The Pointe

MidPointe Library's Official Blog

Celebrating Black History Month with the Library

Today is February 1, 2019.

Thanks to the foresight of an African-American man, the son of slaves, a tradition that begins each year on this date has led to the awareness and appreciation of the contributions to society by African-Americans.

Whether it’s called “African American History Month” or “Black History Month,” the genesis of the observance has been credited to the academic, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, born in Virginia in 1875. (*)(**)

A seeker of knowledge and an educator, Dr. Woodson learned his “first history lessons” from his mother, who was born a slave, and his father, who was also born a slave and regularly beaten by his master (**).

The love of learning eventually led Woodson to one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the United States : Harvard University, where in 1912 he received his Ph.D. in history and the accomopanying designation, “Doctor.” (**)

Eventually Dr. Woodson became a member of the “American Negro Academy” which preserved the writings of African-Americans. In 1915 he “started the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.” (**)

It was important to Dr. Woodson that what happened in the past not be forgotten.

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Two of Dr. Woodson’s personal heroes -- abolitionist Frederick Douglass and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln -- were born in February. Fittingly, he initiated the first ‘Negro History Week” program in February 1926. That action was the first step toward honoring African-Americans in the month of February.(*)(**)

Dr. Woodson died in 1950.(**)

Thanks to Dr. Carter G. Woodson and others like him, the history of African Americans has become an important part of America’s educational systems and culture.


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(*)From “2018 Chase’s Calendar of Events.” The 2019 edition is now available at MidPointe Library.

(**) From “Carter G. Woodson -- Black History Pioneer,” by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack. Published in 2013 by Enslow Elementary, an imprint of Enslow Publishers, Inc. Available for checkout at MidPointe Library.

February has also been designated “Library Lovers Month!” (*)

This month and throughout the year, let MidPointe Library be your source for material on African American history and famous African Americans:

Library cardholders can also access our voluminous eLibrary accessible via our website:

MidPointe Library West Chester will host Eric Guttag as he presents “Dancing Among the Stars: The Multi-Talented Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison” on Wednesday, February 6 at 7:00 PM. Celebrate Black History Month and this trailblazing African-American by attending the out-of-this-world presentation!