Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Contact: Ileen Shepard Gallagher, Traveling Exhibitions Coordinator (202) 707-9068

October 7, 1993

Library of Congress Traveling Exhibit Examines Contributions of Black History Pioneer C.G. Woodson

The Library of Congress traveling exhibition, "Moving Back Barriers: The Legacy of Carter G. Woodson" focuses on such topics as slavery, religion, education, civil rights, migration, and African roots, subjects that Carter Woodson and other black history pioneers established as continuing themes in African American historical research.

The exhibition, drawn largely from the collection Woodson donated to the Library of Congress, examines the breadth of Woodson's interests as revealed through writings and memorabilia. It includes approximately 100 original artifacts and facsimiles -- manuscripts, books, photographs, paintings, and other documents. Photographs and historical documents from other Library of Congress collections contribute supporting material to the exhibition. Highlights of "Moving Back Barriers" include certificates of freedom, diaries, and correspondence with well-known black Americans such as Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, and James Weldon Johnson.

Carter Woodson (1875-1950), known as the "Father of Black History," devoted his life to researching, publishing, and increasing public awareness of black history. He founded Negro History Week in 1926 as part of his vision of developing a "history of the world void of national bias, race, hate, and religious prejudice." Almost 70 years later, Negro History Week, now Black History Month, remains a testament to the continuing importance of Woodson's mission. The historical documents that Woodson collected and donated to the Library of Congress became an important resource for later students of black history. Through his 15 books and the Journal of Negro History, Woodson decisively demonstrated that black history is a legitimate field of inquiry. "Moving Back Barriers" tells the story of Carter Woodson's efforts to achieve his goal. The Woodson exhibit not only makes an important collection available and acknowledges the contribution of a pivotal African American, it also marks the start of a collaboration between the Library and cultural institutions across the country.

The exhibition will travel to several venues during the next two years, opening at the Museum of African American History in Detroit on December 5, 1993. Following is the current schedule for "Moving Back Barriers" is below:

  • Dec. 5, 1993 - March 20, 1994 Museum of African American History, Detroit, Mich.
  • April 10 - May 22, 1994 Museum of Afro-American Life and Culture, Dallas, Tex.
  • June 12 - July 24, 1994 Alexandria Black History Resource Center, Alexandria, Va
  • August - Sept. 25, 1994 DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago, Ill.
  • Oct. 16, 1994 - Jan. 22, 1995 Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va.
  • Febuary - March 19, 1995 Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, Pa.

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PR 93-123
ISSN 0731-3527

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