James Weldon Johnson Branch/Jacksonville, Fla. Presodent and Vice President George and Hazel Gillis, Tampa Bay Branch Mary Padgett, President Tyna Middleton and Fred Hearns

Hillsborough County School Board Members voted unanimously at Tuesday’s School Board meeting to name a new PreK-8 school, opening for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year, for Dr. Carter G. Woodson.

Hillsborough County Public Schools is converting Van Buren Middle School and Cahoon Elementary School into a new PreK-8 model to better serve students in the North Tampa Rowlett Park neighborhood. Principal Ovette Wilson will lead the school.

The district received name submissions for the new PreK-8 school in the fall. Nearly 20 names were submitted for consideration. The community was also invited to attend a Community Forum at Van Buren Middle School in November to discuss the importance of community involvement in the conversion of the school.

In a 6-0 vote, School Board members voted to name the school for Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Dr. Woodson is known as “the Father of African American History.” He led the creation of Negro History Week in 1926, which is now celebrated as Black History Month. Dr. Woodson worked as a coal miner in West Virginia to support his family and didn’t attend school regularly until he was 19. But education transformed his life, and he went on to become only the second African American student to graduate from Harvard University.

This article first appeared in the Tampa Bay Time on Thursday, August 16, 2018

The north Tampa school that is combining Cahoon Elementary with Van Buren Middle School got a new name Tuesday: Carter G. Woodson K-8 School.The Hillsborough County School Board approved the name unanimously, despite requests from some in the community to name the school after the late Robert Scott.

Supporters of the Scott proposal said Woodson was not local. But supporters of the Woodson name said his accomplishments made him a worthy choice. Woodson, a scholar who lived from 1875 to 1950, was responsible for what is now Black History Month, as he led the creation of Negro History Week in 1926. A coal miner in West Virginia, Woodson was the second African American student to graduate from Harvard University, after W. E.B. Du Bois. While the two schools have not yet merged officially, they share a principal, Ovette Wilson. He will continue on as principal next year.