Every February people across the United States and Canada pay homage to prominent African American and black figures who have had impact on the world in various ways.

Each year, athletes, doctors, film stars, writers, directors, and politicians are just some of the people highlighted as individuals of merit. The official observance of Black History Month, sometimes referred to as African American History Month in certain areas, is relatively recent, though the contributions of black people have been celebrated for centuries.

Black History Month evolved from Negro History Week, which was created in 1926 in the United States by historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson chose the second week in February because it coincided with both the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14).

The prominent civil rights group The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, was also founded on February 12 on the centennial anniversary of the birth of Lincoln.

Each of these things makes February an ideal time to celebrate black history. Negro History Week continued through the 1960s and ultimately evolved into an entire month of celebrating on some college campuses

However, Black History Month would not receive national recognition in the United States until 1976, when President Gerald Ford officially recognized it as an opportunity to honor the accomplishments of black Americans throughout history. Canada officially recognized Black History Month in 1995. 

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