Thursday’s Google Doodle was the first of Black History Month 2018. As such, it depicted Carter G. Woodson, a pioneer in African-American historiography who was also critical in the development of Black History Month.

Known as “The Father of Black History,” Woodson dedicated much of his life to ensuring his people’s contributions to American history did not go unnoticed. Here are five things to know about the Virginia native, without whom Black History Month might not exist.

His parents were both former slaves

Woodson was born Dec. 19, 1875, just a decade after the end of the American Civil War signaled the end of slavery on a federal level in the United States. As such, his parents Anne Eliza Riddle and James Henry Woodson were former slaves who settled down in Virginia.

According to the NAACP’s biography of Woodson, neither of his parents could read or write. Later in life, he credited his father as a judge and builder of character.

He did not go to high school until he was an adult

Due to his family’s financial misfortunes, Woodson was not able to attend school on a full-time basis when it was in session. Instead, he helped his family stay afloat by helping out on the farm. He and his brother moved to Huntington, West Virginia, where Carter made a living as a miner. When he was 20 years old, he finally enrolled at Douglass High School as a full-time student and graduated in less than two years, per the NAACP.

He is part of Harvard history

Woodson’s life exemplified how inaccessible higher education for African-Americans was at some institutions. In 1912, he received a PhD from Harvard University, becoming just the second black American to do so. The first was NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois, nearly two decades earlier.

He created the precursor to Black History Month

50 years before Black History Month was recognized by president Gerald Ford in 1976, Woodson coined Negro History Week. It took place in the second week of February, which features the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Tourists can visit his home

Woodson’s home in Washington, D.C. is a designated National Historic Site. Through the National Park Service, tourists can take a guided tour of his home.