By Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950), known as the Father of Black History, was an American Historian, Author, Journalist, and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH, 1915). The son of James and Anne Eliza Carter, who were former slaves, Carter was born near New Canton, Buckingham, VA on December 19th. He realized early in life the importance of education even though he himself was nearly 20 years old when he began his own path towards becoming educated. In 1895 he enrolled in Huntington’s all-black Douglass High School. After approx. two years of mostly being out of school due to work, Woodson was one of two graduates in 1896. After additional studies in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, Woodson taught High School, served as a Sunday school teacher, and was elected as president of the board of deacons of a church. He obtained a two-year B.L. degree from Berea in 1903 and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1907. Woodson was the recipient of the second Doctorate of Philosophy degree earned by a Black from Harvard University in 1912. Life in those early years were anything but smooth for Woodson as he was thought to be a failure by the scholarly community after settling in Washington in 1909. The Journal of Negro History, a quarterly publication, was founded by Woodson in 1916. In 1926, Woodson has been credited with launching the annual February celebration of “Negro History Week,” an week-long event that commemorated the February 12th birthday of Abraham Lincoln and the February 14th birthday of Frederick Douglass. The concept of having a Negro History Week was expanded in 1976 to include the entire month of February, something that is widely celebrated all over the world today and is now known as Black History Month, although we celebrate Black History all year long. Woodson founded the Associated Publishers, the founder and editor of the Negro History Bulletin, and authored over 30 books including his most profound works, “The MisEducation of the Negro,” which was published in 1933 and is still relevant in today’s society. The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum is located at 2240 9th Avenue South in St. Petersburg, FL, is open from 12 Noon until 5 pm EST Tuesday through Fridays. The mission of the museum is two-fold. First, it is designed “to preserve, present, and interpret African American history and to engage a broad and diverse audience through these activities”; and second, “to promote an understanding among various groups that comprise the St. Petersburg community to enhance our ability as a society to respect, value diversity, and foster equal rights and social justice.” “The Memphis Branch Association is the local chapter of the national organization found by Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History, in 1915,” said University of Memphis, Art History Department faculty member Dr. Earnestine Jenkins. “In Memphis, ASALH members support Black cultural institutions, research and lecture on Black history, make field trips to regional historic sites of importance, and partner with organizations interested in the pursuit of knowledge about the African American experience.” The Memphis Branch held a Black History Month Luncheon in the Dorothy Harris Lounge on the LeMoyneOwen College campus in Memphis, TN, on the last day of Black History Month in 2019, Thursday, February 28th. The theme of the program was “Black Migrations.” The event honored the Memphis Area Branch founding president, Josephine Bennett, the wife of Judge Arthur Bennett. The program, facilitated by ASALH Memphis Branch Vice President of Membership, Phylliss Dixon, included a welcome and the singing of the entire “Lift Every Voice and Sing” national black anthem by James Weldon Johnson. Chapter President Clarence Christian gave the occasion and Africa in April Co-Founder and Chapter Vice President of Programs, Yvonne B. Acey, introduced Josephine A. Bennett, the luncheon’s honored guest. “I’d like to thank the Association for the ASALH Memphis Branch for choosing me for the prestigious award,” said Bennett. “Who knew my involvement with this organization a few years ago would lead to such an outstanding and meaningful effort? With me today are several members and friends of the original group who were inducted into the ASALH Memphis Branch February 27, 1977. The induction was held at Greater Middle Baptist Church with 60 inductees and several noted speakers of the community. Many of them are deceased, Rev. and Mrs. Benjamin Hooks, Mrs. Maxine Smith, and Mrs. R. Q. Venson who lead the parade for placement of the plaque in the W.C. Handy Park. Both the statue and the plaque are in the Hilton Hotel lobby. When you see them, you get a glimpse of Memphis African American History.” The organization welcomes and is seeking new members to join the organization. The Memphis Branch meets every 2nd Sunday at 3:00 pm in the Dorothy Harris Lounge at LeMoyne-Owen College, 807 Walker Avenue in Memphis, TN. You do not need to RSVP, but should you desire to announce your intentions to attend a meeting, the Memphis area Branch President, Clarence Christian, can be contacted by sending an email to him and the Membership Vice President, Phyllis Dixon can be contacted by email also. The national website can be viewed by visiting here. 28

29 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication