February is Black History Month
in The United States - an annual celebration that has existed since
Scholar Dr. Carter
G. Woodson, who was determined to bring Black History into the mainstream public
arena. Woodson devoted his life to making "the world see the Negro as a
participant rather than as a lay figure in history."
In 1926 Woodson
organized the first annual Negro History Week, which took place during the
second week of February. Woodson chose this date to co-incide with the birthdays
of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln - two men who had greatly impacted the
black population. Over time, Negro History Week evolved into the Black History
Month that we know today - a four-week-long celebration of African American
During the course of
the slave trade, millions of Africans became involuntary immigrants to the New
World. Some African captives resisted enslavement by fleeing from slave forts on
the West African coast. Others mutinied on board slave trading vessels, or cast
themselves into the ocean. In the New World there were those who ran away from
their owners, ran away among the Indians, formed maroon societies, revolted,
feigned sickness, or participated in work slow downs. Some sought and succeeded
in gaining liberty through various legal means such as "good service"
to their masters, self-purchase, or military service. Still others seemingly
acquiesced and learned to survive in servitude.
American, and African slave traders engaged in the lucrative trade in humans,
and the politicians and businessmen who supported them, did not intend to put
into motion a chain of events that would motivate the captives and their
descendants to fight for full citizenship in the United States of America. But
they did. When Thomas Jefferson penned the words, "All men are created
equal," he could not possibly have envisioned how literally his own slaves
and others would take his words. African Americans repeatedly questioned how
their owners could consider themselves noble in their own fight for independence
from England while simultaneously believing that it was wrong for slaves to do
The first Africans
at Jamestown were purchased as indentured servants from the Dutch. Over the
course of two centuries, however, most Africans in the Americas were bought and
sold as a source of slave labor, were denied the most basic human rights and
were often subject to abusive treatment.
Antislavery sentiments in America
date back to the 1600s. However, the abolition movement didn't come to the
forefront until the early 1800s, when the first abolitionist periodicals were
published. The movement gained momentum over the next few decades, leading to
Lincoln's 1862 Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in rebel
Not all blacks were enslaved
during the period prior to the Civil War. However, these free blacks were not
treated as equal citizens. Free blacks, found primarily in Northern states, had
to carry papers proving they were not slaves. Otherwise, they faced capture and
transport to the South where they could be sold into slavery.
Although they often received
lower pay, performed menial duties and faced further discrimination, black
soldiers were allowed to enlist in the Union Army during the Civil War. They
fought in segregated units, under the command of white officers.
E, 4th U.S. Infantry, Ft. Lincoln
From 1865 to 1877, the
Constitution was amended three times to provide equal rights to black Americans.
Slavery was abolished, and citizenship and voting rights were guaranteed.
Following the formal period of
Reconstruction, laws were passed, severely limiting the freedoms given to
blacks. Poll taxes and literacy tests made voting difficult, while Jim Crow
laws, upheld by the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, created segregated public
facilities. Schools such as Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute provided
quality education for blacks.
During World War I, many blacks
fled the South seeking new jobs in factories in Northern cities. This great
migration continued through the early 1940s. This time period also brought an
increased popularity in music and the arts, centered in the Harlem Renaissance.
In the 1954 Brown v. Board of
Education decision, segregated schools were declared unconstitutional. This
landmark decision sparked the modern Civil Rights movement. Led by Martin Luther
King Jr., blacks engaged in a series of nonviolent protests throughout the South
to bring about the end of segregation and racial domination. Blacks gained
political power as they were elected to office at all levels of government.
Pyle illustrated many historical and adventure stories for periodicals,
including Harper's Weekly. In 1917, he created this depiction of the 1619
arrival of Virginia's first blacks.
August 20. Twenty Africans
arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, aboard a Dutch ship. They were the first blacks
to be forcibly settled as involuntary laborers in the North American British
Massachusetts was the first colony
to legalize slavery by statute.
September 13. The first
documented attempt at a rebellion by slaves took place in Gloucester County,
Maryland was the first state to try
to discourage by law the marriage of white women to black men.
February 18. The Quakers of
Germantown, Pennsylvania, passed the first formal antislavery resolution.
April 7. A slave insurrection
occurred in New York City, resulting in the execution of 21 African Americans.
September 9. The Cato revolt
was the first serious disturbance among slaves. After killing more than 25
whites, most of the rebels, led by a slave named Cato, were rounded up as they
tried to escape to Florida. More than 30 blacks were executed as participants.
March 5. Crispus Attucks, an
escaped slave, was among the five victims in the Boston Massacre. He is said to
have been the first to fall.
Jean Baptiste Point DuSable decided
to build a trading post near Lake Michigan, thus becoming the first permanent
resident of the settlement that became Chicago.
April 19. Free blacks fight
with the Minutemen in the initial skirmishes of the Revolutionary War at
Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
June 17. Peter Salem and
Salem Poor were two blacks commended for their service on the American side at
the Battle of Bunker Hill. Peter Salem has been credited with killing Major
Pitcairn the leader of the British forces storming the hill. According to the
story, the colonial troops were near defeat, and British Major John Pitcairn
ordered them to surrender. Salem then stepped forward and shot Pitcairn. The
British were temporarily stunned, and the Americans were able to retreat.
Pitcairn later died of the wound.
July 2. Vermont was the first
state to abolish slavery.
York African Free School
November 1. The African
Free School of New York City was opened.
December 31. George
Washington reversed previous policy and allowed the recruitment of blacks as
soldiers. Some 5,000 would participate on the American side before the end of
April 12. Richard Allen and
Absalom Jones organized the Free African Society, a mutual self-help group in
July 13. The Continental
Congress forbade slavery in the region northwest of the Ohio River by the
Constitution of the United States allowed a male slave to count as three-fifths
of a man in determining representation in the House of Representatives.
Benjamin Banneker, was a free
African American mathematician, astronomer, clockmaker, and publisher., published the
first almanac by a black.
February 12. Congress passed
the first Fugitive Slave Law.
March 14. Eli Whitney
obtained a patent for his cotton gin, a device that paved the way for the
massive expansion of slavery in the South.
June 10. Richard Allen
founded the Bethel African Methodist Church in Philadelphia.
August 30. A slave revolt
near Richmond, Virginia, led by Gabriel Prosser and Jack Bowley, was first
postponed and then betrayed. More than 40 blacks were eventually executed.
January 5. The Ohio
legislature passed "Black Laws" designed to restrict the legal rights
of free blacks. These laws were part of the trend to increasingly severe
restrictions on all blacks in both North and South before the Civil War.
January 1. The federal law
prohibiting the importation of African slaves went into effect. It was largely
The Underground Railroad refers
to the effort--sometimes spontaneous, sometimes highly organized--to assist
persons held in bondage in North America to escape from slavery with the aid
of abolitionists who were sympathetic to their cause. The Underground Railroad
was operating between 1810 and 1861
April 9. The African
Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at the first independent black
denomination in the United States.
August 18. General Andrew
Jackson defeated a force of Native Americans and African-Americans to end the
First Seminole War.
May 30. The Denmark Vesey
conspiracy was betrayed in Charleston, South Carolina. It is claimed that some
5,000 blacks were prepared to rise in July.
September. David Walker's
militant antislavery pamphlet, An Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World,
was in circulation in the South. This work was the first of its kind by a black.
September 20-24. The first
National Negro Convention met in Philadelphia.
August 21-22 - In February
1831 Nat Turner received what he believed to be a sign from God (a solar
eclipse) telling him that it was time for him and his companions to prepare for
the revolt. On August 21 they began their attempt to overthrow the institution
of slavery. In 48 hours they killed between 55 and 65 whites throughout
Southampton County. This was the beginning of a slave
uprising that was to become known as Nat Turner's rebellion. Over a thirty-six
hour period, this band of slaves grew to sixty or seventy in number and killed
fifty-eight White persons in and around Jerusalem, Virginia.
On August 23
Turner's black liberation army was met and overpowered by a superior state and
Federal military force. Over 100 blacks were slain in the encounter and dozens
more immediately executed.
Turner escaped and
was not caught until October 30. On November 5 he was tried and convicted.
Although he admitted to leading the rebellion, when asked how he pleaded, he
said "not guilty." Six days later he was executed for trying to free
his people from slavery.
July. The slaves carried on
the Spanish ship, Amistad, took over the vessel and sailed it to Montauk
on Long Island. They eventually won their freedom in a case taken to the Supreme
July Harriet Tubman escaped
from slavery. She would return South at least twenty times, leading over 300
slaves to freedom.
The Fugitive Slave Law or Fugitive
Slave Act was passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850, as
part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slaveholding interests and
Daniel A. P. Murray born.
Born in Baltimore on March 3. Murray, an African-American, was assistant
librarian of Congress, and a collector of books and pamphlets by and about
Publication of Uncle
Tom's Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, published on March 20,
focused national attention on the cruelties of slavery.
January 1. Ashmum
Institute, the precursor of Lincoln University, was chartered at Oxford,
Booker Taliaferro Washington
born. Born in Franklin
County, Virginia, on April 5, Washington was the first principal of Tuskegee
Institute (1881), and was the individual most responsible for its early
development. Washington was considered the leading African-American spokesman of
March 6. Supreme Court rules
on the Dred Scott case. The Supreme Court decided that an African-American could
not be a citizen of the U.S., and thus had no rights of citizenship. The
decision sharpened the national debate over slavery.
Dred Scott was born in Virginia
around 1799.Early in life he was the property of a man named Peter Blow.
Blow sold the slave Dred Scott to an army doctor named John Emerson.Dr. Emerson
owned both Dred Scott and Dred's wife Harriet.
Dr. Emerson died in 1843, at which
time the Scotts became the property of his widow Irene Emerson. And in 1846,
Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against Irene Emerson in the courthouse in St. Louis,
claiming he was a free man by virtue of the fact that Dr. Emerson had, for
extended periods of time, taken him to parts of the country where slavery was
John Brown's raid.
On October 16-17, John Brown raided the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry,
Virginia (today located in West Virginia). Brown's unsuccessful mission to
obtain arms for a slave insurrection stirred and divided the nation. Brown was
hanged for treason on December 2.
The last slave ship arrives.
During this year, the last ship to bring slaves to the United States, the
Clothilde, arrived in Mobile Bay, Alabama.
Abraham Lincoln elected
Abraham Lincoln was elected president on November 6, 1860.
Census of 1860.
U.S. population: 31,443,790
Black population: 4,441,790 (14.1%)
August 23. James Stone of
Ohio enlisted to become the first black to fight for the Union during the Civil
War. He was very light skinned and was married to a white woman. His racial
identity was revealed after his death in 1862.
Slavery abolished in the
District of Columbia.
Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia -- an important step on
the road for freedom for all African-Americans.
July 17. Congress allowed the
enlistment of blacks in the Union Army. Some black units precede this date, but
they were disbanded as unofficial. Some 186,000 blacks served; of these 38,000
The Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation took effect January 1, legally freeing
slaves in areas of the South in rebellion.
New York City draft riots.
Anti-conscription riots started on July 13 and lasted four days, during which
hundreds of black Americans were killed or wounded.
Massachusetts Volunteers. On July 18, the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts
Volunteers -- the all-black unit of the Union army portrayed in the 1989
Tri-Star Pictures film Glory -- charged Fort Wagner in Charleston,
South Carolina. Sergeant William H. Carney becomes the first African-American
to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery under fire.
On June 15, Congress passed a bill authorizing equal pay, equipment, arms, and
health care for African-American Union troops.
The New Orleans Tribune.
On October 4, the New Orleans Tribune began publication. The Tribune
was one of the first daily newspapers produced by blacks.
Congress approves the
Slavery would be outlawed in the United States by the Thirteenth Amendment,
which Congress approved and sent on to the states for ratification on January
The Freedmen's Bureau.
On March 3, Congress established the Freedmen's Bureau to provide health care,
education, and technical assistance to emancipated slaves.
Death of Lincoln. On
April 15, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated; Vice President Andrew Johnson, a
Tennessee Democrat, succeeded him as president.
Ratification of Thirteenth
Amendment. The Thirteenth Amendment, outlawing slavery, was ratified on
Edward G. Walker and Charles L.
Mitchell were the first blacks to sit in an American legislature, that of
Founding of the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku
Klux Klan, an organization formed to intimidate blacks and other ethnic and
religious minorities, first met in Maxwell House, Memphis. The Klan was the
first of many secret terrorist organizations organized in the South for the
purpose of reestablishing white authority.
Buffalo Soldiers is a nickname
originally applied to the members of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the
United States Army by the Native American tribes they fought, which was formed
on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The term eventually
encompassed these units: U.S. 9th Cavalry Regiment U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment
24th Infantry Regiment 25th Infantry Regiment 27th Cavalry Regiment 28th
photograph of members of the 10th Cavalry
The "Buffalo Soldiers"
were established by Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the
regular U.S. Army.
Reconstruction Acts were passed by Congress on March 2. These acts called for
the enfranchisement of former slaves in the South.
July 6. The South Carolina
House became the first and only legislature to have a black majority, 87 blacks
to 40 whites. Whites did continue to control the Senate and became a majority in
the House in 1874.
July 28 The Fourteenth
Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, granting citizenship to any person
born or naturalized in the United States.
Census of 1870
U.S. population: 39,818,449
Black population: 4,880,009 (12.7%)
The first African-American
senator Hiram R. Revels (Republican) of Mississippi took his seat February
25. He was the first black United States senator, though he served only one
Fifteenth Amendment ratified
The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on March 30
March 1. Congress passed a
Civil Rights Bill which banned discrimination in places of public accommodation.
The Supreme Court overturned the bill in 1883.
Tennessee passed a law requiring
segregation in railroad cars. By 1907 all Southern states had passed similar
The first African-American
to graduate from West Point. On June 15, Henry Ossian Flipper became the first black
American to graduate from West Point.
The end of Reconstruction
A deal with Southern Democratic leaders made Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican)
president, in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the South and
the end of federal efforts to protect the civil rights of African-Americans.
assassinated. President Garfield was shot on July 2; he died on
September 19. Vice President Chester A. Arthur (Republican) succeeded
Garfield as president.
Tuskegee Institute founded.
Booker T. Washington became the first principal of Tuskegee Institute in
Tuskegee, Alabama, on July 4. Tuskegee became the leading vocational
training institution for African-Americans.
Segregation of public
transportation. Tennessee segregated railroad cars, followed by Florida
(1887), Mississippi (1888), Texas (1889), Louisiana (1890), Alabama,
Kentucky, Arkansas, and Georgia (1891), South Carolina (1898), North
Carolina (1899), Virginia (1900), Maryland (1904), and Oklahoma (1907).
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1882.
Civil Rights Act
overturned. On October 15, the Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights
Act of 1875 unconstitutional. The Court declared that the Fourteenth
Amendment forbids states, but not citizens, from discriminating.
Sojourner Truth dies.
Sojourner Truth, a courageous and ardent abolitionist and a brilliant
speaker, died on November 26.
A political coup and a race
riot. On November 3, white conservatives in Danville, Virginia, seized
control of the local government, racially integrated and popularly elected,
killing four African-Americans in the process.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1883.
president. Grover Cleveland (Democrat) was elected president on November
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1884.
"Fleetwood" Walker becomes first African-American player in
major league baseball, signing with the Toledo club in the American
a star catcher at Oberlin College, despite a creditable performance with
Toledo, was cut from the squad after the season, but continued to play in
organized baseball with minor league teams.
African-American players were active on the rosters of white minor league
teams during the period.
A black Episcopal bishop.
On June 25, African-American Samuel David Ferguson was ordained a bishop of
the Episcopal church.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1885.
The Carrollton Massacre.
On March 17, 20 black Americans were massacred at Carrollton, Mississippi.
Labor organizes. The
American Federation of Labor was organized on December 8, signaling the rise
of the labor movement. All major unions of the day excluded black Americans.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1886.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1887.
Two of the first
African-American banks. Two of America's first black-owned banks -- the
Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain United Order of the Reformers, in
Richmond Virginia, and Capital Savings Bank of Washington, DC, opened their
Harrison elected president.
Benjamin Harrison (Republican) was elected president on November 6.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1888.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1889.
Census of 1890.
U.S. population: 62,947,714
Black population: 7,488,676 (11.9%)
The Afro-American League.
On January 25, under the leadership of Timothy Thomas Fortune, the militant
National Afro-American League was founded in Chicago.
disenfranchised. The Mississippi Plan, approved on November 1, used
literacy and "understanding" tests to disenfranchise black
American citizens. Similar statutes were adopted by South Carolina (1895),
Louisiana (1898), North Carolina (1900), Alabama (1901), Virginia (1901),
Georgia (1908), and Oklahoma (1910).
A white supremacist is
elected. Populist "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman was elected governor
of South Carolina. He called his election "a triumph of ... white
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1890.
Lynchings. One hundred
and thirteen black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1891.
Grover Cleveland elected
president. Grover Cleveland (Democrat) was elected president on November
Lynchings. One hundred
and sixty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1892.
Lynchings. One hundred
and eighteen black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1893.
The Pullman strike. The
Pullman Company strike caused a national transportation crisis. On May 11,
African-Americans were hired by the company as strike-breakers.
Lynchings. One hundred
and thirty-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1894.
African-American leader and statesman Frederick Douglass died on February
A race riot. Whites
attacked black workers in New Orleans on March 11-12. Six blacks were
The Atlanta Compromise.
Booker T. Washington delivered his famous "Atlanta Compromise"
address on September 18 at the Atlanta Cotton States Exposition. He said the
"Negro problem" would be solved by a policy of gradualism and
The National Baptist
Convention. Several Baptist organizations combined to form the National
Baptist Convention of the U.S.A.; the Baptist church is the largest black
religious denomination in the United States.
Lynchings. One hundred
and thirteen black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1895.
Plessy v. Ferguson.
The Supreme Court decided on May 18 in Plessy v. Ferguson that
"separate but equal" facilities satisfy Fourteenth Amendment
guarantees, thus giving legal sanction to Jim Crow segregation laws.
Black women organize.
The National Association of Colored Women was formed on July 21; Mary Church
Terrell was chosen president.
McKinley elected president.
On November 3, William McKinley (Republican) was elected president.
George Washington Carver.
George Washington Carver was appointed director of agricultural research at
Tuskegee Institute. His work advanced peanut, sweet potato, and soybean
Seventy-eight black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1896.
American Negro Academy.
The American Negro Academy was established on March 5 to encourage
African-American participation in art, literature and philosophy.
Lynchings. One hundred
and twenty-three black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1897.
The Spanish-American War.
The Spanish-American War began on April 21. Sixteen regiments of black
volunteers were recruited; four saw combat. Five black Americans won
Congressional Medals of Honor.
The National Afro-American
Council. Founded on September 15, the National Afro-American Council
elected Bishop Alexander Walters its first president.
A race riot. On
November 10, in Wilmington, North Carolina, eight black Americans were
killed during white rioting.
companies. The North Carolina Mutual and Provident Insurance Company and
the National Benefit Life Insurance Company of Washington, DC were
established. Both companies were black-owned.
Lynchings. One hundred
and one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1898.
A lynching protest. The
Afro-American Council designated June 4 as a national day of fasting to
protest lynchings and massacres.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1899.
Census of 1900.
U.S. population: 75,994,575
Black population: 8,833,994 (11.6%)
Lynchings. One hundred
and six black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1900.
A World's Fair. The
Paris Exposition was held, and the United States pavilion housed an
exhibition on black Americans. The "Exposition des Negres d'Amerique"
won several awards for excellence. Daniel A. P. Murray's collection of works
by and about black Americans was developed for this exhibition.
The last African-American
congressman for 28 years. George H. White gave up his seat on March 4.
No African-American would serve in Congress for the next 28 years.
assassinated. President McKinley died of an assassin's bullet on
September 14, a week after being shot in Buffalo, New York. Vice President
Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him as president.
Washington dines at the
White House. On October 16, after an afternoon meeting at the White
House with Booker T. Washington, President Theodore Roosevelt informally
invited Washington to remain and eat dinner with him, making Washington
the first black American to dine at the White House with the president. A
furor arose over the social implications of Roosevelt's casual act.
Jazz great Louis Armstrong
is born in New Orleans.
hundred and five black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1901.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1902.
The Souls of Black Folk.
W. E. B. Du Bois's celebrated book, The Souls of Black Folk, was
published on April 27. In it, Du Bois rejected the gradualism of Booker T.
Washington, calling for agitation on behalf of African-American rights.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1903.
Educator Mary McCleod Bethune founds a college in Daytona Beach, Florida,
known today as Bethune-Cookman College.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1904.
The Niagara Movement.
On July 11-13, African-American intellectuals and activists, led by W. E. B.
Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter, began the Niagara Movement.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1905.
Soldiers riot. In
Brownsville, Texas on August 13, black troops rioted against segregation. On
November 6, President Theodore Roosevelt discharged three companies of black
soldiers involved in the riot.
A race riot. On
September 22-24, in a race riot in Atlanta, ten blacks and two whites were
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1906.
Arthur John Johnson (March 31,
1878 – June 10, 1946), better known as Jack Johnson and nicknamed the “Galveston
Giant”, was an American boxer and arguably the best heavyweight of his
generation. He was the first black world heavyweight boxing champion
(1908-1915).He won the world heavyweight title on December 26, 1908,
when he fought the Canadian world champion Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia
Thurgood Marshall born.
Born in Baltimore on July 2, Thurgood Marshall, was the attorney for the
NAACP in the famous case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), in
which the Supreme Court found segregated schools to be inherently unequal.
He later became the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court.
A race riot. Many were
killed and wounded in a race riot on August 14-19, in Abraham Lincoln's home
town of Springfield, Illinois.
Taft elected president.
On November 3, William Howard Taft (Republican) was elected president.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1908.
The NAACP is formed. On
February 12 -- the centennial of the birth of Lincoln -- a national appeal
led to the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People, an organization formed to promote use of the courts to
restore the legal rights of black Americans.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1909.
Census of 1910.
U.S. population: 93,402,151
Black population: 9,827,763 (10.7%)
The first issue of Crisis, a publication sponsored by the NAACP and
edited by W. E.B. Du Bois, appeared on November 1.
On December 19, the City Council of Baltimore approved the first city
ordinance designating the boundaries of black and white neighborhoods. This
ordinance was followed by similar ones in Dallas, Texas, Greensboro, North
Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, Norfolk, Virginia, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,
Richmond, Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia, and St. Louis, Missouri. The Supreme
Court declared the Louisville ordinance to be unconstitutional in 1917.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1910.
Wilson elected president.
Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) was elected president on November 5.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1912.
Jubilee year. The
fiftieth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was celebrated
throughout the year.
Harriet Tubman dies.
Harriet Tubman -- former slave, abolitionist, and freedom fighter -- died on
Federal segregation. On
April 11, the Wilson administration began government-wide segregation of
work places, rest rooms and lunch rooms.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1913.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1914.
World War I. World War
I began in Europe.
Booker T. Washington
dies. Renowned African-American spokesman Booker T. Washington died on
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1915.
Lynchings. Fifty black
Americans are known to have been lynched in 1916.
World War I. America
entered World War I on April 6. 370,000 African-Americans were in military
service -- more than half in the French war zone.
A race riot. One of the
bloodiest race riots in the nation's history took place in East St. Louis,
Illinois, on July 1-3. A Congressional committee reported that 40 to 200
people were killed, hundreds more injured, and 6,000 driven from their
Thousands of African-Americans marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on July
28, protesting lynchings, race riots, and the denial of rights.
A race riot. On August
23, a riot erupted in Houston between black soldiers and white citizens; 2
blacks and 11 whites were killed. 18 black soldiers were hanged for
participation in the riot.
The Supreme Court acts.
On November 5, the Supreme Court struck down the Louisville, Kentucky
ordinance mandating segregated neighborhoods.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1917.
A race riot. On July
25-28, a race riot occurred in Chester, Pennsylvania. 3 blacks and 2 whites
A race riot. On July
26-29, a race riot occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 3 blacks and 1
white were killed.
World War I ends. The
Armistice took effect on November 11, ending World War I. The northern
migration of African-Americans began in earnest during the war. By 1930
there were 1,035,000 more black Americans in the North, and 1,143,000 fewer
black Americans in the South than in 1910.
Lynchings. Sixty black
Americans are known to have been lynched in 1918.
This was the year of the "Red Summer," with 26 race riots between
the months of April and October. These included disturbances in the
May 10 Charleston, South Carolina.
July 13 Gregg and Longview counties, Texas.
July 19-23 Washington, D. C.
July 27 Chicago.
October 1-3 Elaine, Arkansas.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1919.
Census of 1920.
U.S. population: 105,710,620
Black population: 10,463,131 (9.9%)
The Harlem Renaissance.
The decade of the Twenties witnessed the Harlem Renaissance, a remarkable
period of creativity for black writers, poets, and artists, including these
Claude McKay, Harlem Shadows, 1922
Jean Toomer, Cane, 1923
Alaine Locke, The New Negro, 1925
Countee Cullen, Color, 1925
The rise of Marcus Garvey.
On August 1, Marcus Garvey's Universal Improvement Association held its
national convention in Harlem, the traditionally black neighborhood in New
York City. Garvey's African nationalist movement was the first black
American mass movement, and at its height it claimed hundreds of thousands
Harding elected president.
On November 3, Warren G. Harding (Republican) was elected president.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1920.
"Rube" Foster, renowned pitcher and owner of the Chicago American
Giants, calls Midwestern team owners to Kansas City. The result of the
meeting is the formation of the Negro National League.
begins the 1920 season on May 2 with the following teams onboard: Chicago
American Giants, Chicago Giants, Dayton Marcos, Detroit Stars, Indianapolis
ABCs, Kansas City Monarchs and Cuban Stars.
A race riot. On May
31-June 1, in a race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 21 whites and 60 blacks were
killed. The violence destroyed a thriving African American neighborhood and
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1921.
An anti-lynching effort.
On January 26, a federal anti-lynching bill was killed by a filibuster in
the United States Senate.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1922.
President Harding dies.
President Warren Harding died on August 3; Vice President Calvin Coolidge
succeeded him as president.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1923.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1924.
first Negro World Series is played between the Kansas City Monarchs
(Negro National League Champions) and the Hilldale Club (Eastern Colored
Malcolm X born. On May
19, in Omaha, Nebraska, civil rights leader Malcolm X was born.
Sleeping car porters
organize. On August 25, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was
organized. A. Philip Randolph was chosen president.
black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1925.
Daniel A. P. Murray dies.
Assistant Librarian of Congress and African-American historian Daniel A. P.
Murray died in Washington, DC, on March 31.
Pianist, composer, and
self-proclaimed inventor of jazz Jelly Roll Morton records several of his
masterpieces, including "Black Bottom Stomp" and "Dead Man
Poet and novelist Claude McKay publishes Home to Harlem, the first
fictional work by an African-American to reach the best-seller lists.
Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr. becomes the first black colonel in the U.S. Army.
He later oversees race relations and the morale of black soldiers in World
War II and becomes the first black general in 1940.
August 9. Jesse Owens won
four gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Berlin.
June 22. Joe Louis defeated
James J. Braddock to become heavyweight boxing champion of the world.
October 16. Benjamin O.
Davis, Sr., became the first black general in the United States Army.
June 25. President Franklin
D. Roosevelt issued an executive order forbidding discrimination in defense
industries after pressure from blacks led by A. Philip Randolph.
June. Some blacks and whites
organized the Congress of Racial Equality in Chicago. They led a sit-in at a
of the 332nd Fighter Group, "Tuskegee Airmen," the elite, all-African
American 332nd Fighter Group at Ramitelli, Italy., from left to right, Lt.
Dempsey W. Morgran, Lt. Carroll S. Woods, Lt. Robert H. Nelron, Jr., Capt.
Andrew D. Turner, and Lt. Clarence P. Lester. (U.S. Air Force photo)
"The Tuskegee Airmen"
are a group of African American pilots who flew with distinction during World
War II. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers,
maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the
planes in the air. Four hundred and fifty of the pilots who were trained at
Tuskegee Institute served overseas in either the 99th Pursuit Squadron (later
the 99th Fighter Squadron) or the 332nd Fighter Group. The 99th Fighter Squadron
trained in and flew aircraft in combat in North Africa, Sicily and Italy from
April 1943 until July 1944 when they were transferred to the 332nd Fighter Group
in the 15th Air Force They .flew theP-40 Warhawk, briefly with P-39 Airacobras
(March 1944), later with P-47 Thunderbolts (June-July 1944), and finally with
the airplane that they would become most identified with, the P-51 Mustang (July
By the end of the war, the
Tuskegee Airmen were credited with 109 Luftwaffe aircraft shot down, a patrol
boat run aground by machine-gun fire, and destruction of numerous fuel dumps,
trucks and trains. The squadrons of the 332nd Fighter Group flew more than
15,000 sorties on 1,500 missions. The Tuskegee Airmen were awarded several
Silver Stars, 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 8 Purple Hearts, 14 Bronze Stars
and 744 Air Medals.
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., commander of the Tuskegee Airmen 332nd Fighter Group, in
front of his P-47 Thunderbolt in Sicily.(U.S. Air Force photo)
April 24. The United Negro
College Fund was founded.
October 2. The first
working, production-ready model of a mechanical cotton picker was demonstrated
on a farm near Clarksdate, Mississippi.
Ebony, a monthly
magazine for the African American market, was founded by John H. Johnson and has
published continuously since the Autumn of 1945
April 19. Jackie Robinson
became the first black to play major league baseball.
Hazel Scott was the first African
American woman to have her own television show, The Hazel Scott Show, which
premiered on the DuMont Television Network on 3 July 1950.
September 22. Ralph J.
Bunche won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as a mediator in Palestine.
magazine was founded in 1951 by John H. Johnson, head of Chicago's Johnson
May 17. Brown v. Board of
Education: In the 1950’s, school segregation was widely accepted throughout
the nation. In fact, law in most Southern states required it. In 1952, the
Supreme Court heard a number of school-segregation cases, including Brown v.
Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This case decided unanimously in 1954 that
segregation was unconstitutional, overthrowing the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson
ruling that had set the “separate but equal” precedent.
Boycott: Rosa Parks, a 43-year-old black seamstress, was arrested in Montgomery,
Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat near the front of a bus to a white
man. The following night, fifty leaders of the Negro community met at Dexter
Ave. Baptist Church to discuss the issue. Among them was the young minister, Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. The leaders organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which
would deprive the bus company of 65% of its income, and cost Dr. King a $500
fine or 386 days in jail. He paid the fine, and eight months later, the Supreme
Court decided, based on the school segregation cases, that bus segregation
violated the constitution.
December 1. Rosa Parks
refused to change seats in a Montgomery, Alabama, bus. On December 5 blacks
began a boycott of the bus system which continued until shortly after December
13, 1956, when the United States Supreme Court outlawed bus segregation in the
Little Rock: Little Rock Central High School was to begin the 1957 school year
desegregated. On September 2, the night before the first day of school, Governor
Faubus announced that he had ordered the Arkansas National Guard to monitor the
school the next day. When a group of nine black students arrived at Central High
on September 3, they were kept from entering by the National Guardsmen. On
September 20, judge Davies granted an injunction against Governor Faubus and
three days later the group of nine students returned to Central High School.
Although the students were not physically injured, a mob of 1,000 townspeople
prevented them from remaining at school. Finally, President Eisenhower ordered
1,000 paratroopers and 10,000 National Guardsmen to Little Rock, and on
September 25, Central High School was desegregated.
February 14. The Southern
Christian Leadership Conference was formed with Martin Luther King, Jr.,, as
August 29. Congress passed
the Voting Rights Bill of 1957, the first major civil rights legislation in more
than 75 years.
November 5 The
Nat King Cole Show debuted on NBC-TV. Initially begun as a 15-minute show
on Monday night, the show was expanded to a half hour in July 1957.
Motown Records, Inc., also known
as Tamla-Motown incorporated on January 12, 1959
by Berry Gordy, Jr.
Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music as
the first record label owned by an African American and primarily featuring
African American artists to regularly achieve crossover success and have a
widespread, lasting effect on the music industry and society in general.
1960 Sit-in Campaign:
After having been refused service at the lunch counter of a Woolworth's in
Greensboro, North Carolina, Joseph McNeill, a college student, returned
the next day with three classmates to sit at the counter until they were served.
They were not served. The four students returned to the lunch counter each day.
When an article in the New York Times drew attention to the students' protest,
more students, both black and white, joined them, and students across the nation
were inspired to launch similar protests. “In a span of two weeks, there were
sit-ins in eleven cities”. Despite beatings, being doused with
ammonia, heavy court fines, arrest and imprisonment, new waves of students
appeared at lunch counters to continue the movement through February and March.
“By late March, the police had orders not to arrest the demonstrators because
of the national publicity the sit-ins were attracting”. Senator
John F. Kennedy, one of the candidates in the presidential election that year,
sent a statement to the sit-in students in Atlanta expressing the sentiment that
“they have shown that the new way for Americans to stand up for their rights
is to sit down”. This represented one of the few times
that either presidential candidate addressed a civil rights issue during the
the second day of the Greensboro sit-in, Joseph A. McNeil and Franklin E. McCain
are joined by William Smith and Clarence Henderson at the Woolworth lunch
counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
(Courtesy of Greensboro News and Record)
F. W. Woolworth Company (often referred to as Woolworth's) was a
retail company that was one of the original American five-and-dime
stores. The first Woolworth's store was founded, with a loan of $300,
in 1878 by Frank Winfield Woolworth. Despite growing to be one of the
largest retail chains in the world through most of the 20th century,
increased competition led to its decline beginning in the 1980s. In
1997, F. W. Woolworth Company converted itself into a sporting goods
retailer, closing its remaining retail stores operating under the
"Woolworth's" brand name and renaming itself Venator Group.
By 2001, the company focused exclusively on the sporting goods market,
changing its name to the present Foot Locker Inc (NYSE: FL). Retail
chains using the Woolworth name survive in Germany, Austria, Mexico,
and South Africa.
February 1. Sit-ins in
Greensboro, North Carolina, initiated a wave of similar protests throughout the
April 15-17. The Student
Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Freedom Rides: In
1961, busloads of volunteers of mixed races waged a cross-country campaign to
try to end the segregation of bus terminals. Their plan was to test the Supreme
Court’s ruling that segregated seating on interstate buses and trains was
unconstitutional. Their legal action, however, was met with violence at many
stops along the way. Local segregation laws were frequently used to arrest and
try the freedom riders. But as one group was arrested, more arrived to take
their place. Throughout the summer, more than 300 Freedom Riders traveled
through the deep south in an effort to integrate the bus terminals. When freedom
riders were savagely beaten in Montgomery, Alabama, one of President Kennedy’s
representatives was also knocked unconscious and left lying in the street for
half an hour. Kennedy felt this gave him justification to send in 600 federal
marshals in a showdown between the state of Alabama and the federal government.
After this confrontation, Kennedy made a deal with Democratic governors and
congressmen who held power in the South. He would not send in federal troops as
long as they made sure there was no mob violence against the riders.
Sidney Poitier becomes first
Black Actor to win Academy Award for Best Actor
Birmingham: In May
1963, Dr. King, the Reverend Abernathy and the Reverend Shuttlesworth lead a
protest march in Birmingham. The protestors were met with policemen and dogs.
The three ministers were arrested and taken to Southside Jail. Dr. King was held
in solitary confinement for three days, during which he wrote, smuggled out of
jail, and had printed his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” a profoundly moving
justification for the moral necessity of non-violent resistance to unjust laws.
June-August. Civil rights
protests took place in most major urban areas.
August 28. The March on
Washington was the largest civil rights demonstration ever. Martin Luther King,
Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.
September 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church,
killing four little girls who, dressed in the “Youth Sunday” best, were
preparing to lead the 11:00 am adult service. The bombing came without warning.
Since 1911, this church had served as the center of life for Birmingham’s
African American community. By the end of the day, riots and fires had broken
out throughout Birmingham and another 2 teenagers were dead. This murderous act
shocked the nation and galvanized the civil rights movement.
The crater and other
damage caused by the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which
killed four little girls.
January 23. The Twenty-fourth
Amendment forbade the use of the poll tax to prevent voting.
February 25 1964 Muhammad Ali
knocked out, Sonny Liston in seven rounds, thus becoming the new heavyweight
world champion. Ali defended his title nine times from 1965 to 1967. Ali
often proclaimed his invincibility in verse and boasted, "I am the
March 12. Malcolm X
his split from Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam.
April 3- Malcolm
X gives his speech “The Ballot or the Bullet” at the Cory Methodist Church
in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality
(CORE) sponsored the event.
July 2- The
Civil Rights Act of 1964: In his first address to Congress and the nation as
president, Johnson called for passage of the civil rights bill as a monument to
the fallen Kennedy. While the House of Representatives passed the measure by a
lopsided 290-130 vote, every one knew that the real battle would be in the
Senate, whose rules had allowed southerners in the past to mount filibusters
that had effectively killed nearly all civil rights legislation. But Johnson had
the civil rights leaders mount a massive lobbying campaign, including inundating
the Capitol with religious leaders of all faiths and colors. The strategy paid
off, and in June the Senate voted to close debate; a few weeks later, it passed
the most important piece of civil rights legislation in the nation's history,
and on July 2, 1964, President Johnson signed it into law. The heart of the law
deals with public accommodations, so that African Americans could no longer be
excluded from restaurants, hotels and other public facilities.
July 18-August 30.
Beginning in Harlem, serious racial disturbances occurred in more than six major
Selma: Outraged over
the killing of a demonstrator by a state trooper in Marion, Alabama, the black
community of Marion decided to hold a march. Martin Luther King agreed to lead
the marchers on Sunday, March 7, from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital,
where they would appeal directly to governor Wallace to stop police brutality
and call attention to their struggle for suffrage. When Governor Wallace refused
to allow the march, Dr. King went to Washington to speak with President Johnson,
delaying the demonstration until March 8. However, the people of Selma could not
wait and they began the march on Sunday. When the marchers reached the city
line, they found a posse of state troopers waiting for them. As the
demonstrators crossed the bridge leading out of Selma, they were ordered to
disperse, but the troopers did not wait for their warning to be headed. They
immediately attacked the crowd of people who had bowed their heads in prayer.
Using tear gas and batons, the troopers chased the demonstrators to a black
housing project, where they continued to beat the demonstrators as well as
residents of the project who had not been at the march.
Bloody Sunday received
national attention, and numerous marches were organized in response. Martin
Luther King led a march to the Selma Bridge that Tuesday, during which one
protestor was killed. Finally, with President Johnson's permission, Dr. King led
a successful march from Selma to Montgomery on March 25. President Johnson gave
a rousing speech to congress concerning civil rights as a result of Bloody
Sunday, and passed the Voting Rights Act within that same year. John Lewis,
former freedom rider and voting rights registration organizer, and one of the
young men beaten on the Selma Bridge that Sunday, currently serves as a U.S.
Congressman for the State of Georgia.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
prohibits literacy tests and poll taxes which had been used to prevent blacks
from voting. According to a report of the Bureau of the Census from 1982, in
1960 there were 22,000 African-Americans registered to vote in Mississippi, but
in 1966 the number had risen to 175,000. Alabama went from 66,000
African-American registered voters in 1960 to 250,000 in 1966. South Carolina's
African-American registered voters went from 58,000 to 191,000 in the same time
January 2. The SCLC launched
a voter drive in Selma, Alabama. which escalated into a nationwide protest
February 21. Malcolm X is assassinated
in Harlem by members of the Nation of Islam.
August 11-21. The Watts
riots left 34 dead, more than 3,500 arrested, and property damage of about 225
I Spy was an
American television secret agent adventure series. It ran for three seasons on
NBC from 1965 to 1968 and teamed Robert Culp as international tennis player
Kelly Robinson, and Bill Cosby as his trainer Alexander Scott. In reality, they
were both top agents for the Pentagon and, while ostensibly traveling as
"tennis bums" (a talented amateur who plays tennis with rich people in
return for food and lodging), they were usually busy chasing villains, spies,
and beautiful women.I Spy broke new ground in that it was the first American
television drama to feature an African-American actor (Cosby) in a lead role.
August On August 23, 1966,
Muhammad Ali applied with the Selective Service for conscientious objector status on
religious grounds (as a minister with the Nation of Islam).
Appearing at his scheduled
induction into the U.S. Armed Forces on April 28, 1967 in Houston, he refused
three times to step forward at the call of his name. An officer warned him he
was committing a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of
$10,000. Once more, Ali refused to budge when his name was called. As a result,
he was arrested and on the same day the New York State Athletic Commission
suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Other boxing
commissions followed suit.
At the trial on June 20, 1967,
after only 21 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Ali guilty.
On June 28, 1971,
the Supreme Court reversed his conviction for refusing induction by unanimous
decision in Clay v. United States.
ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong-No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help
murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of
white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when
such evil injustice must come to an end." —Muhammad Ali
September 8, 1966 "Star Trek" premiered on NBC TV. It featured
Nichelle Nichols in a prominent supporting role as the Chief
Communications Officer (4th in command of The Star ship Enterprise)
which for the times, was unprecedented. Her character was Lieutenant
comes from the Swahili word uhuru, meaning "freedom",Nyota
means star in the African languages Swahili and Lingala.
almost left "Star Trek" after the first year because she
thought of it as an interruption in her career plans. What made her stay
remains as powerful and moving each time she tells it.
day after Nichols told series creator Gene Roddenberry she planned to
beam off the show, she went to a NAACP fund-raiser. She was told there
was a big fan at the event who wanted to meet her.
thought it was a Trekkie, and so I said, 'Sure.' And I stood up, and I
looked across the room, and there was Dr. Martin Luther King walking
towards me with this big grin on his face," Nichols says. "He
reached out to me and said, 'Yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your greatest fan.'
said that 'Star Trek' was the only show that he and his wife, Coretta,
would allow their three little children to stay up and watch."
told King about her plans to leave the series.
never got to tell him why, because he said, 'You can't,'" Nichols
says. "He said 'You're part of history, and this is your
responsibility even though it might not have been your career
said it was her duty to stay on the show and be a positive role model.
went back to work and told Roddenberry she would stay. When Roddenberry
heard what King had said, he cried.
October. The Black Panther
Party For Self Defense was founded to promote civil rights and
self-defense by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California.
Seale and Huey Newton Black Panther Party
six Black Panthers (November, 1966) Top left to right: Elbert "Big
Man" Howard; Huey P. Newton (Defense Minister), Sherman Forte, Bobby Seale
(Chairman). Bottom: Reggie Forte and Little Bobby Hutton (Treasurer).
The Black Panther Party Ten Point
WE WANT FREEDOM. WE WANT POWER TO DETERMINE THE DESTINY
OF OUR BLACK AND OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES.
We believe that Black and oppressed people will not be free until
we are able to determine our destinies in our own communities ourselves,
by fully controlling all the institutions which exist in our communities.
WE WANT FULL EMPLOYMENT FOR OUR PEOPLE.
We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated
to give every person employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if
the American businessmen will not give full employment, then the
technology and means of production should be taken from the businessmen
and placed in the community so that the people of the community can
organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
WE WANT AN END TO THE ROBBERY BY THE CAPITALISTS OF OUR
BLACK AND OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES.
We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are
demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and
two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and
mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which
will be distributed to our many communities. The American racist has taken
part in the slaughter of our fifty million Black people. Therefore, we
feel this is a modest demand that we make.
WE WANT DECENT HOUSING, FIT FOR THE SHELTER OF HUMAN
We believe that if the landlords will not give decent housing to
our Black and oppressed communities, then housing and the land should be
made into cooperatives so that the people in our communities, with
government aid, can build and make decent housing for the people.
WE WANT DECENT EDUCATION FOR OUR PEOPLE THAT EXPOSES THE
TRUE NATURE OF THIS DECADENT AMERICAN SOCIETY. WE WANT EDUCATION THAT
TEACHES US OUR TRUE HISTORY AND OUR ROLE IN THE PRESENT-DAY SOCIETY.
We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a
knowledge of the self. If you do not have knowledge of yourself and your
position in the society and in the world, then you will have little chance
to know anything else.
WE WANT COMPLETELY FREE HEALTH CARE FOR All BLACK AND
We believe that the government must provide, free of charge, for
the people, health facilities which will not only treat our illnesses,
most of which have come about as a result of our oppression, but which
will also develop preventive medical programs to guarantee our future
survival. We believe that mass health education and research programs must
be developed to give all Black and oppressed people access to advanced
scientific and medical information, so we may provide our selves with
proper medical attention and care.
WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER
OF BLACK PEOPLE, OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR, All OPPRESSED PEOPLE INSIDE THE
We believe that the racist and fascist government of the United
States uses its domestic enforcement agencies to carry out its program of
oppression against black people, other people of color and poor people
inside the united States. We believe it is our right, therefore, to defend
ourselves against such armed forces and that all Black and oppressed
people should be armed for self defense of our homes and communities
against these fascist police forces.
WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO ALL WARS OF AGGRESSION.
We believe that the various conflicts which exist around the world
stem directly from the aggressive desire of the United States ruling
circle and government to force its domination upon the oppressed people of
the world. We believe that if the United States government or its lackeys
do not cease these aggressive wars it is the right of the people to defend
themselves by any means necessary against their aggressors.
WE WANT FREEDOM FOR ALL BLACK AND OPPRESSED PEOPLE NOW
HELD IN U. S. FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY, CITY AND MILITARY PRISONS AND JAILS.
WE WANT TRIALS BY A JURY OF PEERS FOR All PERSONS CHARGED WITH SO-CALLED
CRIMES UNDER THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY.
We believe that the many Black and poor oppressed people now held
in United States prisons and jails have not received fair and impartial
trials under a racist and fascist judicial system and should be free from
incarceration. We believe in the ultimate elimination of all wretched,
inhuman penal institutions, because the masses of men and women imprisoned
inside the United States or by the United States military are the victims
of oppressive conditions which are the real cause of their imprisonment.
We believe that when persons are brought to trial they must be guaranteed,
by the United States, juries of their peers, attorneys of their choice and
freedom from imprisonment while awaiting trial.
WE WANT LAND, BREAD, HOUSING, EDUCATION, CLOTHING,
JUSTICE, PEACE AND PEOPLE'S COMMUNITY CONTROL OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with
another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and
equal station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a
decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should
declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal;
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;
that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to
secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their
just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of
government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the
people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government,
laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in
such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and
happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long
established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and,
accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are most disposed to
suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing
the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses
and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to
reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty,
to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future
May 1-October 1. This was the
worst summer for racial disturbances in United States history.
April 4. Martin Luther King,
Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In the following week riots occurred
in at least 125 places throughout the country.
16 at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Mexico two American track and field
runners, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, made a stand against racism in the
and Carlos were both competitors in the 200-meter race. Smith won the gold with
the time of 19.5 seconds and Carlos won the bronze. At the medal ceremony, Smith
and Carlos stood on the platform wearing black socks without shoes, they both
wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge, and Smith wore a black scarf
around his neck. As the American flag was raised and the National Anthem was
played, Smith and Carlos bowed their heads and each raised a gloved fist in the
black power salute. Because of their actions, the Olympic Committee barred them
from competing in other events. John
Carlos and Tommie Smith are true heroes.
It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud" is a 1968 recording by James
Brown. It is notable both as one of Brown's signature songs and one of the
most popular "black power" anthems of the 1960s. In the song, Brown
addresses the prejudice towards blacks in America, and the need for black
empowerment. He proclaims that "we done made us a chance to do for ourself/we're
tired of beating our head against the wall/workin' for someone else".
17, 1968 "Julia" debuts on NBC. Diahann Carroll became the first
African American woman to have the lead in a hit TV show.
series revolved around the lives of Julia Baker, (Diahann Carroll) a widowed
black nurse and her young son, Corey (Marc Copage). Julia's husband had been
killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam, and the series began with the now
fatherless Baker family moving into an integrated apartment building in Los
Angeles while Julia secured employment at the medical offices of Astrospace
Industries. She worked with a gruff but lovable elderly white physician, Dr.
Chegley (Lloyd Nolan), Julia's closest friends were her white neighbors, the
Waggedorns--Marie, a scatter-brained housewife; Len, a police officer; and Earl
J. Waggedorn, their son and Corey's pal.
and The Family Stone
and The Family Stone, a multi racial group, unheard of for the times, recorded a
landmark 1969 song about acceptance, "Everyday People". The band
exemplified racial harmony, ethnic diversity and a voice for women in its
lineup. Sly and the Family Stone came together late in 1966, with
keyboardist/vocalist Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart) recruiting family
members: his sister Rose (keyboards, vocals), brother Freddie Stone (guitar) and
cousin Larry Graham (bass). The group was rounded out by Cynthia Robinson
(trumpet), Greg Errico (drums) and Jerry Martini (sax).
I'm right and I can be wrong My own beliefs are in my song The butcher, the
banker, the drummer and then Makes no difference what group I'm in I am everyday
people, yeah yeah
is a blue one who can't accept the green one For living with a fat one trying to
be a skinny one And different strokes for different folks And so on and so on
and scooby dooby doo-bee Oh sha sha - we got to live together I am no better and
neither are you We are the same whatever we do You love me you hate me you know
me and then You can't figure out the bag l'm in I am everyday people, yeah
is a long hair that doesn't like the short hair For bein' such a rich one that
will not help the poor one And different strokes for different folks And so on
and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee Oh sha sha-we got to live together
is a yellow one that won't accept the black one That won't accept the red one
that won't accept the white one And different strokes for different folks.
Jackson 5 perform "Can You Remember" in 1969 on the Hollywood Palace.
The song is one of their early cuts on their debut album for Motown, "Diana
Ross Presents The Jackson 5."
October 29. The Supreme Court
ruled that racial segregation in schools had to end at once and that unitary
school systems were required.
July 1. Kenneth Gibson became
the first black mayor of an Eastern city in Newark, New
Abernathy and Kenneth Gibson
The Flip Wilson Show, debuted on
NBC in 1970. Flip Wilson played host to many entertainers and performed in
comedy sketches. His characters included Reverend Leroy, pastor of the Church of
What’s Happening Now; and Geraldine, whose line “The devil made me do it”
became a national expression. In its first two seasons, the series hit the
number two spot in overall ratings.
The show aired through 1974, gaining
high ratings and great popularity. Wilson won a Golden Globe award for best
actor in a television series, and the show won eighteen Emmys in the 1972 and
Wilson, Richard Pryor and Buddy Hackett
March 24. The Southern
Regional Council reported that desegregation in Southern schools was the rule,
not the exception. The report also pointed out that the dual school system was
far from dismantled.
" The Hippest
Trip In America" -Soul Train began airing in
selected cities across the United States, on a weekly basis, on October 2,
1971.During the heyday of Soul Train in the 1970s and 1980s, the program was
widely influential among younger black Americans, many of whom turned to it not
only to hear the latest songs by well-known black artists but also for clues
about the latest fashions and dance trends. Moreover, for many white Americans
in that era who were not living in areas that were racially diverse, Soul Train
provided a unique window into black culture.
Don Cornelius, creator, executive
producer and the host introduced the world to "The Soul Train
Dancers" and the "Soul Train Scramble Board", where two dancers
are given sixty seconds to unscramble a set of letters which form the name of
that show's performer or a famous person in African American history.
the program's conclusion, there is also the popular "Soul Train Line",
in which all the dancers form a two lines with space in the middle for
individual dancers to strut down and dance in consecutively. Sometimes, new
dance styles or moves are featured or introduced by particular dancers. Don
cornelius ended every show with this sign off-"...and as always in
parting, we wish you love, peace... and SOUL!"
The 1972 NBC
television program Sanford and Son chronicled the adventures of Fred G. Sanford,
a cantankerous widower living with his grown son, Lamont (played by Demond
Wilson), in the Watts section of Los Angeles,
California. Independent producers, Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin licensed the
format of a British program, Steptoe & Son, which featured the exploits of a
cockney junk dealer, and created Sanford and Son as an American version. Sanford
and Son, The Jeffersons and Good Times, all produced by Lear and Yorkin,
featured mostly black casts--the first such programming to appear since the Amos
'n' Andy show was canceled in a hailstorm debate in 1953.The starring role of
Sanford and Son was portrayed by actor-comedian Redd Foxx. It was Foxx's
enormously funny portrayal of sixty-five year old Fred G. Sanford that quickly
earned Sanford and Son a place among the top-ten watched television programs to
air on NBC television. He was supported by Lamont, his son, and a
multi-racial cast of regular and occasional characters who served as the butt of
Sanford's jokes and insults. the show also dealt with race relations and the
issues of the time. It also the first show to ever explore the issue of
"DWB" (Driving While Black) in a courtroom scene.
May 29. Thomas Bradley was
elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.
October 16. Maynard H.
Jackson was elected the first black mayor of Atlanta
H. Jackson Jr., left, Atlanta's first black mayor, is shown with boxing great
Muhammad Ali, right, and attorney Leroy Johnson in 1970
April 8. Henry Aaron hit his
715th home run to become the all-time leading hitter of home runs.
Roots: The Saga of an American
Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976. It was
adapted into a 12-hour television miniseries. Roots remains one of television's
landmark programs. The twelve-hour mini-series aired on ABC from 23-30 January
1977. For eight consecutive nights it riveted the country. ABC executives
initially feared that the historical saga about slavery would be a ratings
disaster. Instead, Roots scored higher ratings than any previous entertainment
program in history. It averaged a 44.9 rating and a 66 audience share for the
length of its run.
1979 "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang became a Top 40 hit on
the U.S. Billboard pop singles chart.
Television network was launched on January 25, 1980, by its founder, Robert L.
May 18. Racial disturbances
beginning on May 17 resulted in 15 deaths in Miami, Florida. This was the worst
riot since those in Watts and Detroit in the 1960s.
May 23. Lee P. Brown was
named the first black police commissioner of Houston, Texas.
Thriller is the sixth studio album
by American recording artist Michael Jackson and the best-selling album of all
time. The album was released on November 30, 1982 by Epic Records as the
follow-up to Jackson's critically and commercially successful 1979 album Off the
Wall. Thriller explores similar genres to those of Off the Wall, including funk,
disco, soul, soft rock, R&B and pop.
.In 1983, MTV played the music video
Thriller every hour on the hour. Michael Jackson, changed MTV and the world in
which we live. He was the driving force behind what is perhaps the last great
era in pop music .
Unlike many artists who phone in
videos with concert footage or pack them full of scantily clad models, Jackson
used his MTV time to tell stories (as in Thriller and Smooth Criminal), push the
boundaries of special effects (as in Billie Jean), produce full,
Broadway-choreography (as in Beat It). He single-handedly fortified the
fledgling music television channel and turned the music video into an art form.
February 23. Harold
Washington won the Democratic party nomination for mayor of Chicago. On April 12
he would win the election for mayor.
June 22. The state
legislature of Louisiana repealed the last racial classification law in the
United States. The criterion for being classified as black was having 1/32nd
November 2. President
Ronald Reagan signed the bill establishing January 20 a federal holiday in honor
of Martin Luther King, Jr.
August 30. Guion (Guy) S.
Bluford, Jr. was the first black American astronaut to make a space flight on
board the space shuttle Challenger.
Show, starring Bill Cosby,dominated Thursday evenings from 1984 to 1992.
Focusing on the everyday adventures of an upper-middle-class black family,
the series revived a television genre (situation comedy), saved a
beleaguered network (NBC). The Cosby Show premiered on 20 September 1984
and shot to the top of the ratings almost immediately.
January 16. A bronze bust of
Martin Luther King, Jr., was the first of any black American in the halls of
January 20. The first
national Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday was celebrated.
September 8 The Oprah
Winfrey Show, the highest-rated talk show in television history broadcasts
January 31 Doug Williams,
first African-American to start and win a Super Bowl at Quarterback. Williams
engineered a 42-10 rout, in which the Redskins set an NFL record by scoring five
touchdowns in the second quarter. Williams completed 18 of 29 passes for 340
yards, with four TD passes, and was named Super Bowl MVP
1988, Public Enemy released It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, which
focused on politics, corporate control, structural racism and police brutality.
1 General Colin Powell became Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, the
highest military position in the Department of Defense.
Arsenio Hall Show was an Emmy Award winning talk show that aired late weeknights
in syndication from January 2, 1989 to May 27, 1994, and starred comedian/actor
break out in Los Angeles, sparked by the acquittal of four white police officers
caught on videotape beating Rodney King, a black motorist. The riots cause at
least 55 deaths and $1 billion in damage.
Moseley Braun becomes the first African American woman elected to the U.S.
Senate, representing the state of Illinois.
Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American physician and NASA
astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when
she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.
Elders becomes the first African American woman to serve as the U.S. surgeon
16 “Million Man March” advocating "unity, atonement and
brotherhood". The event included efforts to register African
Americans to vote in US Elections and increase black involvement in volunteerism
and community activism.
Million Man March on the Mall, looking towards the U.S. Capitol as seen from the
top of the Smithsonian Castle Building's Clock Tower. Photo by Jim Wallace -Smithsonian
by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the march also drew participants from
other churches, as well as many schools and social organizations. Many of the
participants said they were optimistic that the peaceful day of praying, singing
and speechmaking would lead to more understanding between the races.
September 7, 1996 West rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur was shot to death in a drive by
shooting in Las Vegas. On March 3, 1997 East rapper Christopher Wallace aka
Notorious B.I.G. was shot to death. They both were killed in a feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers. That was a wake
up call to many other rappers that music should be a positive force for people.
today some rappers still demean women and glorify thugs, drug dealers and
Woods becomes the first African American golfer to win the Masters Tournament.
January President-elect George Bush nominates Colin Powell to be Secretary of
State. Condoleezza Rice takes the position of National Security Advisor for the
Bush administration. This is the first time either of these posts is held by an
24. Halle Berry becomes the first African-American woman to receive an Academy
Award for best actress and Denzel Washington becomes only the second
African-American man to win in the best actor category
Change is a national, non-partisan and non-profit organization created to
educate, motivate, and empower the more than 42 million Americans aged 18 to 30
that are eligible to vote --also known as the “forgotten ones.”
by businessman, entertainer, actor, producer and designer Sean “P. Diddy”
Combs, Citizen Change has one mission: to make voting relevant to
a generation that hasn't reached full participation in the political process.
January Condoleezza Rice becomes the Secretary of State. She is the first
African American woman to hold the post.
Dungy became the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl when
his Colts defeated the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007
November 4, Barack Obama, the only sitting African American U.S. Senator, is
elected President of the United States.
H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States sworn in office January
3, 2009 Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. was sworn in as the first African
American Attorney General of the United States.
Charles Frank "Charlie"
Bolden, Jr. (born August 19, 1946 in Columbia, South Carolina, United States) is
the current Administrator of NASA, a retired United States Marine Corps major
general, and former NASA astronaut.
A 1968 graduate of the United
States Naval Academy, he became a Marine Aviator and test pilot. After his
service as an astronaut, he became Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval
Academy. Bolden is the virtual host of the Shuttle Launch Experience attraction
at Kennedy Space Center.
On May 23, 2009, President Barack
Obama announced the nomination of Bolden as NASA Administrator Bolden was
confirmed by the Senate on July 15, 2009. He is the first African American to
head the agency on a permanent basis.
compiled from The British Antarctic Study, NASA, Environment Canada,
UNEP, EPA and other sources as stated and credited Researched by Charles
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