Today In Black History: February 7, 1926 - Historian, author, and journalist Carter G. Woodson Pioneered the celebration of “Negro History Week,” to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass — later to become Black History Month.
Woodson’s reasoning for advocating a Negro History Week was that in his work as a historian (including a Ph.D from Harvard), he noted that the contributions by Black Americans “were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them,” and that anti-Black prejudice “is merely the logical result of tradition, the inevitable outcome of thorough instruction to the effect that the Negro has never contributed anything to the progress of mankind.”
In 1926, Woodson was ostracized by his contemporaries who insisted that “Negroes” were Americans with the same American history as anybody else — this “logic” was used to continually keep Black culture and history proper out of the curricula of institutions, including those we now know as HBCUs, despite Woodson’s advocacy.
In 2013, advocates of Black History Month continue to be derided with the same “logic” as Woodson was in 1926. Much as in 1926, the people who are most vocal in their criticism of “teaching separate history” today make no attempt to advocate for Black history during the rest of the year.