Berea College Library Offering Historical Look at Dr. Carter G. Woodson
The Berea College Hutchins Library is offering the public a chance to learn more about Berea College graduate and historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson during the library’s upcoming Friday Finds series.
Every Friday through Feb. 24, Berea College Special Collections and Archives (SCA) will give participants a look at Dr. Woodson’s published and unpublished writings.
Known as the “Father of Black History,” Woodson was born in New Canton, Fluvanna County, Virginia, during the American Reconstruction. Raised in a literate family among schoolteachers, Woodson left New Canton to join his two older brothers working in the coal mines of Huntington, West Virginia, at age 17. There, he attended Douglass High School, a school established in 1891 as one of the few public high schools available to African American youth.
Woodson received a Bachelor of Literature degree from Berea College in 1903. He continued his education at the University of Chicago where in addition to a second bachelor’s degree, he earned a master’s degree in European History in 1908. Woodson continued his studies at the Sarbonne in Paris and at Harvard University where he earned a Ph.D. in history in 1921. He was the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard.
In 1926, Woodson founded “Negro History Week,” the predecessor to today’s annual Black History Month. The SCA collection includes Woodson’s published and unpublished writings.
Friday Finds tours offer the public access to some of the great resources housed in SCA. Tim Binkley, an assistant professor of library science who heads SCA, said many people think archives are hidden from public access because of their value.
“While you can’t take these archives home, they are available for everyone to access—students and the public alike,” Binkley said. “To us, everything we have in Special Collections and Archives is an educational resource. We don’t want Dr. Woodson’s works to just sit on a shelf. We want them to be seen, held and appreciated.”
SCA offers the public access to one-of-a-kind materials, including historic photographs; oral history recordings; traditional regional music; and letters from Berea’s founders, early faculty and students. SCA supports the educational mission of Berea College by building and maintaining an extensive collection of primary-source materials documenting the history of Berea College, the Southern Appalachian region and the Berea community.
For more information on SCA, visit https://libraryguides.berea.edu/archives.