Dr. Carter G. Woodson purchased 1538 Ninth Street in Northwest, Washington, D.C. on July 18, 1922 for $8,000.00. His "office-home," as it was so-often called, would go on to play a vital role in his mission to promote the scholarly study, institutionalization, and popularization of Black History. His home housed the Associated Publishers, Inc. and served as the base of operation for The Journal of Negro History, The Negro History Bulletin, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc. (ASNLH), and where he created "Negro History Week" in 1926. According to Dr. Pero Dagbovie, Woodson “wrote and dictated to his secretaries and stenographers numerous books, letters, memos, announcements, and essays in the comfort of his office-home.”
Woodson died in his bedroom, located on the third floor of the home on April 3, 1950. Upon his death, ASNLH president Mary McLeod Bethune said: “I loved Carter Woodson. He helped me to maintain faith in myself. He gave me renewed confidence in the capacity of my race.” Both the ASNLH and Associated Publishers occupied the home until 1971.
While the second floor of his home housed his office and library, the basement served as a make-shift archives. He preserved rare artifacts and collections that documented the African American and African Diaspora experience. In his annual report for 1941, he noted: “The Association…has on hand in its fireproof safe in the national office an additional 1,000 or more manuscripts which will be turned over to the Library of Congress as soon as they can be properly assorted. These manuscripts consist of valuable letters of the most noted Negroes of our time: Francis J. Grimke, Charles Young, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Richard Theodore Greerer.”
Last updated: August 12, 2023