Dr. Woodson was the son of former slaves, but earned his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 1912-only the second black American to do so (after W. E. B. DuBois). This achievement was even more extraordinary since he did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old. In 1915, Dr. Woodson founded The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (the Association) and The Associated Publishers to assure an outlet for the publication of works of African-American history and the scholarly work of black scholars. The Association is now known as The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH). In 1926 the Association, under Dr. Woodson's leadership, established Negro History Week to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Today this commemoration has expanded into Black History Month.
The Carter G. Woodson Home at 1538 9th Street, NW in Washington, DC, was Dr. Woodson's home from 1922 until his death in 1950. He directed the operations of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) and pursued his own studies of African-American history from there. After his death, the home continued to serve as the national headquarters of the Association until the early 1970s. It is now vacant, closed to the public, and in need of rehabilitation.