Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Degree Discipline

Arts and Science


The death of Carter Goodwin Woodson, April 3, 1950,1 has led directly or indirectly to the publishing of many articles and essays concerning Dr. Woodson's life and his various works. It is beyond doubt that many of these articles have lacked objectivity and were not critical in their analyses. There has been a tendency for those people who have cared to write an article on Dr. Woodson, to be lavish in their praise with far less care to the elements of historical analyses.

It would be presumptuous, at this time, to measure the full effect of his endeavors, but the time is ripe for beginning an impartial analysis of the works of a man who dedicated his life to the task of providing his people with a respectable past in accordance with the latest historical methods of research. Laboring under the apparent assumption, as expressed in a letter to the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration, that the Negroes, ignorant of their past, "have permitted others to discredit their past, which is just as glorious as that of any race,"2 he sought to give future historians the instrument of a respectable Negro history, which, if fused with the white historians' perspective, would provide a broader frame of reference for the reconstruction of history.

Some of our leading historians and social scientists contend that Dr. Woodson accomplished a titanic task embracing the latest historical methods, while other prominent historians and social scientists believe that he deliberately over emphasized the facts, thus reducing his life's work to mere propaganda.

In the light of these hypothetical contentions, the writer, realizing that a man is the product of his time, proposes to make an objective analysis of the historiography of Garter Goodwin Woodson as measured by the historical methodology of the time in which he wrote, with special emphasis upon his frames of reference. The problem for consideration is whether posterity will accept his findings as a valid foundation for future development, or will his historical works become a negligible factor in the field of historiography?

1American Historical Review, Volume LV, No. 4, July, 1950, p. 1041.

2Journal of Negro History, Volume XVII, No. 1, Januray, 1932, p. 103. Hereafter cited J. N. H.

Committee Chair/Advisor

George Ruble Woolfolk


Prairie View A&M College


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.