Historian Carter G Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Historian

 

Today, some thoughts are shared for Black History Month, 2019. As evidenced by the removal of Civil War statues, and the changing of names for public office buildings, schools and major thoroughfares, many forward-looking American communities and institutions are now in a full transition to acknowledge the War Between the States and its influence on the expression of public issues to have its greatest value as heritage and history, rather than, as before, being necessary as a vital element for mutual acceptance, solidarity, and survival while rising from the ruin of war. All Americans are being challenged to correctly grasp the true benefit, nature, and substance both of heritage, and that of genuine history. Because the minds and hearts of Christians dwell on lofty sacred themes of eternal spirit and immortality, many seem to dismiss the importance of simple earthly elements that describe the human predicament such as kinship, duty, time, and place. Even so, a physician acting as a chronicler and historian contributed two books of the Bible (the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts). The holy writings plainly establish that there are intangibles and unseen things that also must come into view because they further determine the human condition and ongoing events. Included are such features as desire, faith, hope, motivation, and willpower. Even as scholars, where we will repeatedly focus on such elements as discrimination, injustice, oppression, prejudice and racism, or upon the multiple difficulties, failures, and hardships that describe human experience, there is great danger that we may become caught up within the cycles of cynicism, despair, disappointment, and skepticism. There must be tried focus and tested order that will shield the emotional, mental, and psychological aspects of those who seek to document and preserve a lasting record to benefit future generations. Just as genuine faith will be discerned through works of righteousness, quality research will be distinguished and recognized as excellent on the basis of its robustness and rigor. There are many presentations and television documentary films, now, that are being regarded as “historical” because their intent is to expose the background of great events, of social movements, and of the sacrifices made by the great men remembered as leaders and participants. Unfortunately, the true character and substance for such productions often is that of celebrating secular knowledge, commercial advertising and selling, fostering nostalgia and sentiment, the promotion of popular culture, and the re-affirmation of questionable customs, themes, and traditions. The true goals, method, and substance of Black History are those of an academic field, a Liberal Arts curriculum, and an authentic Social Science. Thus, there are demands for clarity, exactness, objectivity, precision, and validity that may not be ignored, and are not to be forgotten. The same way educators and parents are now encouraging STEM, we also must be careful to encourage the scientific practice of History.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW: Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9: 6-11, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: A Battleaxe on War (11/13/2018); Arrayed In Sacred Favor (02/25/2018); Bloody Sunday — Black History (02/14/2018); George Washington Owned Slaves (08/17/2017); Tools For Knowing Divinity (05/12/2017); Fulfillment of His Dream? (04/05/2017); The Best Starting Point? (09/13/2016); The Accounts of Giants (05/24/2016); Academic Language? (12/10/2015)

 

 

RIGOR

[Black History Month, 2019]

Because History is a science

and its method is not shaped to say

I love you

or to lionize a fashion

culture pop, legend, myth, and lore

precise expressions

focused tools

are taken up

the measurable dimensions of

mankind

through artifacts

and documents

rather than emotions

issues, feelings

there is

the disciplined search

for cause

effect

and regularity

hypothesis and theory

probe for law

case study is not satisfied

with anecdote

broadcast news report

and even oral tradition

must meet standards

that will sate the tests of time

a harvest from this field

requires seed

finite with limits

not always for forecasting and prediction

the study has its worth because

the trust is that the truth

will set you free

the study has its worth

because of rigor.

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©Michael Andrew Williams, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended. Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

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THE BLACK PHOENIX

Washington, DC

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