Black History Month has its roots in something called Negro History Week. In 1925, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, an African-American historian who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, proposed Negro History Week as a way to encourage people to learn more about black history. He selected a week in February that included the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and black abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
In the early 1970s, Negro History Week was rechristened Black History Week to reflect the changing language used to describe African-Americans. Then, in 1976, as America observed its bicentennial, Black History Week was expanded to the full month we celebrate today.
Every February since 1976, the U.S. president issues a proclamation declaring the second month of the year Black History Month or National African American History Month.