How Carter G. Woodson, 'The Father of Black History,' Is Teaching Us Still

By Cavna, Michael | Sunday Gazette-Mail, February 4, 2018 | Go to article overview

How Carter G. Woodson, 'The Father of Black History,' Is Teaching Us Still


Cavna, Michael, Sunday Gazette-Mail


Without the work of Carter G. Woodson, Google would probably not be kicking off Black History Month on Thursday, let alone with its home-page image of Woodson himself.

Woodson is historic because he believed in the illuminating power of the historic. He knew that tradition must be rightly learned before it can be valued, and that even then, society might try to devalue you and push you to the back of history's warehouse.

As a real-world example of such undervaluation, consider the historic "office-home of Woodson in Washington, D.C., at 1538 Ninth St. NW - just blocks from the White House as well as The Washington Post.

On The Post's site, you can even see rare footage of Woodson - aka "the father of black history - sitting at his desk long ago in his Ninth Street home, looking much as he did in Thursday's Google Doodle.

Yet in a city chockablock with burnished monuments, Woodson's Washington home was allowed to fall into a dilapidated state. As the president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History wrote in a letter to The Post in the summer, Woodson's D.C. home was among 30 memorials honoring the African-American experience that were "subject to the ravages of deferred maintenance. (That letter championed the bipartisan National Park Service Act to secure repair funding.)

Consider that this home was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and that it was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of endangered properties 17 years ago. …

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