Dr. Carter G. Woodson was an American scholar who was born a little over a decade after the emancipation of African slaves in the United States. His family lived in Virginia, were they lived as enslaved persons and later as Freedmen after the Civil War. They later moved to West Virginia because Woodson's parents learned that a high school for Blacks was being built in Huntington, West Virginia.

Education was very important to Woodson's parents, as it was for most Freedmen. Literacy and education were punishable crimes for enslaved Africans, therefore education and the agency that comes from that were highly sought by Freedmen.

Woodson earned his BA from the University of Chicago and later his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University.

In 1916, Dr. Woodson founded the Journal of Negro History (later renamed the Journal of African American History) with the purpose of supplementing American and Global History lessons. Dr. Woodson realized that his formal education seemed to overlook, ignore, or was altogether ignorant of the fact that African peoples had rich histories which included achievements in agriculture, the sciences, engineering, the arts, social studies, literature, and more. The journal and Dr. Woodson's writing iis known for highlighting the contributions of black Americans.

Later in 1926, Dr. Woodson launched what we today would call a successful public outreach campaign: Negro History Week.  The second week of February between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, were chosen for the celebration. Fifty years later, 1976, the celebration was expanded to the entire month of February. 

A man who was born and raised from the socioeconomic-political outgrowth from colonialism, who studied the historical accounts of colonialism and earned a Ph.D in this, would later found a journal and create home-schooling programs (see this letter) all for the purpose of decolonizing our education system. Amazing!

Black History Month: Celebrating Blacks in Science, Promoting Diversity in STEM

Black History Month: Sharing news of Achievement, Innovation & Inspiration in STEM and other fields​

Like Dr. Woodson, I feel it is important to supplement current science lessons and discussions, including innovations and education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) during Black History month. However, this isn't necessarily about History proper, it's also about the present and future of STEM.

One of the boldest, and my opinion, most important lessons any educator or scientists can share during this month is to really disrupt the imagery and narrative of what a scientist looks like and who does science. For far too many generations, White has been the default - European and American men, often middle age or older - have been the face voice of who is an authority, an inventor, a professor, an ideal student.

Join me in disrupting this imagery and together we can begin the dismantling and #DecolonizeSTEM