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The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is a non-profit organization founded in Chicago, Illinois, on September 9, 1915 and incorporated in Washington, D.C. on October 2, 1915 as the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) by Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland. The association is based in Washington, D.C. ASNLH was renamed the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History in 1973.

ASALH's official mission is "to promote, research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about Black life, history, and culture to the global community." American Historical Association

ASALH's official vision is " to be the premier Black Heritage and learned society with a diverse and inclusive membership supported by a strong network of national and international branches to continue the Woodson legacy." American Historical Association

ASALH created Negro History Week in 1926. Woodson selected the week to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Each year, Woodson established a national theme for the celebration. Since 1976, ASALH extended the celebration for the entire month of February.

The organization publishes The Journal of African American History (formerly The Journal of Negro History), and the Black History Bulletin (formerly the Negro History Bulletin). In 2005, ASALH established the ASALH Press, reissuing Carter G. Woodson's Mis-Education of the Negro. The same year ASALH established The Woodson Review, a magazine that promotes its Annual Black History Theme, including it as part of its Black History Kit. In 2005, ASALH discovered a previously unpublished manuscript by its founder, Carter G. Woodson, and published it in a special edition as Carter G. Woodson's Appeal: The Lost Manuscript Edition.

ASALH is a membership organization with over twenty-five branches.

Contents

ASALH Conventions

Annually the organization strives to continue its research focus as well as efforts to share and disseminate historical information -- for which the organization was founded.[1] One of the major ways the organization focuses it resources in this area is with the ASALH annual convention that takes place in October. ASALH hosted its first convention in 1917, two years after the organization was founded. At that time the convention was biennial. During the first convention Woodson stated the goals of the organization as he saw them. ‘The organization primary responsibilities would be the publishing of an historical magazine, researching the achievements of Negros, directing a home study program along with writing and publishing books and monographs. Charles Harris Wesley, one of the organization’s early developers, was not pleased with the first convention because more race solvers and educators attended than historians, which is in opposition to ASALH’s vision as an historical research society.’[2]


Each year, the location of the convention rotates to a major US city and coincides with the annual black history theme. The 2008 convention took place in Birmingham, AL and the 2009 convention will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to the Association, the annual convention draws over 1,000 participants.

At the convention ASALH organizes plenary sessions and workshops, facilitates scholarly presentations selected from the “Call for Papers,” sponsors a black history tour of famous landmarks in the city, and hosts a youth day for high school students in the area.

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Notable Fact About the Convention

Numerous organizations have risen out of the ASALH conventions. One such example is the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH) founded at the 1977 ASALH convention in Washington, D.C. ABWH was founded by three women participants, Rosalyn Terbong-Penn, Eleanor Smith, and Elizabeth Parker..[3]

The National Council of Black Studies was also conceptialized at an ASALH convention.

Past ASALH Conventions

Year Date Location
1917 Aug. 29 Washington, DC
1922 Nov. 22 Louisville, KY
1923 Oct. 24 Atlanta, GA
1924 Sept. 20 Richmond, VA
1925 Sept. 9 Washington, DC
1926 Oct. 21 Baltimore, MD
1927 Oct. 24 Pittsburgh, PA
1928 Oct. 21 St. Louis, MO
1932 Nov. 13 Atlanta, GA
1936 Oct. 25 Petersburg, VA
1940 Sept. 25 Chicago, IL
1945 Oct. 26 Columbus, OH
1946 Oct. 25 Philadelphia, PA
1947 Oct. 24 Oklahoma City, OK
1948 Oct. 29 Washington, DC
1950 Oct. 27 Atlanta, GA
1951 Oct. 26 Tallahassee, FL
1953 Oct. 23 Nashville, TN
1954 Oct. 29 St. Louis, MO
1956 Oct. 26 Houston
1968 Oct. 3 New York, NY
1970 Oct. 22 Philadelphia, PA
1972 Oct. 19 Cincinnati, OH
1977 Oct. 12 Washington, DC
1981 Oct. 29 Philadelphia, PA
1995 Oct. 4 Philadelphia, PA*
1997 Oct. 1 Los Angeles, CA
2005 N/A Buffalo, NY
2006 Sept. 27 Atlanta, GA
2007 Oct. 3 Charlotte, NC

2008 Oct. Birmingham, AL

2009 Oct. Cincinnati, OH

References

  1. ^ Mjagkij, N, Organizing Black America, pg 69. Kindle Books, 2007.
  2. ^ Harris, J: “Woodson and Wesley: A Partnership in Building the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History”, The Journal of Negro History, 83(98): 111
  3. ^ Mjagkij, N, Organizing Black America, pg 70. Kindle Books, 2007.

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