He knew that we needed to know.
We needed to understand our past.
We needed to comprehend what took place from Goreé all the way to the Confederate lands;
from the kidnappings to the Willie Lynch plans.
We had to know.
He didn't start school until 20 years old
and less than 20 years later, he had met his coveted goals.
He finished high school, a Bachelor's, a Master's,
and a Ph.D.
A Harvard Doctorate, no less, for all the world to see.
He didn't forget from whence he came,
for he was born the son of slaves.
He wanted those who came behind him to fully grasp what the ancestors gave.
He started Negro History Week and chose February to observe these days.
The month when Douglass and Lincoln were born,
for he cherished all they gave.
And though knowledge of our past can cut our hearts like a sharpened blade,
it builds character and strength and ensures the truth of our elders won't fade.
That same knowledge cuts through lies like the tip of a keen-edged knife.
So, we honor you, Dr. Woodson,
and we stand grateful for your life!