Black History Month has its roots in Negro History Week, which is held in February in remembrance of Abraham Lincoln's and Frederick Douglass' birthdays. Because the birthdays of both men occur in the second week of February, that week was chosen.
During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the week grew to regularly encompass a full month, and the first official Black History Month was declared by President Gerald Ford in 1976. Traditionally, each president since that year has named February as Black History Month. The president also typically chooses a theme for that year, such as 2013's "At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington."