February marks Black History Month, a tribute to African-American men and women who have made significant contributions to America and the rest of the world.  The orgins of the month began with Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland in 1915, who founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) to promote the achievements of black Americans and those of African decent.  They chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.  The event inspired many schools and communitites nationwide to organize celebrations.  In the decades that followed, various cities across the country issued proclaimations recognizing the week.  By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement, Black History Month had evolved.
Since 1976, every president has officially designated February the month to honor the accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history.  
This year's theme, "African Americans and the Vote" is in honor of the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, granting women's suffrage and the sesquicententennial of the 15th Amendment giving Black men the right to vote.