Return Carter G. Woodson's Name To Its Rightful Place

Published 3:37 pm Thursday, March 8, 2012

Editor, The Herald:

In 1971, the Buckingham County School Board removed Carter G. Woodson's name from the only black high school in the county. I believe this was done because of intolerance. Now, the only proper thing to do is to return his name. Furthermore, the entire school should be named Carter G. Woodson, not a portion of it. Don't insult Woodson and the citizens again by not doing the right thing. He has earned the honor. Honoring him would help keep his legacy alive and prevent another piece of history from being forgotten. At this precarious time, the world is in need of role models, and Woodson was definitely one of mine.

Carter G. Woodson was born in New Canton, Buckingham County, Virginia, to former slaves James Henry Woodson and Anne Eliza Riddle. He credits his father for influencing the course of his life. His father, he later wrote, insisted that “learning to accept insult, to compromise on principle, to mislead your fellow man, or to betray your people, is to lose your soul. ”

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Education was extremely important to Woodson. However, he was denied access to a public education in Buckingham County. Therefore, he relocated to West Virginia after hearing a school for black children was being built in Huntington. Eventually, he earned a Bachelor's degree in literature from Berea College in Kentucky and later earned a Master's degree from the University of Chicago before attending Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard with a PhD in history. Also, he founded Negro History Week, which later became known as Black History Month.

Buckingham County has an opportunity to correct this injustice by returning the name of Carter G. Woodson to the remodeled complex. In doing so, Buckingham would make its citizens and nation proud.

Geraldine Peaks-Wade