National African American History Month in February celebrates the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality.
Historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which began this celebration. Dr. Woodson initiated the first Negro History Week in February 1926. The week was selected because it included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two key figures in the history of African Americans.
In 1975, President Ford issued a message urging all Americans to "recognize the important contribution made to our nation's life and culture by black citizens." In 1976, this commemoration was expanded by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History to Black History Month.
In 1986 Congress passed a law which designated February as "National Black (Afro-American) History Month,” noting this date would “mark the beginning of the sixtieth annual public and private salute to Black History.”
-Information provided by the Library of Congress