Father of Black History Month and His Tie to Black College Baseball Pioneers

1893-Denison-and-Woodson

Carter G Woodson on left and Carter H Barnett (pictured middle, second row) on right

In my continual research of early integrators and other black pioneers of college baseball, I often discover a connection between baseball and African-Americans who have gone on to do wonderful work both in their communities and throughout the country.  During Black History month, I’m often reminded of them.

On such individual, though he was not a ballplayer himself, is actually the father of Black History Month… Carter G. Woodson, who founded Negro History Week in 1926.

Woodson, an early African American historian and co-founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915 as well as The Journal of Negro History, did not begin his formal education until the age of 20.  He went on to earn a BA degree from Berea College in 1903, a masters degree from the University of Chicago in 1908 and his PhD from Harvard in 1912.

However, before earning his college degrees, Carter Woodson went to Huntington, West Virginia’s Douglass High School.  Among three relatives who schooled him there, Woodson credits his cousin and school principal, Carter Barnett for the inspiration and guidance he provided.

Carter Barnett was the second African American to graduate from Granville, Ohio’s Denison University and the first to play on its baseball teams where he starred as an outfielder in 1890.