Friday, February 03, 2006


Gerald EARLY blogs at the NY Times and "In the Center of it All":

"Taking these objections in turn: the creator of this commemoration, Carter G. Woodson, who earned a Ph.D. in history from Harvard and became one of the most prolific African American historians ever (though, with his crabbed writing style, never the easiest to read), chose the second week in February for Negro History Week in 1926 because of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12, which, when I was a kid, was a national holiday) and Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14), although, of course, Douglass never really knew when he was born. Lincoln’s birthday was clearly the more important because it tied African American history to the one white person who could make it a transcendent topic of human importance to both blacks and those whites who cared about this issue at all. [...] In short, he wanted to place the week in such a way that blacks would seem “present at the creation” of a new society, indeed, their condition being the cause of it. As historian Paul Johnson has asserted, the Civil War made the United States a nation. So why not tie it to Lincoln? The week was expanded to a month in 1976 and there seemed to be little reason to change it at that point to another, longer month. (more)


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