Teacher Carter Godwin Woodson: The Father of Black History Month

Carter_G_Woodson_portrait[1]Carter Godwin Woodson is often credited with originating annual Black History Month celebrations. He is also recognized as the first African American of slave parents to earn a Ph.D. in History. To be sure, these are noteworthy accomplishments. But there is so much more to this brilliant man’s life story than is usually publicized. Did you know that Carter was required much of his childhood to work on the family farm rather than attend school? As a child he taught himself to read using the Bible and local newspapers. He didn’t finish high school until he was 20 years old. Were you aware that he once worked as a coal miner in Fayette County, West Virginia, and then later went back there to teach school to black coal miner’s children, offering them a model for using education to get out of the mines? Did you know that Carter taught school in the Philippines, and then became the supervisor of schools, which included duties as a trainer of teachers, there? All these biographical details and more can be found in the book Chalkboard Champions.