We are celebrating by recognizing four Black educators that made a difference to their communities and to American education.
Our short bios do not do justice to the work these men and women have done. We encourage you to learn more about these amazing people.
The “Father of Black History”
Carter G Woodson, born a slave, was the 2nd Black American to graduate from Harvard. He was an educator, writer and mentor. He worked tirelessly to inform the American public about the contributions of Black Americans in the formation of the country, its history, and culture. In 1926, Woodson, initiated the first celebration of Negro History Week which led to Black History Month, to extend and deepen the study and scholarship on African American history, all year long.
Ground Breaking California Teacher
Bessie Burke’s parents came to California by covered wagon. She graduated near the top of her class from Los Angeles State Normal School (now part of UCLA). She became the first Black teacher in LA in 1911. Burke became the first Black principal in L.A. in 1918. In 1938, she became the first Black principal to head a racially integrated school. She retired from the Los Angeles Board of Education in 1955.