For day one of my challenge, I chose to write about a man by the name of Carter Goodwin. He is the man responsible for selecting February as Black History Month.
Carter Goodwin Woodson, was born in 1875 in New Canton, Virginia. Along with W.E.B Du Bois, he was 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 selected February for several reasons, in that this month has an enormous significance in Black American history. First it is in celebration of two historical figures who had a great impact on the Black population. They are Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
Other noteworthy persons whereby the month of February is significant are:
- W.E.B. Dubois, who was born on February 23, 1868, and who was a Civil Rights leader and co-founder of the N.A.A.C.P.
- The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed on February 3, 1870 which gave Blacks the right to vote.
- The first Black senator, Hiriam R. Revels took office on February 25, 1870.
- The N.A.A.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was founded in New York City of February 12, 1909, and
- Malcolm X, the militant leader who promoted Black Nationalism was shot and killed by Black Muslims on February 21, 1965.
While there are many that have complained about being given the shortest month of the year to honor black history, it seems that February proves to be a very significant month in regards to recognizing black history. Furthermore, we should always strive to learn about our heritage year around. Yes I am very thankful for the month given to honor and recognize our heritage, it is important to constantly educate ones' self.
I am ending with Two very powerful quotes by Dr. Woodson...
“History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.” - Carter G. Woodson, the Mis-Education of the Negro
“If the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto.”
- Carter G. Woodson