What is Black History Month? In response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of Black people available to the public, historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week” to recognize the contributions of African Americans to the United States. First established in 1926, this week was chosen because it includes the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist, and former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. While Douglass helped lead the fight against the enslavement of people, President Lincoln led the United States during the Civil War, which was primarily fought over precisely that—the enslavement of Black people within the country. Given their significance and relevant contributions, both were honored in the choice for Negro History Week, which was later extended into Black History Month by U.S. president Gerald Ford in 1976.