Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), known as "the father of Black History," was born in rural New Canton, Virginia, and earned a high school diploma in Huntington, West Virginia, while working as a coal miner. He taught high school, received a Bachelor of Literature from Berea College, and spent 1903 to 1907 as a school supervisor in the Philippines. In 1908 he received the B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Chicago. He moved to Washington shortly after and began teaching at M Street High School (now Dunbar High School). He also continued to pursue higher education, completing a Ph.D. in history at Harvard University in 1912. (He was the second African American to do so, following W.E.B. DuBois.) In 1919-1920, he served as dean of the School of Liberal Arts and head of the Graduate Faculty at Howard University.
Woodson purchased this house in 1915 and used it as his residence and office. His life's work was the creation of institutions to advance "Negro history" and make it widely available to the public. In collaboration with other scholars, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History) in 1915, the Journal of Negro History (now the Journal of African-American History) in 1916, the Associated Publishers, a publishing company, in 1921, and Negro History Bulletin, a magazine for the general public, in 1937. Woodson also launched Negro History Week (now Black History Month) in 1926, supported by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He was also a member of the Niagara Movement and a regular columnist for Negro World, published by Marcus Garvey.
A prolific writer, Woodson wrote and edited countless academic and popular articles and nearly 20 books. One of his most popular, The Mis-education of the Negro (1933), has influenced generations of scholars, activists, and artists.
The building, built sometime between 1870 and 1874, was used as a residence and an office. It currently awaits renovation. It was declared a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It was included in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites in 1979.