, to assist him in getting the message of ‘Negro History Week’ out, spreading the cultural history and literature for a week in February of 1924. Dr. Woodson chose February, the month in which the birthdays of both Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln fell.

Education institutions and organizations across the United States acknowledged Dr. Woodson’s initiative. However, he faced a hard time finding course materials and building a curriculum. This inclined Dr. Woodson to believe that a week of celebration was simply not enough to recognize the achievements of the ancestors who contributed so much. In the early 1940s, Dr. Woodson began his efforts to expand Negro History Week to a Black History Month.

On Apr. 3, 1950, Woodson died of a heart attack. But with the strong sense of history that that prevailed in the black community, along with the rise of the civil rights movement and The Black Panthers in the 1960s, people began to agree with the notion that Negro History Week should be expanded.

On the 50th anniversary of the celebrated week, the Association for the Study of African American History would officially shift the week of celebration, to a month, giving February as we know today, Black History Month.

Notable African Americans in no order:

  • Hank Aaron
  • Ira Aldridge
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Richard Allen
  • Marian Anderson
  • Maya Angelou
  • Arthur Ashe
  • Crispus Attucks
  • James Baldwin
  • Benjamin Banneker
  • Amiri Baraka
  • Romare Bearden
  • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Guion Bluford
  • Arna Bontemps
  • Edward W. Brooke
  • Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Blanche K. Bruce
  • Ralph Bunche
  • George Washington Carver
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Bill Cosby
  • Kenneth B. Clark
  • John Henrik Clarke
  • John Coltrane
  • Alexander Crummell
  • Countee Cullen
  • Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.
  • Martin R. Delany
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Charles Drew
  • W. E. B. Du Bois
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • Katherine Dunham
  • Duke Ellington
  • James Forten
  • John Hope Franklin
  • Henry Highland Garnet
  • Marcus Garvey
  • Prince Hall
  • Fannie Lou Hamer
  • Lorraine Hansberry
  • Dorothy Height
  • Matthew Henson
  • Charles Hamilton Houston
  • Langston Hughes
  • Zora Neale Hurston
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Mae Jemison
  • Jack Johnson
  • James Weldon Johnson
  • John H. Johnson
  • Percy Julian
  • Ernest Just
  • Maulana Karenga
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Edmonia Lewis
  • Alain Locke
  • Joe Louis
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • Benjamin E. Mays
  • Elijah McCoy
  • Claude McKay
  • Oscar Micheaux
  • Dorie Miller
  • Garrett Morgan
  • Toni Morrison
  • Elijah Muhammad
  • Jesse Owens
  • Rosa Parks
  • Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
  • Colin Powell
  • A. Philip Randolph
  • Hiram Revels
  • Paul Robeson
  • Jackie Robinson
  • John Russwurm
  • Arturo Schomburg
  • Benjamin "Pop" Singleton
  • Mary Church Terrell
  • William Monroe Trotter
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Kwame Ture
  • Henry McNeal Turner
  • Nat Turner
  • David Walker
  • Madame C. J. Walker
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett
  • Phillis Wheatley
  • Walter F. White
  • Roy Wilkins
  • Daniel Hale Williams
  • August Wilson
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Tiger Woods
  • Carter G. Woodson
  • Richard Wright
  • Malcolm X

List Cited from Wikipedia 

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