…There is a vast amount of fact reposing only in the memories of elderly people now living that should be rescued and recorded while they live, lest it is lost forever. Perhaps the record of it will not be history proper but only annals, or a record of events. It is none the less important to secure it. It is of minor importance whether it be written in polished literary form. It will constitute source matter for the future historian. For some time to come we shall be in less need of dissertations that are philosophy of Negro history than of accurate records of events facts, facts, facts!
I have conversed with a number of elderly colored men and women in this city who have a wonderful fund of recollection of interesting and valuable historical data never in print. There are such people everywhere. Some cannot write, others will not write. If discriminating chroniclers are encouraged to write down the stories of such people for publication in your Journal, the result should be fruitful….
SOURCE: Letter to Carter G. Woodson from R.C. Edmondson about the importance of The Journal of Negro History, May 9, 1920, reprinted in the documents section of The Journal of Negro History, Vol. V., No. 4. October, 1920, pp. 474-475.
- Negro History: Lost, Stolen, Strayed 45 years later! (rootsinstitute.org)
- Missed in History: Benjamin Banneker (blogs.howstuffworks.com)