Carter Woodson and the Origins of Black History Month

We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.

Carter Woodson, 1926

Carter Woodson, an historian, author, and journalist, is considered the father of Black history. He was one of the first scholars to study Black history and in February 1926 he started “Negro History Week.” This developed into the annual month-long celebration of Black History Month.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), image in the public domain.

Some will interpret the quote above to mean that there shouldn’t be a separate month to celebrate Black history; however, that wasn’t Woodson’s point. He wanted African American history to be fully intertwined in American history. His efforts to study, write, and promote Black history were meant to get it into the textbooks and to make it part of the curriculum. He meant that history should be inclusive of all, and not decided by bias, not excluded because of racism, and not any one group’s history held above others. However, Woodson felt that the best way to make that happen was to promote the study of Black history till such time that it was fairly integrated into mainstream history. And until it is, Black History Month remains important.

In honor of Black History Month, which starts next week, I am visiting local sites relating to African American history and sharing a little bit about each site. This month I will visit and write about several sites in Wilson and Johnston counties in Eastern North Carolina. I am looking forward to learning more about the African American history around me and sharing it with you all.

Published by Beth Bullock Nevarez

I am a historical consultant, offering research, collections care, and outreach services to museums, businesses, and other organizations. I graduated with a Master's Degree in public history from UNC Wilmington in 2015. I am also an alumna of UNC-Chapel Hill, where I majored in History with a concentration in American History and minored in Archaeology and Spanish. I write about all things history including my work in the field and all things relating to presenting the past to a public audience. I also love coffee, baking, books, sitcoms, and 90's rom-coms. I live in my native eastern North Carolina with my husband and our dog Dia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: