Times Staff Writers
ST. PETERSBURG —Tampa Bay residents saw a familiar face when they visited Google on Thursday.
The ever-changing "Google Doodle" depicts Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is honored as "the father of Black History Month" and is the namesake of an African-American cultural museum in St Petersburg.
Terri Lipsey Scott, executive director of the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in the city's Midtown community, was elated.
"Oh, my God," she recalled saying. "The respect and recognition of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month, is so long overdue."
Scott said she was doing research for the speech she planned to give at Thursday's flag raising ceremony in front of St. Petersburg's City Hall when she made the online discovery. St. Petersburg is the only city that raises a flag in recognition of both the historian and Black History Month, she said. She knows this, Scott said, because the St. Petersburg museum has the only flag honoring Woodson.
"I had this flag created for the Woodson Museum three years ago and I had the idea that I should contact the mayor and ask that he raise the flag over City Hall, and he graciously agreed," she said.
This is the third year that Mayor Rick Kriseman has held the flag raising ceremony.
Woodson was an African-American scholar born to former slaves in 1875. In 1926, he established an annual February observance called "Negro History Week," which became "Black History Month" in 1976.
Thursday marks the first day of Black History Month. Woodson chose February because President Abraham Lincoln's birthday is on Feb. 12 and the accepted birthday of Frederick Douglass — the former slave, author, orator and abolitionist leader — is Feb. 14. Woodson's most famous work is The Mis-Education of the Negro, originally published in 1933, in which he argued that black students were being culturally indoctrinated instead of taught. He published more than 30 books and founded a number of journals honoring and documenting the history of African-Americans.
MORE ON CARTER G. WOODSON
The 12-year-old museum, at 2240 Ninth Ave. S, is the only one in the country named for Woodson, Scott said.
"They are renovating his home in Washington, D.C., and there are schools named in his honor,' she said.
Over the years, the museum has celebrated important moments in African-American history — most notably, the historic election of President Barack Obama, as well as his inauguration.
The museum has also honored local residents. Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, School Board chairwoman Rene Flowers and U.S. Ambassador to Gambia C. Patricia "Pat" Alsup have been among those recognized as the city's "First Ladies in African-American History."
"People should know of Woodson's contribution to Black History Month and the preservation of black history," Scott said. "We are at a place and time in history that we can no longer suppress the contributions that African-Americans have made to history."