Imagery of Regent people and campus

Historical Background

"Only when lions have historians will hunters cease being heroes."
-- African Proverb

Carter Godwin Woodson has been called the father of Black History Month. Woodson (1875-1950), the son of former slaves James and Eliza (Riddle) Woodson, was born on a small farm in New Canton, Va. From an early age he possessed an unquenchable thirst for learning and understood the importance of gaining a proper education when striving to secure and make the most out of one's divine right of freedom. Although he did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old, when he could, Woodson attended the local school and eventually went to Berea College in Kentucky. Ultimately, he obtained a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1907. In 1908 he attended Sorbonne University in Paris where he became fluent in French. Woodson received a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 1912, becoming only the second African American to earn such a degree. (The first was W. E. B. DuBois.) He taught briefly and held educational administrative posts in the Philippines, at Howard University (where he was dean of the School of Liberal Arts), and at West Virginia State College.

In 1926 Woodson initiated the annual February observance of Negro History Week. He chose February for the observance because February 12 is Abraham Lincoln's birthday, and February 14 the accepted birthday of Frederick Douglass. By the 1970s, Negro History Week had expanded to become Black History Month.

Today, it is clear that blacks have significantly impacted the development of the social, political and economic structures of the United States and the world. The Regent University community is continuing Woodson's tradition of disseminating information about black life, history and culture to the global community by presenting Black Heritage Month programming the entire month of February.

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