Black History Week was announced by Carter G. Woodson and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1925. The name has been changed to the Institute for African Americans and African Studies.
This celebration started off in the second week of February in honor of Abraham Lincoln and Frederic Douglass birthdays.
In 1976, the celebration was extended to a month. Gerald Ford, the president at the time said, "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area and endeavor throughout our history".
According to the Wikipedia, Woodson was born to former enslaved parents in 1875. His father who served in the Civil War moved the family to West Virginia because he wanted Woodson to attend to school.
Carter eventually finished high school and worked in the coal fields. He became a teacher and was the second African-American to graduate from Harvard University, with a doctorate degree, in 1912. W.E.B. Dubois was the first.
He was a member of the Sigma Pi Phi, the first African-American fraternity.
Many scholars disagreed with seperating Americans into groups according to race. However, Woodson believed that the central component of freedom relied on former slaves knowing their contributions to society.
He spent close to a decade attempting to get others involved with celebrating black history. For instance, in 1915 he published "The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861." Shortly afterwards, his books, "A century of Negro Migration" and "The Journal of Negro History" was published.
Modeling his efforts after the school curriculum of the West Indian Negroe, Woodson began spreading the ideal of including African-American History into American school curriculum.
Knowing that publication is the key to keeping history accurate, in 1920, he created the first African-American publishing company in the United States. Historians now had a sure way to publish their research of Negroes.
He went on to publish countless of articles, books, surveys and other publications regarding African-American history."The Mis-Education of the Negro", published in 1933 is one of his most famous works.
"If you can control a man's thinking, you don't have to worry about his actions. If you can make a man believe that he is inferior, you don't have to compel him to seek an inferior status, he will do so without being told and if you can make a man believe that he is justly an outcast, you don't have to order him to the back door, he will go to the back door on his own and if there is no back door, the very nature of the man will demand that you build one."- Carter G. Woodson