There was a man named Carter G. Woodson; Carter G. Woodson was a historian. He taught school at a black college in Washington, D.C. — Howard University. He was concerned about the fact that when he went out to talk with young people — young black people in public schools in Washington, D.C. — none of the students could name a famous black person. He thought it was terrible that no young black people knew the names of famous black people; that they didn’t know the name of Frederick Douglass; that they didn’t know the names of black inventors; black leaders; or famous black military people. But, when he asked them to name a president, they could name a president: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln. They could name a president and they could name famous white people, but they couldn’t name any famous black people.
So, Carter G. Woodson decided that we should have a time in the public schools where he would raise up black history. We would talk about black history to make sure that everybody, at least at one time during the year, would learn about black history. In 1926 he invented something that he called “Negro History Week.”
"Raising Up Our Memory,"
Trotter Review: Vol. 2
, Article 3.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umb.edu/trotter_review/vol2/iss1/3