Dr. Edna Beatrice Chappell McKenzie
December 29, 1923 – June 26, 2005
Starting as a typist at The Pittsburgh Courier, Edna B. McKenzie became a society reporter then jumped to the news desk during the paper’s heyday. At the Courier, her mentor was the civil rights icon, Daisy Lampkin, known at one time as Mrs. NAACP. After leaving the paper in the late 1950s, she enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh where she earned a BA in education and an MA in history and was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in the history department. Dr. McKenzie was an educator, historian, prominent advocate for human rights, and a devoted ASALH lifetime member. A
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The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc. (now African American Life and History) (ASALH)) founded in Chicago, IL, September 9, 1915, then incorporated October 3, 1915, under the laws of the District of Columbia is a non-profit, tax-exempt professional organization. Its founder was the late Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained scholar and international educator who was the son of former slaves. Woodson, like W.E.B. DuBois, realized early the important role of the African American (then “Negro”) in the history of the U.S. and world. He committed his life to research on the African American past and to the dissemination of knowledge about the African American in the new world. The work of the organization historically has been the conservation and preservation of African American history and culture.
The Mission of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. (ASALH) is to promote, research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community.
The Vision of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History is to be the premier Black heritage and learned society with a diverse and inclusive membership supported by a strong network of national and international branches to continue the Woodson legacy.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, ASALH operates as local, state, and international branches promoting greater knowledge of African American history through a program of education, research, and publishing. ASALH:
- supports the study of African American history in homes, schools, colleges, churches, organizations, businesses, and government;
- provides a speakers’ bureau in support of Black History programs throughout the year;
- sets the annual theme for National African American History Month;
- sponsors specialized professional development curriculum workshops, institutes, and seminars;
- co-sponsors with the National History Day organization awards to high school students for winning projects, papers, or performances relating to African American History;
- sponsors an annual convention, a national venture of study, discussion and projection;
- supports diversity through dialogue and public education;
- sponsors undergraduate essay contests at annual ASALH convention;
- Carter G. Woodson Historic Site Fund.
Did you know?
When Dr. Woodson founded ASALH one of his main thoughts in mind was harmony among the races—he set out to document the true account of the history of African Americans in the United States and his hope was that other cultures, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, etc. would do the same so the history of the United States that is taught to children in our schools would be complete and correct, without distortion. Beginning in the 60s, several years after his death, his dream became a reality. Other cultures began to lobby Congress to put in place celebrations for their history as well. And guess what—they followed the same plan—starting with a week, then expanding to a month
In 1968 Congress authorized the celebration of Hispanic American Week that was expanded in 1988 to Hispanic American History Month?
In October 1978 a bill was signed designating the first ten days of May to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and in 1990 the celebration was expanded to a month-long celebration.
That the public celebration of women’s history in this country began in 1978 as “Women’s History Week” in Sonoma County, California. The week including March 8, International Women’s Day, was selected. In 1981, Congress proclaimed a national Women’s History Week — Then, In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to a month, and March was declared Women’s History Month?
That August 1990? established the first celebration of National American Indian Heritage Month?
Do you now understand the significance of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s legacy? He should not only be remembered as the Father of Black History, but also a pioneer of multiculturalism. Dr. W.E.B. DuBois once said “No one has ever brought the entire nation’s attention to the contributions of Blacks in America like Dr. Carter G. Woodson.” And guess what, no one ever has. Dr. Woodson’s work was not just for African Americans in the United States, but his work was for all people throughout the global community.