Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Local Black History

            Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) has been cited as the father of black history.  This Virginia born Harvard Ph.D. (1912) founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (1915) and its Journal of Negro History and established Negro History Week (1926).  In a debate that is still heard today, some of Woodson’s contemporaries criticized his efforts to teach or understand African-American history apart from general American history.  Current wisdom suggests that designating a black history month is not wrong as long as black history is connected to the timeline of history studied throughout the year.  The following is to focus your attention on some of the black history resources in our area and the people and institutions that are collectors and repositories of this information.

            Americans’ consideration of the African-American experience is only about fifty years old.  The experience of and the lessons learned by many Americans during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the advent of expanded mass communication as in the presentation of the television series “Roots” resulted in widespread interest in black history among all races.  Today we find increased interest and research in the experience of this population at the local level.