Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES CENTER ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 16 January 2021

Woodson, Carter Godwin locked

1875–1950 African American historian and educator who pioneered the research and dissemination of African American history; initiator of Black History Month.
  • Aaron Myers


One of nine children, Carter Godwin Woodson was born in New Canton, Virginia, and grew up on his family's farm in rural Virginia. His mother, a former slave who had secretly learned to read and write as a child, and two of his uncles, who had received training at Freedmen's Bureau schools, tutored him and cultivated his interest in learning. In 1892 Woodson moved to Huntington, West Virginia, where he worked in coal mines.

At age twenty, Woodson enrolled at Frederick Douglass High School, the only all-black school in the area. He completed the four-year curriculum in two years while working to pay his tuition. Following graduation he obtained a teaching position in Winona, West Virginia. But in 1901 Woodson returned to his former high school to teach and later to serve as principal Meanwhile he intermittently attended Berea College an integrated school established by abolitionists in Kentucky from ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription