Events and People in Black History


There are a number of different people and events important to African American history.. Some of those major people and events are listed in the following timeline.

1619 - American settlers bring slaves to Virginia.

1746 - Lucy Terry becomes the first African American poet.

1773 - The first book by an African American is published.

1808 - Congress passes a law prohibiting the importation of African slaves.

1820 - Slavery is banned north of Missouri in the Missouri Compromise.

1846 - Frederick Douglass starts an abolitionist paper.

1849 - Harriet Tubman runs away, almost immediately begins helping others on the Underground Railroad.

1852 - Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is published.

1857 - Dred Scott case declares that slaves aren’t American citizens and that Congress can’t prohibit slavery.

1861 - The Civil War starts.

1863 - President Abraham Lincoln bans slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation.

1865 - End of the Civil War.

1865 - Ku Klux Klan begins.

1865 - Slavery prohibited with the Thirteenth Amendment in the Constitution.

1869 - Howard University is the first law school for blacks.

1870 - Hiram Revels of Mississippi becomes the first black senator.

1879 - A large number of blacks move to Kansas in what’s known as the Black Exodus.

1881 - Harriet E. Giles and Sophia B. Packard found Speman College for black females.

1881 - The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama founded by Booker T. Washington opens for black students.

1896 - Supreme Court determines that racial segregation is allowed in Plessy v. Ferguson.

1909 - W.E.B. Dubois forms the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NCAA).

1914 - The Universal Negro Improvement Association begins, founded by Marcus Garvey.

1920s - The Harlem Renaissance takes place as black artists and writers create numerous works.

1938 - Hattie McDaniel becomes the first black actor to ever win an Academy Award; she wins Best Supporting Actress for Gone with the Wind.

1947 - Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American player in the MLB when he signs with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1948 - Segregation in the military is banned during World War II.

1952 - Malcolm X begins working as a minister with the Nation of Islam and joins the Black Muslims, known for his beliefs that blacks themselves had to find solutions for their shared problems.

1954 - Racial segregation deemed unconstitutional by Brown v. Board of Education.

1955 - Rosa Parks launches a boycott when she refuses to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, which was expected at the time.

1957 - Arkansas Governor calls in the National Guard to block nine black students from attending the segregated Central High.

1960 - Four black students start a sit-in at a North Carolina lunch counter when they aren’t allowed service.

1960 - Wilma Rudolph becomes the first African American woman to win gold at the Olympics.

1961 - Student volunteers check the segregation of the South, known as the freedom riders.

1963 - Martin Luther King Jr. writes Letter from Birmingham Jail after being arrested and also gives the I Have a Dream speech.

1963 - Sidney Portier is the first black male actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

1964 - The Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination is signed into law by President Johnson.

1965 - Malcolm X assassinated.

1965 - Bloody Sunday takes place when fifty protesters including Martin Luther King Jr. are attacked by police in Selma, Alabama.

1966 - The Black Panthers start.

1966 - Jesse Jackson heads Operation Breadbasket and forms an economic boycott in Chicago.

1967 - Thurgood Marshall becomes the first black Justice on the Supreme Court.

1968 - Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated.

1968 - The Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination in regards to the renting and selling of property.

1978 - Supreme Court upholds affirmative action.

1980s - Al Sharpton works on bringing more publicity to court cases involving African Americans.

1989 - Spike Lee films She’s Gotta Have It.

1992 - Race riots break out in California after white police officers beat a black man.

2003 - Supreme Court determines that colleges can use affirmative action in their admissions policy.

2008 - Barack Obama is the first African American elected to the office of United States President.

2009 - Eric Holder Jr. becomes the first black Attorney General of the United States.

Resources on Black History include:



Discovering more about black history is easier than doing background checks. The timeline here shows some of the major events and the resources help those interested learn more.