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Black History Month

The celebration and study of black history originated with Virginia native Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), a writer, teacher and historian. Woodson launched Negro History Week in 1926 to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout U.S. history. He chose the second week of February because it has the birthdays of two men who influenced blacks, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In the 1960s, the surge of interest in black studies led to calls for more than a week to study black history. In 1976, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Washington, D.C., called for a month-long celebration. And here we have it, all thanks to Carter G. Woodson.

Woodson, who spent most of his professional life living in Washington, D.C., was listed as a mulatto in at least one census record.1

1 Robert B. Murdock household, 1910 U.S. census, Washington, District of Columbia population schedule, Precinct 8, ED 151, SD 1, sheet 1 B, household 10, family 13, Ancestry.com, roll: T624_153.

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