I hope this document find you well and in great spirits
As we transition towards Opal Walk and Juneteenth National Freedom Celebration, in the 150th Anniversary of the 15th Amendment and the year of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we find our self aligned with history. The legacy of Carter Godwin Woodson (December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950) founder of Black History Month; founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History; first scholar to study African-American history; founder of The Journal of Negro History. In emphasizing the importance and significance of Carter Godwin Woodson and Black History Month I will use the Ghanaian metaphor, Sankofa, which translates, “Go back and get it (the legacy of Carter Godwin Woodson), to return”. I will return to apply the past to the present.
Carter G. Woodson was born on December 19, 1875, in New Canton, Virginia. His family Virginia roots is 5 generations removed from the first 20 noted enslaved Africans who stepped onto the shores of North America, in 1619, in Fort Monroe Virginia. Mr. Woodson is the son of parents who were former slaves. His father was one of numerous invisible Virginia resident soldiers who helped the Union soldiers during the Civil War. Woodson’s father’s valuable information blueprint of the land and the locations of confederate military armory contributed to General Robert E. Lee and his Confederate Army surrendering to Pennsylvania’s Camp William Penn United States Color Troops “USCT”. Because of African soldiers the likes of Camp William Penn’s USCT’ (the 25th Corps) and invisible soldiers the likes of James Henry Woodson (Carter G. Woodson Father). On June 19th 1865, General Gordon Granger, surrounded by PA USCT’s (the 25th Corps) enforced General Order # 3; which enforced President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. General Granger reciting of General Order # 3 spontaneously ignited the 1st Juneteenth Celebration, a jubilant commemoration of the ending of slavery. Juneteenth is the national act which represent the ending of slavery. Pennsylvania’s 1780’s Emancipation Act, on paper, enforced on January 1st 1808, is the first act in this nation to end slavery in the state of PA. PA’s HB619 legislation follows in the footsteps of both acts emphasizing and encouraging the Commonwealth of PA constituents, visitors to the state, governmental entities, civic organizations, schools and institutions of higher education in its Commonwealth to observe Juneteenth in 2020 in a manner that emphasizes the meaning and importance of the end of slavery in the United States. How aligned with history we are.
As we continue with tracing Carter Woodson great legacy we see; on September 9, 1915, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH), in Chicago (Chi-Town). In the same year he published The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861. In 1916 Bother Woodson began his publication of the scholarly Journal of Negro History. It continues to be published by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. It has never missed an issue, despite the Great Depression, loss of support from foundations, and two World Wars. In 2002, it was renamed the Journal of African American History and. Brother Woodson wrote and lectured, “African-American contributions are overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them”. To address this reality, Woodson created the Negro History Bulletin, for teachers in elementary and high school grades. In 1919, Professor Woodson was hired by Howard University to be the head of the Graduate Faculty and Dean of the School of Liberal Arts. Brother Woodson was hired as Howard University first faculty member with a Ph.D. in history. Woodson was the second African American (after W. E. B. Du Bois) to earn a doctorate. With Carter G. Woodson, hiring a new history curriculum was adopted in that year. When observing Howard University 1919 new history curriculum, clearly we see Bro. Woodson intent to provide students of the African Diaspora with an insightful understanding of their past and present role in World History. Woodson made Black history, at Howard University, an integral part of the history of humanity from ancient times to the present. From four courses in history taught by 1 professor, the curriculum blossomed to include 22 taught by 4 professors. Observe below Howard University History Department 1919 full lists of courses. Upon this rock, Howard University today proudly stands as a guiding light for the world to see, admire, & imitate.
For Freshmen and Sophomores
History 1 Civilization of the Near East and Greece (Dyson)
History 2 Roman Civilization (Dyson)
History 3 Medieval Europe (Wesley)
History 4 Modern Europe (Wesley) (No History 5)
History 6 History of England to Henry VII (Tunnell)
History 7 History of England Since Henry VII (Tunnell) (No History 8-10)
History 11 History of the United States 1606-1789 (Woodson)
History 12 History of the United States 1789-1850 (Woodson)
History 13 History of the United States 1850-1877 (Woodson)
History 14 History of the United States from 1877 to the Present (Tunnell)
For Juniors and Seniors [School of Liberal Arts]
History 25 The Renaissance and Reformation (Wesley)
History 26 Constitutional History of England (Tunnell)
History 27 The Revolutionary Movement in Europe, 1740-1871 (Wesley)
History 28 Recent European History 1870-1919 (Wesley)
History 29 Latin America (Dyson)
History 30 The Negro in American History (Woodson)
History 31 Constitutional History of the United States, I (Woodson)
History 32 Constitutional History of the United States, II (Woodson)
History 33 Selected Topics in American History (Woodson)
History 34 America as a World Power (Tunnell)
History 35 Russia and the Far East (Wesley)
History 36 European Expansion in Africa (Wesley)
When you look deeper into this amazing brother work, we discover his organized study of African-American history; his organized work to preserve the history of African-Americans. In February 1926, at the age of 50 Mr. Woodson launched the commemoration of “Negro History Week”, the precursor of Black History Month. “Negro History Week” was founded for the purpose of commemorating important events in the history of People of the African Diaspora. From the event’s initial phase, primary emphasis was placed on, encouraging the coordinated teaching of the history of Africans in America, in the nation’s public schools. The first Negro History Week was coordinated with the Departments of Education of the States of North Carolina, Delaware, and West Virginia as well as the city school administrations of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. African-American educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969, proposed enlivening Carter Woodson idea and thoughts of a month long celebration of Black History. One year later Kent State celebrated the first Black History Month, from January 2, 1970 – February 28, 1970.
A deeper glance at Carter Woodson’s legacy has one marveling over his great writings; The Negro in Our History (1922); The History of the Negro Church (1927); The Mis-Education of the Negro (1933); Brother Woodson realized the need for research into the neglected past of African Americans. Carter Woodson believed in self-reliance and racial respect, values he shared with Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican activist, he, be-friend. Marcus Garvey legacy is his historic unwavering efforts to return People of the African Diaspora to their roots in Africa. Woodson became a regular columnist for Marcus Garvey’s weekly Negro World. Carter G. Woodson, how great thy, are.
Use of the Ghanaian metaphor, Sankofa enabled us to go back in history and get Carter Godwin Woodson legacy to return on the eve of 2020 “Black” History Month. In the 150th Anniversary year of the 15th Amendment (African-American Male Suffrage) and the 100th Anniversary year of the 19th Amendment (Women Suffrage). How ironic on the eve of 2020 Black History Month, in the mist of two suffrage anniversaries, which gave African Males and Women the right to vote. U.S Senate Republicans voted to not allow witness or documents in a sham Senate Presidential Impeachment Trial. Mitch McConnel proved correct when he informed us he was going to coordinate the Senate Impeachment trial with the President. We got a chance to see what that looked like. The president did not want new witnesses and documents there were no new witnesses or new documents. Mick Mulvaney proved correct when he told this nation to get over it, Republicans are going to use foreign nations to help them win the 2020 election; remain in power; take away a people voting rights; totally disrespect the U.S Constitution; cover up a President and Republicans corruption; tip the scale of the Supreme Court in Republican favor/control; fill the courts up with the appointment of hundreds and hundreds of conservative federal judges; enlarge mass incarceration of people of color. The messages to the children from the highest offices in the land, the Presidency, the White House, and Senate, it is ok to lie, be corrupt, and hurt others.
In 2020, we find our self on the eve of Black History Month with pages of the U.S Constitution thrown out the window. Three years removed from the election of a 2 terms African-American President. Three years and counting transitioning further into the shambles of immorality in the U.S.A. In the mist of all this madness. Just days removed from the vision of Kobe Bryant with his arms snuggled around his terrified 13 years old daughter Gianna as the helicopter descend and crashed on the ground. We are experiencing trying times in neon lights. Which are signs, symbols, and reasons why during this Black History Month we must wrap our arms around our children, our youth and the millennial (our future). For our children sake and for the sake of this nation we must keep our morals above the fray, get our own house in order while we await 9 months to silent this madness at the ballot box.
With the madness all over our T.V sets, daily newspapers, and cell phones. Black History Month’s symbol and its legacy offers us a new beginning, a fresh renewed start to ascend daily to the throne of grace, in our families, and in our closets; instructing our children in the principles of our religion, whereby they may heal thy temple, become wise unto salvation; reunite thy fragmented families; research and pursue knowledge of thy family tree & tribunal/cultural roots. Today the spirit of Carter G. Woodson is calling out to our spirits to commemorate an important event in the history of People of the African Diaspora, the likes of Black History Month and Juneteenth. Legacy.
My Brethren as we transition into Black History Month in the mist of this nation’s toxic madness I remind you of Rev. Absalom Jones January 1st 1808 Thanksgiving Sermon. In which he said, “May Africa stretch out her hands unto thee, and lay hold of the gracious promise of thy everlasting covenant. Destroy, we beseech thee, all the false religions which now prevail among us; and grant, that they may soon cast their idols, to the moles and the bats of the wilderness. Let praise and thanksgivings for what our God has done for our African brethren. Let us not forget to praise him for his mercies to such of our color as are inhabitants of this country. Need I say more Why Black History Month, Why Juneteenth?