At a time of Jim Crow ideology and enforced segregation, Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) pioneered the documentation of African American life and the recognition of African American contributions to US history. Born to enslaved parents, Woodson was self-educated until he began formal schooling at the age of twenty. He received degrees from Berea College and the University of Chicago, and after several years of teaching, travel, and studies abroad, he settled in Washington, DC.
In 1912, Woodson became the second African American (after W.E.B. DuBois) to receive a doctorate from Harvard University. In 1915, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and a year later, the Journal of Negro History, with offices from his home. The journal continues to publish today as the Journal of African American History. Before retiring from teaching in 1922, Woodson taught at M Street and Armstrong High Schools and at Howard University, where he served as Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Head of the Graduate Faculty.
In 1926, Woodson was instrumental in creating Negro History Week, which is now observed as Black History Month. In 1937, he founded the Negro History Bulletin, to reach a broader audience than the academic journal. At the time of his death, he was working on a six-volume Encyclopedia Africana. Over a lifetime of scholarship, Woodson significantly contributed to Black studies, and the historic site designation of his home confirms his place within history.
DC Inventory: March 3, 1979
National Register: May 11, 1976
National Historic Landmark: May 11, 1976
National Historic Site: February 27, 2006