Dr. Carter G. Woodson is the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He believed Black people should be proud of their heritage and preserve its historical facts for many generations to come. The noted, historian, journalist, author, also knew it was important that other nationalities understood the largely overlooked contributions of African Americans. Woodson began “Negro History Week” to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It's the forerunner to Black History Month, a time to acknowledge historic achievements made by Black people in America. It is for this reason that Dr. Woodson will forever be known as the Father of Black History Month.

Dr. Woodson was also the 2nd African American, after W.E.B. Du Bois, to attend Harvard University. Carter died of heartache at age 75, in 1950. To celebrate this great day and his legacy, below are the students of Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School in Nashville, TN. singing their phenomenal version of the old Negro Spiritual, 'Lift Every Voice.' The school is home to the first-ever, student-run record label (Warner Nashville) and a state-of-the-art recording studio.

Bishop Daniel A Payne was born a free man on February 24, 1811, in Charleston, South Carolina. He is best known for bringing more order in the form of education and preparation of ministers to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He was the church's sixth bishop and served that post for more than 40-years. Payne’s book, “History of the AME Church” gives a detailed account of the early church's history. In 1829, when he was only 19-years old, Payne opened a school for Black children in South Carolina. However, 6 years later he was forced to close it after the S.C. legislature passed a law in 1835 that forbid Black people to get an education.

Bishop Payne would never give up on his dream to educate young Black minds and in 1856 his determination paid off when he opened Wilberforce University. This college was the first African American-owned and operated school in America. Bishop Payne died on November 2, 1893, at the age of 82.

LOOK: Here are the biggest HBCUs in America

More than 100 historically Black colleges and universities are designated by the U.S. Department of Education, meeting the definition of a school "established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans."

StudySoup compiled the 20 largest historically Black colleges and universities in the nation, based on 2021 data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. Each HBCU on this list is a four-year institution, and the schools are ranked by the total student enrollment.

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