Carter G. Woodson, "Father of Black History." Woodson was the son of a former slave and the second African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard (the first was W.E. DuBois.) He founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, and in 1926 initiated the observance of Black History Week, which was expanded in 1976 to a month long observance.
A great place to begin exploring the resources we have on this topic would be our library research guide to African and African-American Studies.