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Association to Welcome Woodson Ambassadors Program at Upcoming Conference

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History has announced its Woodson Ambassador Program launch for the 109th Annual Conference, Sept. 25-29, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Carter G. WoodsonDr. Carter G. WoodsonThe Association for the Study of African American Life and HistoryThe program — an early professional training for history, public history, and museum studies scholars — is named after Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950). Woodson, the second African American to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard University, founded ASALH in 1915, then known as the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.

With the establishment of the Journal of Negro History (1916) and the Negro History Bulletin (1937), Woodson helped ASALH create research and publication outlets for black scholars. Its mission was and is to promote, research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about Black life, history, and culture to the global community.

The Woodson Ambassador Program can trace its roots to the beginnings of the nation’s recognition of Black History Month. As early as 1920, Woodson urged black civic organizations to promote the achievements that researchers were uncovering. A graduate member of Omega Psi Phi, he urged his fraternity brothers to take up the work and, in 1924, they responded by creating Negro History and Literature Week, renamed Negro Achievement Week.

The shift to a month-long celebration began in the 1940s, when Black residents in West Virginia began to celebrate February as Negro History Month. Cultural activist, Fredrick H. Hammaurabi, later started celebrating Negro History Month in Chicago during the mid-1960s.

By the late 1960s, Black History Month replaced Negro History Week as young Black students on college campuses became increasingly conscious of their links with Africa. Within ASALH, younger intellectuals, prodded Woodson’s organization to change with the times.  In 1976, the association used its influence to institutionalize the celebration which has since been endorsed by each U.S. president.

ASALH’s Woodson Ambassador Program, the latest embrace of rising intellectuals, commences during the upcoming annual meeting and conference. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students interested in professional development. It includes conference fees for membership, registration, and room and board. And participants must be willing to volunteer a minimum four hours during the conference.

Students who attend the conference participate in workshops and sessions that target rising professionals. They also take part in dissertation workshops and poster sessions, gaining work experience in a professional society as a member of the on-site program committee or the local arrangement committees.

At the conclusion of ASALH’s conference, attendees receive a certificate verifying that they were a Woodson Ambassador. Students can apply for the Woodson Ambassador Program at the website.

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