The Get Right with Woodson Campaign
Hello Friends of the Woodson Tradition of Self-Publishing,
When Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, he did so to so that people of African descent could have an unfettered, independent scholarly voice in the world to write about Africa's children, who we are and what we have contributed to the making of history. The articles of incorporation for the great association he founded listed only one purpose--to publish the Journal of Negro History, now the Journal of African American History.
While an undergraduate in the early 1980s, I pledged to do whatever I could do to keep that vision alive, and I am as committed as ever to doing so. The current leadership of the Association is considering a proposal that would end that tradition by taking on a publisher rather than continuing to self-publish. Some of the leadership support the move for reasons of status. A predominately white university press has more prestige, they seem to be saying, than our own organization, which has self-published the journal for a century. Through the Great Depression and the Great Recession, we have managed to speak our truths to the world. Indeed, this is the centennial of the Journal of African American History--the oldest Black scholarship journal in the world. How can this even be an issue? Well others on the board seem to support giving up our independence because they fear that the journal cannot support itself. Its margins are always tight--they have been for a century. I am running this campaign looking for "gifts" to me than I can in turn use to change the nature of this conversation. As a Southside boy, I know money talks....
Your gift will be added to the $50,000 that has been raised in the silent phase of this campaign offline. We would like to raise $75,000. The money you give via this method __cannot__ be written off because you are making the gift to me, not the Association. The condition I have for giving this money to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History will be that the ultimate governing body of the association must enact a policy that commits ASALH to self-publishing as it has for a century and cease and desist with all efforts to take on a publisher, commercial or non-for-profit. We must stay right with Woodson.
If you want to write a check to ASALH directly with the above stipulation, you can inbox me on Facebook. I will give you the needed information. If you want to remain anonymous, this is the best option, though it will not produce a tax write off.
ASALH will meet at its 101st Annual Meeting in two weeks. The funds received by then will go far to persuade those whose concerns about finances are real. Yet funds received after that date are important as well. Over time, a foundation will be created to institutionalize this effort to keep Woodson's vision of self-publishing alive and well for future generations.
I have just hired a new fund-raising crew. I think I would take their suggestion and give.
It's exciting that so many people have reached into their pockets and purses to support the tradition of self-publishing established by Carter G. Woodson. This fund we are collecting for will be offered as a reserve to ASALH to keep the oldest self-published journal in the Black World alive and well. Start the week by giving to this cause.
I know so many of you were at the opening of the new museum. You should now be fully inspired to make sure that our traditions remain in tact. The Journal of Negro History, now the Journal of African American History, must remain independent. Join us in removing the money argument that the leadership of ASALH is now invoking to justify giving up our self-publishing tradition.