Black History Month celebrates African-Americans' contributions to American history and development. The month-long affair was the brainchild of distinguished black historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who established "Negro History Week" in 1926. Woodson chose the second week of February because it marked the births of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two influential figures in Black history. In 1976, President Ford issued the first Message of Observance of Black History Month. Ten years later, Congress designated February "National Black (Afro-American) History Month."