Sir William Arthur Lewis was born on this date in 1915. He was a Black Caribbean economist, educator and Nobel Prize winner.

From St. Lucia, he was the fourth son of George Ferdinand and Ida Lewis. He was educated in St. Lucia up to the secondary Level. He proved during this time to be quite a scholar. Later he entered the London School of Economics where he distinguished himself as a student of Economics. His excellence was rewarded, when at the age of twenty-three, he was made a lecturer. During this time he published numerous papers and pamphlets.

Lewis in 1947 married Gladys Jacobs and had two daughters, Elizabeth and Barbara. Between 1951 and 1957 he was Stanley Jevons Professor of Political Economy at Manchester University. During this time, he was also adviser to numerous governments and served as adviser on underdeveloped countries. He advised the Ghana government in 1953 and in 1957. He also served in the same capacity in Nigeria, Trinidad and Barbados. He had also been on numerous United Nations Commissions.

He won a Nobel Prize in 1979, with Theodore Schultz, for pioneering research on economic development in emerging countries. He published a book, The Theory of Economic Growth, in 1954 that is regarded as the seminal study in the field. In this book he advocated the development of infrastructure, education in all its areas and specialization in agriculture and high employment.

Arthur Lewis also served as Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, adviser to the British Colonial Development Corporation, Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor at Princeton University and as the Chairman of the Caribbean Development Bank. Sir Arthur Lewis died on June 15th, 1991. He is buried on the grounds of Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in St. Lucia a marked the end of a distinguished St. Lucian and Caribbean patriot.


Africana The Encyclopedia of the African and

African American Experience

Editors: Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Copyright 1999

ISBN 0-465-0071-1

Carter Godwin Woodson was born on this date in 1875.

He was an African American writer, educator and historian.

Born into poverty in Buckingham County, Virginia, Woodson supported himself by working in the coal mines of Kentucky as a teenager and was, as a consequence, unable to enroll in high school until he was 20. After graduating in less than two years, he taught high school, wrote articles, studied at home and abroad, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912. Woodson also studied at Berea College and the University of Chicago.

He was dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Howard University from 1919 to 1920 and at what is now West Virginia State College from 1920 to 1922.

Woodson devoted his life to making "the world see the Negro as a participant rather than as a lay figure in history." To this end he established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History; founded and edited the Journal of Negro History; organized the first annual Negro History Week, which became Black History Month.

Woodson also founded the Negro History Bulletin newspaper. Among his many published books are "The Mis-Education of the Negro Prior to 1861," "History of the Negro Church," and "The Rural Negro."

Woodson's life's work is the personal inspiration of Benjamin Mchie the founder of African American Registry. Carter G. Woodson died April 3,1950,

Reference: Black Heroes of The Twentieth Century Edited by Jessie Carney Smith Copyright 1998 Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI ISBN 1-57859-021-3

The Grandfather of Black History

In his 1925 essay, The Negro Digs Up His Past, Arthur Schomburg highlights three major points about the increasingly systematic study of our history and culture…

Gradually as the study of the Negro’s past has come out of the vagaries of rhetoric and propaganda and become systematic and scientific, three outstanding conclusions have been established:

  1. First, that the Negro has been throughout the centuries of controversy an active collaborator, and often a pioneer, in the struggle for his own freedom and advancement. This is true to a degree which makes it the more surprising that it has not been recognized earlier.

  2. Second, that by virtue of their being regarded as something “exceptional,” even by friends and well-wishers, Negroes of attainment and genius have been unfairly disassociated from the group, and group credit lost accordingly.

  3. Third, that the remote racial origins of the Negro, far from being what the race and the world have been given to understand, offer a record of creditable group achievement when scientifically viewed, and more important still, that they are of vital general interest because of their bearing upon the beginnings and early development of culture.

In this critically important essay, Schomburg carefully chronicles the early and evolving effort among our ancestors to document and share information about our history as African people, dispersed throughout the world though we may be.

In closing, Schomburg acknowledges the hard work remaining, and the work for which there will continue to be great resistance, the placement of African people, history and culture into its/our proper context – at the center of world history and civilization…

Of course, a racial motive remains – legitimately compatible with scientific method and aim. The work our race students now regard as important, they undertake very naturally to overcome in part certain handicaps of disparagement and omission too well-known to particularize. But they do so not merely that we may not wrongfully be deprived of the spiritual nourishment of our cultural past, but also that the full story of human collaboration and interdependence may be told and realized.

Especially is this likely to be the effect of the latest and most fascinating of all of the attempts to open up the closed Negro past, namely the important study of African cultural origins and sources. The bigotry of civilization which is the taproot of intellectual prejudice begins far back and must be corrected at its source. Fundamentally it has come about from that depreciation of Africa which has sprung up from ignorance of her true role and position in human history and the early development of culture.

The Negro has been a man without a history because he has been considered a man without a worthy culture. But a new notion of the cultural attainment and potentialities of the African stocks has recently come about, partly through the corrective influence of the more scientific study of African institutions and early cultural history. partly through growing appreciation of the skill and beauty and in many cases the historical priority of the African native crafts, and finally through the signal recognition which first in France and Germany, but now very generally the astonishing art of the African sculptures has received. Into these fascinating new vistas, with limited horizons lifting in all directions, the mind of the Negro has leapt forward faster than the slow clearings of scholarship will yet safely permit.

But there is no doubt that here is a field full of the most intriguing and inspiring possibilities.

Already the Negro sees himself against a reclaimed background, in a perspective that will give pride and self-respect ample scope, and make history yield for him the same values that the treasured past of any people affords.

May Schomburg’s example continue to remind us that there is no substitute for deliberate and thoughtful study.

Our Ancestors deserve nothing less.

Our future generations are depending on it.

Read the actual essay here:

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