Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Educator, Entrepreneur, Author and Activist, created “Negro History Week” (now known as Black History Month) for the purpose instilling in Blacks a true value of self based in a real and accurate study of Black Life and History. He believe that if Black students were raised up and educated in an environment that taught the significant Black contributions to the civilized world, (in the areas of economics, politics, government, science, mathematics as well as the Arts), that it would not only create in them a love for self and kind, but that it would also make them better citizens.
Dr. Woodson in “The Mis-Education of the Negro” showed that Blacks were not educated to be citizens, they were mis-educated to be tools of service to his once slave master. Therefore the Black perspective of Government and Politics in general was never based on a proper perspective of either. You can’t truly demand that which you don’t believe you are entitled to. If Blacks however, had an education that taught them of the great kingdoms and forms of government created by Blacks on which this modern government is based, then the proper motivation to engage politics could exist. Then, the demand for proper representation could be pursued from a historical as well as legal basis.
According to Dr. Woodson, Black’s needed a concentrated infusion of information based in Black History in America and most certainly abroad. Knowing that the prevailing attitude of Whites towards Blacks and Blacks toward themselves would not allow a complete overhaul of the educational system to reflect the above, He chose to create a period of a week, for that infusion. This week was not just to study history but to study how daily Black Life could be used to better understand the educational concepts being taught in the classrooms. It would be used to teach math and science based on Black life in the field, with local fruit carts, on railroads and plants. It would be used to teach from within ones’ own environment.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s own life was based in two forms of education. The one which was given him by the finest institutions in America and France, and the one which he gave himself through studying Black Life and history during his travels. From the latter, he found a wealth of information and resources from which he drew to write articles and publications. He would eventually become known as the “Father of Black History” in America. This was not a title he gave himself. He knew well and had studied the Works of W.E.B. DuBois and Drusilla D. Houston, who had written and published extensively on Black History. It was Dr. Woodson though, who would take their research and his own and transform it into a national movement of study within the Black communities. Dr. Woodson kept at the forefront of his life, “…history as a constructive force FOR THE DEVELOPMENT of Black people…” not just history for history sake.
It is in that spirit we should engage “Black History Month” and engage life.
Anthony Stewart, Narrator, “The Mis-Education of the Negro” Audiobook
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