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Carter G. Woodson Reference Collection

Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) was an educator and philosopher, mentor to African-American scholars, and founder of the African-American Historical Association. He believed that it is necessary for a race to have a history or it will be made insignificant, and that the study of African-American history would make for a better society. Initiated by Miss Gertrude McBrown and Mrs. Ruby A. Carter, officers of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, the Carter G. Woodson Reference Collection of African-American Culture and Life was dedicated at the Central Library in May 1968. It has grown to be a 4,000+ volume Reference collection covering different aspects of African-American culture and life. The entire Dewey subject range is included, and many volumes are duplicated in the regular circulating collection. The Woodson Collection is located in the History/Travel/Biography Division of the Central Library.

The collection includes the African-American experience, with emphasis given to slavery, contemporary African-American life, collected biographies, and subject bibliographies. The materials relating to slavery cover its history and impact on African-American life; the contemporary items concentrate primarily on the Civil Rights Movement. Collective biographies include Who's Who Among Black Americans, The Negro Almanac, and Black Biography. 1790-1950.

The thrust of the Woodson Collection is scholarly, and is aimed at high school and college students, researchers, and others with research needs.


Those who are interested in the Woodson collection may also be interested in the online database--the African American Experience, which is located in the "Research Databases" section of the Queens Library website. This database includes full-text digital resources that explore the history and culture of African Americans. Another great resource available to library customers is the Black Heritage Reference Center located at the Langston Hughes Cultural Center and Community Library.