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Spotlight on Carter G. Woodson

Spotlight on Carter G. Woodson
by Kibibi Ajanku

The Urban Arts Leadership Program closes African American History Month with a spotlight on Carter G. Woodson. Carter G. Woodson stands as the Founding Father of African American History Month that dates back to 1926. Woodson was born in 1875 as the son of former slaves. Against all odds, he obtained his B.A. degree from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Convinced through first-hand experience that the history of African Americans was being ignored and misrepresented, he took steps to bring balance to a landscape that was and even today is often skewed by dominant culture concepts and reflexes.

The following Carter G. Woodson quotes are applicable in a timeless way:

  • “When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.”
  • “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”
  • “In fact, the confidence of the people is worth more than money.”

Baltimore, with all of it complexity, is a clear result of Carter G. Woodson’s effort, and all those who are make the journey to a more balanced and diversity place within arts leadership stand in the path that he lit. The need for equitable inclusion is undeniable. By year 2040, the United States’ population will be majority people of color and will bear an undeniable resemblance to Baltimore City. As the country looks to Baltimore, we look to the future. Baltimore and its surrounding counties have the opportunity to shape destiny by utilizing the arts as a platform to work intentionally against the obstacles of structural racism.

The Urban Arts Leadership Program (UALP) addresses the issue of diversity in the regional cultural workforce by providing professional development and networking opportunities to aspiring and emerging administrators of color, in order to better position them for success. The impact has been far-reaching and is defined in the following quotes:

“I believe that UALP is teaching the Baltimore arts community that its fellows are forces for the future and should be respected as such. Leaders like Tiana Bias will ensure that the arts stay relevant and respected in her lifetime and beyond.”
-Baltimore Museum of Art, Host Organization

“The UALP has improved my awareness of society in general. The program has also improved my desire to seek and accept leadership in the arts community.”
-Arthur Brown, UALP Alumni

Read a copy of Carter G. Woodson's letter here!

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