Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Carter Woodson, the lion's historian

Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter. Ethiopia, Benin, Ghana, and Togo (Ewe)

1926 - Carter G. Woodson announced “Negro History Week".

If you studied Black history at school, consider yourself lucky. For those of us who went to school decades ago, Britain and Europe seemed to be the only countries with history. So we knew a lot about the dysfunctional Tudors and Stewarts of Britain, and the murderous Borgias of Italy, but nothing about people of colour. It seemed Black people just had roles in the backdrop of Tarzan and Phantom comic strips, or as cartoon characters in B-grade movies.

Carter Godwin Woodson did his best to change those concepts of race. Woodson was a Black American historian, author, and journalist who is known as the Father of Black History.

He was the son of former slaves and was not able to attend school regularly because his family was so poor. So he taught himself and was ultimately able to earn a first degree in literature. He later gained his MA and in 1912 was awarded a PhD from Harvard University.

His research into Black history began because he felt that scholars were ignoring or misrepresenting that area of study. He wrote several books on Black history, and published journals that continue to be published today.

Woodson was a member of the faculty of Howard University, and left because of difference with the president. He then spent the rest of his life researching and preserving Black history, until then ignored by historians. He was also a regular contributor to Marcus Garvey’s newspaper, and strongly supported efforts by Caribbean people to include Black history and culture in school curricula.

In 1920 he founded the oldest Black American publishing company in the United States. In 1926, he single-handedly pioneered Black History month, originally Negro History Week – the second week in February.


evision said...

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Yvonne McCalla Sobers said...

evision, thanks very much for your supportive comments. All the best in your studies!



When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at