Teaching Students About Carter G. Woodson

Education holds the power to enlighten minds and ignite change, a belief firmly held and championed by Carter G. Woodson, the esteemed African American historian, author, and journalist. Known as the “Father of Black History,” Woodson’s dedication to educating students about African American history transformed the landscape of education and left an indelible mark on society.

Born to formerly enslaved parents on December 19, 1875, in New Canton, Virginia, Woodson’s early life was marked by hard work in the coal mines of West Virginia—a far cry from the hallowed halls of academia he would later frequent. Despite the late start to his formal education, Woodson’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge led him to earn a high school diploma in just two years before venturing through a self-made path into higher education.

Woodson embarked on an academic journey that would see him attain a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, becoming only the second African American after W.E.B. Du Bois to earn a doctorate from this prestigious institution. With his educational foundation firmly established, Woodson turned his gaze towards nurturing the minds of future generations.

Understanding that history shapes identity and purpose, Carter G. Woodson spearheaded the establishment of Negro History Week in 1926, which later expanded into what is now celebrated as Black History Month. This monumental initiative was founded upon the core belief that education should provide an accurate portrayal of Black peoples’ contributions and experiences.

To educate students about Carter G. Woodson is to teach them about resilience in the face of adversity and the importance of self-representation in history books. The curriculum can explore his groundbreaking publication “The Mis-Education of the Negro,” which argued that African Americans were being culturally indoctrinated rather than taught in American schools.

Lessons should underscore how Woodson worked tirelessly to ensure future scholars could build upon his efforts through his founding of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and his creation of the pivotal Journal of Negro History. Both endeavors sought to disseminate knowledge and foster an environment where research regarding black history could flourish free from bias or omission.

Teachers might also highlight how Carter G. Woodson’s legacy encourages critical thinking about how history is constructed and shared. Educators can use his life story as an example for students to critically analyze sources, understand historical context, and appreciate different perspectives—skills paramount in cultivating informed citizens.

Students learning about Carter G. Woodson will inevitably learn about determination, advocacy for educational equity, and persistence in uplifting marginalized voices—a truly empowering set of lessons for learners across all ages.

In honor of Dr. Woodson’s teachings and beliefs, integrating study materials like biographies, academic articles scrutinizing contemporary educational curriculums, and discussions led by historians specializing in African American culture bestows upon students a comprehensive understanding beyond mere facts—it bestows inspiration derived from Carter G. Woodson’s profound impact on history and education.

Choose your Reaction!