September 9, 1915: Carter Woodson Helps Found Association for the Study of Negro Life and History

Sep 9, 2019

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On September 9, 1915, historian Carter Woodson helped found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. This group became the cornerstone for the study of black history in the United States

Woodson first came to West Virginia as a 16 year old after leaving his native Virginia to look for work. After a brief stint laying railroad ties in Charleston, he began mining coal in Fayette County. When he was 20, Woodson enrolled in Huntington’s segregated Frederick Douglass High School. He graduated in two years and moved back to Fayette County to teach. In 1900, he succeeded his cousin as principal of Douglass High. He was only 24. Woodson eventually moved on to Harvard University, where, in 1912, he became only the second African-American to earn a doctorate from the prestigious school. His dissertation addressed factors that had led to West Virginia’s statehood.

In 1920, Woodson returned to West Virginia to serve for two years as a dean at West Virginia Collegiate Institute—today’s West Virginia State University. Recognized as the “father of black history,” Carter Woodson died in 1950 at age 74.