Celebrating Black History Month 2021 and Honoring Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson’s Legacy

This statement comes from the Port of Portland’s Alliance of BLack Employees (A.BL.E) Employee Resource Group

Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson – NPGallery, Public Domain

Each year, Black History Month (nationally recognized in 1976) shines a light on a great patriarch in American History: Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, historian, author, journalist and founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (in 1915), which is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, or ASALH.

In the spirit of ASALH’s Black History Month’s 2021 theme – The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity – the following excerpted bio of Dr. Carter G. Woodson gives us a glimpse of Woodson’s family’s influence in his early life:

Carter Godwin Woodson was born on December 19, 1875, in Canton, Buckingham County, Virginia. He was born into a family of nine children. His father, James Woodson, was a run-away slave from a plantation in Richmond, Virginia. James Woodson escaped after a conflict with his owner, joined the Union army to fight for the freedom of black Americans, and earned his freedom around 1864. Woodson’s mother, Anne Eliza Riddle, was also a slave who became literate from her white mistress. Woodson’s mother taught him and his siblings how to read and write from an early age. Thus, this sparked Woodson’s passion for education, and through his parents’ and grandparents’ stories about slavery, he became interested in African American History.

It was the power of the Black Family – described by ASALH as “the family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present” – that later spurred Woodson to become known as the “father of black history.” After launching the Journal of Negro History in 1916, Woodson and ASALH established “Negro History Week” in 1926. Five decades later, after celebrations had expanded across the country, the week grew into Black History Month.

Yes, we honor Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson’s legacy in acknowledging and promoting the remarkable achievements of Black Americans and welcome you to join the Port’s Alliance of Black Employees (A.BL.E) as we celebrate Black History Month 2021!