The Father of Black History, Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950) grew up poor in New Canton, Virginia, the son of former slaves. He was a pioneer historian of black America who believed that "the mere imparting of information is not education."
"Truth comes to us from the past," he said, "then, like gold washed down from the mountains."
Woodson was a brilliant teacher, scholar, and writer who believed that prejudice was just a learned phenomenon. His classic book of essays, The Mis-Education of the Negro (1933) examined slavery from the slaves' perspective.
With passion, he observed, "Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history."
Woodson celebrated self-reliance and the great heritage of African Americans. His discoveries bequeathed the pride and dignity that come with sharing important accomplishments.
"We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice," he said on founding Negro History Week in 1926. The event evolved into February's Black History Month.
"The accounts of the successful strivings of Negroes for enlightenment under most adverse circumstances reads like beautiful romances of a people in heroic age," he said.
Education brings a life of abundance.