Historical Hall of Fame: Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950) was an African-American historian, educator, author of landmark
books about the Negro in America, and "father" of Black History Week which was first celebrated in February of 1926
Virginia History Series
Carter G. Woodson was born December 19, 1875, the son of former enslaved Africans, James and Eliza Riddle Woodson. His father helped
Union soldiers during the Civil War, and he moved his family to West Virginia when he heard that Huntington was building a high school
for blacks. Coming from a large, poor family, Carter Woodson could not regularly attend school. Through self-instruction, Woodson
mastered the fundamentals of common school subjects by age 17.
Wanting more education, Carter went to Fayette County to earn a living
as a miner in the coal fields. He was able to devote only a few months each year to his schooling. In 1895, at the age of 20, Woodson
entered Douglass High School, where he received his diploma in less than two years. From 1897 to 1900, Woodson taught in Fayette County.
In 1900 he was selected as the principal of Douglass High School. He earned his Bachelor of Literature degree from Berea College in
Kentucky in 1903.
From 1903 to 1907, Woodson was a school supervisor in the Philippines. Later, he attended the University of
Chicago, where he was awarded an A.B. and A.M. in 1908. He was a member of the first black fraternity Sigma Pi Phi and a member of
Omega Psi Phi. He completed his Ph.D. in history at Harvard University in 1912, where he was the second African American (after W.E.B.
DuBois) to earn a doctorate. His doctoral dissertation,The Disruption of Virginia, was based on research he did at the Library of
Congress while teaching high school in Washington, D.C. After earning the doctoral degree, he joined the faculty at Howard University
as a professor, where he later served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. From 1920 to 1922, he was Dean of the West Virginia
Collegiate Institute, now WV State University.
In 1926, Woodson pioneered the celebration of "Negro History Week", designated
for the second week in February, to coincide with marking the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
A Century of Negro Migration (1918)
The History of the Negro Church (1921)
The Negro in Our History (1922)
Free Negro Owners of Slaves
in the United States in 1830, Together With Absentee Ownership of Slaves in the United States in 1830 (1924)
Free Negro Heads of Families
in the United States in 1830, Together With a Brief Treatment of the Free Negro (1925)
Negro Orators and Their Orations (1925)
of the Negro as Reflected in Letters Written During the Crisis, 1800-1860 (1927)
Negro Makers of History (1928)
African Myths, Together
With Proverbs (1928)
The Rural Negro (1930)
The Negro Wage Earner (1930)
The Mis-Education of the Negro (1933)
The Negro Professional
Man and the Community, With Special Emphasis on the Physician and the Lawyer (1934)
The Story of the Negro Retold (1935)
Background Outlined: Or, Handbook for the Study of the Negro (1936)
African Heroes and Heroines (1939)