Carter G. Woodson (1875–1950), a scholar and historian, founded the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, published books and journals about Black history, and initiated what is now Black History Month. He is known as the father of Black history.

NEA jointly presents the Carter G. Woodson Memorial Award with the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. The award is presented to an individual, NEA affiliate, or institution whose activities in Black affairs significantly impact education and the achievement of equal opportunity.

  • To be eligible for this award, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: Demonstrate leadership and creativity in promoting Black History.
  • Increase understanding of and appreciation for the heritage of Blacks.
  • Impact the total school community or a significant portion of the local community in promoting Black history.

Awarded in odd-numbered years.

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) was established by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1915. Known as the “Father of Black History”, Woodson (1875-1950) was the son of former slaves, and understood how important gaining a proper education is when striving to secure and make the most out of one’s divine right of freedom. ASALH was established on September 9, 1915 and became the founders of Black History Month, originally sponsored as national Negro History Week.

The mission of ASALH is to promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community including emphasizing how Black people have significantly impacted the development of the social, political, and economic structures of the United States and the world.

Each year, the NEA and ASALH, come together to present a Human and Civil Rights Awards bestowed in the name of the great educators Dr. Carter G. Woodson and H. Councill Trenholm. The NEA takes great pride in this long-time partnership to celebrate Black history and to promote it’s prominence in education. To learn more about ASALH, please visit

2021 HCR Awards Honorees