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Carter G. Woodson House

HABS photo Woodson House

Carter G. Woodson resided at the ca. 1890 rowhouse at 1538 9th Street, NW, from 1915 until his death in 1950. Dr. Woodson was the son of former slaves, and earned his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 1912 - only the second black American to do so (after W.E.B. DuBois). He founded The Associated Publishers to assure an outlet for the publication of works of African-American history and the scholarly work of black scholars. While living in this house, he founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (the Association) in 1915 (originally called Association for the Study of Negro Life and History). This building served as the headquarters for the Association until the early 1970s. In 1926 the Association, under Dr. Woodson's leadership, established Negro History Week, now the National African American History Month. Dr. Woodson selected the second week in February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, symbolically reflecting his belief that African American history is American history.

The home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976 by the Secretary of the Interior for its significance to African American heritage. In 2005 the National Park Service acquired the property and on February 27, 2006, it was officially dedicated as the 389th unit of the National Park System. It now stands vacant, closed to the public, awaiting rehabilitation by the National Park Service. Photographs were taken of the house in 2011 and those have been transmitted to the Library of Congress. HABS measured the house in 2012, and will complete drawings and an historical report in 2014 to document the home of the "Father of Black History." This documentation will assist in the rehabilitation efforts of the park.