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Dr. Carter Woodson’s Birthday Celebrated

National Capital Parks-East

National Park News

On Monday December 19th, the National Park Service, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the African American Experience Fund, and Shiloh Baptist Church jointly sponsored a celebration of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s 136th birthday. The ceremony took place at the Shiloh Baptist Church, located one block away from the home of Dr. Carter G. Woodson.   

Director Jon Jarvis was the keynote speaker and gave a wonderfully fitting tribute to Woodson. Additional remarks were provided by former Director Robert Stanton, senior advisor to Secretary Salazar, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia, Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray, James Stewart, the national president of ASALH, Lloyd Jordan, the national president of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Marta Cruz Kelly, the Service’s chief of interpretation, Deputy Director Mickey Fearn, and other area community leaders.

This celebration also served as the premier of the NPS digital storytelling ambassadors program. Digital storytelling consists of short, first-person video narratives. This initiative is a pilot project being tested at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, Carter G. Woodson Home, and Little Rock Central High School National Historic Sites. The featured stories focused on Dr. Woodson and were created by students from Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Carter G. Woodson was born to emancipated slaves in Buckingham County, Virginia, on December 19, 1875.  Woodson worked as a farm laborer, sharecropper, and coal miner.  He believed that education could transform society and uplift the lower classes.  He obtained two bachelor of science degrees, a master of science degree, and in 1912 became the second African American to graduate from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in history. 

Dr. Woodson, a noted historian and author, was the founder of Negro History Week, which evolved into the annual Black History Month observance.  In 1915, Dr. Woodson founded ASALH. ASALH’s mission is to promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about African American life, history and culture to the global community. Annually, they partner with the NPS to honor Dr. Woodson’s birthday. 

Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site was designated in 2006.  The site is currently awaiting funds to be restored and is not open to the public. A welcome center for the home is located at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, 1318 Vermont Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20005. For further about the home, please visit or call (202) 673-2402.


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