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Contact: Emily Linroth, 202-619-7156
The National Park Service, partners and community members gathered at Shiloh Baptist Church in Northwest D.C. on Saturday, December 19, to celebrate the 140th birthday of Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
Dr. Woodson is considered the father of black history. He founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which celebrates its centennial this year.
The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, who has a doctorate in American History. Higginbotham is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, and the incoming president of ASALH.
"One hundred years ago, Carter G. Woodson began a movement to desegregate American History, working tirelessly to make scholarship more inclusive and fair as to the place of the African American contribution to our nation's past and present," Higginbotham said. "Woodson's birthday offers a timely opportunity to inspire new generations to continue his legacy of telling the stories of those who are often left out of the traditional American narrative."
Event speakers included Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton;Robert A. Vogel, Regional Director of the NPS National Capital Region;Robert Stanton, former director of the NPS, Ezekiel Dennison Jr., 3rd District Representative for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity;Executive Director of ASALH Sylvia Cyrus;and Rachel Wells, a descendent of Dr. Woodson.
Dr. Woodson lived and wrote many of his defining works in a brick rowhouse down the street from the church, which is now managed by the NPS as the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site.
The home has aged and been damaged by two hurricanes and an August 2011 earthquake. The NPS is in the first phase of restoring the Woodson Home, which involves stabilizing foundations, rebuilding facades, and repairing historic marble stairs and decorative frames.
"As we celebrate Dr. Woodson's birthday and enter the National Park Service's 100th birthday year, we look forward to making this site a beacon to help us better understand shared history, provide inspiration, and advance the search for historical truth," NPS Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said. "We are proud to preserve the ideas Dr. Woodson advanced—his teachings inspire the work we do every day."