In 1974, National Council for the Social Studies established the Carter G. Woodson Book Award for the most distinguished social science books appropriate for young readers that depict ethnicity in the United States. The purpose of this award is to encourage the writing, publishing, and dissemination of outstanding social science books for young readers that treat topics related to ethnic minorities and relations sensitively and accurately.
At the time, there was a paucity of books relating to racial and ethnic minorities. In addition, authors and publishers of such books rarely received the recognition that their efforts merited. NCSS gives wide recognition to and directly stimulates authors and publishers by sponsoring the Carter G. Woodson Book Award.
Carter G. Woodson was a distinguished African American historian and educator who wrote books for adults and young people. Dr. Woodson received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University, and wrote many black history books as well as the seminal volume on education, Miseducation of the Negro. He founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926, Woodson originated "Negro History Week," which was observed each year during the second week in February because this week included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas. "Negro History Week" became "Black History Month." Woodson founded and was the first editor of the Journal of Negro History. For his outstanding work in history, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal in 1925 by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Dr. Woodson was a distinguished social scientist and educator who wrote history books for young people that told the story of the African American man and woman in the United States.
The establishment of the award was a result of the effort of the 1973 NCSS Racism and Social Justice Committee, under the chairmanship of Dr. James A. Banks, University of Washington, Seattle. This committee focused on the educational needs of minority students and has given guidance to NCSS in all matters related to equity issues. During the restructuring of Council governance, the committee was consolidated with the then Academic Freedom Committee to form the Academic Freedom, Equity and Social Justice Committee.