Black History Month was originally started as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. The goal of Black History Week was to honor the history and contributions of African Americans and educate Blacks about their cultural background, and instill in them a sense of pride in their race. Many Africans Americans still jokingly or not so jokingly, believe that February was given as Black History Month because it is the shortest month, actually Woodson chose the second week of February to pay tribute to the birthdays of two Americans that dramatically affected the lives of Blacks: Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14). From there the week, later became a month and in 1976 getting national recognition as Black History Month.
Carter G Woodson was a historian, scholar, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. He was one of the first scholars to systematically and seriously study black history. To this day he is still considered The Father of Modern Black History.
For more information on the works and life of Carter G Woodson:
The Rural Negro
The mis-education of the Negro
The history of the Negro church
Carter G. Woodson : a life in Black history