February is Black
History Month in The United States - an annual celebration that has existed
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 same.
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.
Co. 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.
Howard 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.
New York African Free School
The African Free School of New York City was opened.
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 Northwest Ordinance.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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,
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
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.
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
Anti-conscription riots started on July 13 and lasted four days, during which
hundreds of black Americans were killed or wounded.
Fifty-Fourth 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
On June 15, Congress passed a bill authorizing equal pay, equipment, arms, and
health care for African-American Union troops.
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
On March 3, Congress established the Freedmen's Bureau to provide health care,
education, and technical assistance to emancipated slaves.
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.
begins. 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
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 laws.
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
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.
Garfield assassinated. President Garfield was shot on July 2; he died on
September 19. Vice President Chester A. Arthur (Republican) succeeded
Garfield as president.
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.
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
Forty-nine black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1882.
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, a courageous and ardent abolitionist and a brilliant
speaker, died on November 26.
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.
Fifty-three black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1883.
elected president. Grover Cleveland (Democrat) was elected president on
Fifty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1884.
Moses "Fleetwood" Walker becomes first African-American player in major
league baseball, signing with the Toledo club in the American Association.
Walker, 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.
Several African-American players were active on the rosters of white minor
league teams during the period.
On June 25, African-American Samuel David Ferguson was ordained a bishop of
the Episcopal church.
Seventy-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1885.
On March 17, 20 black Americans were massacred at Carrollton, Mississippi.
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.
Seventy-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1886.
Seventy 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
Benjamin Harrison (Republican) was elected president on November 6.
Sixty-nine black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1888.
Ninety-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1889.
U.S. population: 62,947,714
Black population: 7,488,676 (11.9%)
On January 25, under the leadership of Timothy Thomas Fortune, the militant
National Afro-American League was founded in Chicago.
African-Americans are 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).
supremacist is elected. Populist "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman was elected
governor of South Carolina. He called his election "a triumph of ... white
Eighty-five black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1890.
One hundred and thirteen black Americans are known to have been lynched in
Cleveland elected president. Grover Cleveland (Democrat) was elected
president on November 8.
One hundred and sixty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in
One hundred and eighteen black Americans are known to have been lynched in
strike. The Pullman Company strike caused a national transportation
crisis. On May 11, African-Americans were hired by the company as
One hundred and thirty-four black Americans are known to have been lynched
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
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 accommodation.
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.
One hundred and thirteen black Americans are known to have been lynched in
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.
The National Association of Colored Women was formed on July 21; Mary Church
Terrell was chosen 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.
The American Negro Academy was established on March 5 to encourage
African-American participation in art, literature and philosophy.
One hundred and twenty-three black Americans are known to have been lynched
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.
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.
insurance 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.
One hundred and one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1898.
protest. The Afro-American Council designated June 4 as a national day
of fasting to protest lynchings and massacres.
Eighty-five black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1899.
U.S. population: 75,994,575
Black population: 8,833,994 (11.6%)
One hundred and six black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1900.
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
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
McKinley 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.
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
Louis Armstrong is born in New Orleans.
One hundred and five black Americans are known to have been lynched in
Eighty-five black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1902.
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.
Seventy-six black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1904.
On July 11-13, African-American intellectuals and activists, led by W. E. B.
Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter, began the Niagara Movement.
Fifty-seven black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1905.
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
Sixty-two black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1906.
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
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.
On November 3, William Howard Taft (Republican) was elected president.
Eighty-nine 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.
Sixty-nine black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1909.
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.
Sixty-seven black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1910.
Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) was elected president on November 5.
Sixty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1912.
The fiftieth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was celebrated
throughout the year.
Harriet Tubman -- former slave, abolitionist, and freedom fighter -- died on
segregation. On April 11, the Wilson administration began
government-wide segregation of work places, rest rooms and lunch rooms.
Fifty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1913.
Fifty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1914.
World War I.
World War I began in Europe.
Washington dies. Renowned African-American spokesman Booker T. Washington
died on November 14.
Fifty-six black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1915.
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
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.
On November 5, the Supreme Court struck down the Louisville, Kentucky
ordinance mandating segregated neighborhoods.
Thirty-six 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 were killed.
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.
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 following areas:
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.
Seventy-six 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 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
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
On November 3, Warren G. Harding (Republican) was elected president.
Fifty-three 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 business district.
Fifty-nine black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1921.
On January 26, a federal anti-lynching bill was killed by a filibuster in
the United States Senate.
Fifty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1922.
President Warren Harding died on August 3; Vice President Calvin Coolidge
succeeded him as president.
Twenty-nine black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1923.
Sixteen 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 League
born. On May 19, in Omaha, Nebraska, civil rights leader Malcolm X was
porters organize. On August 25, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
was organized. A. Philip Randolph was chosen president.
Seventeen black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1925.
Daniel A. P.
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 Blues."
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
Pilots 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)
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 1944).
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.
Col. 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.
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.
Jet 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
Congress passed the Voting Rights Bill of 1957, the first major civil rights
legislation in more than 75 years.
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.
February 1, 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 campaign.
On 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)
The 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
February 1. Sit-ins in
Greensboro, North Carolina, initiated a wave of similar protests throughout
The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was founded in Raleigh, North
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.
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.
Civil rights protests took place in most major urban areas.
The March on Washington was the largest civil rights demonstration ever. Martin
Luther King, Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.
In 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
Malcolm X announced his split from Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam.
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.
Beginning in Harlem, serious racial disturbances occurred in more than six major
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.
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
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
Malcolm X is assassinated in Harlem by members of the Nation of Islam.
11-21. The Watts riots left 34 dead, more than 3,500 arrested, and
property damage of about 225 million dollars.
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 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.
"I 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 Nyota Uhura.
Uhura" comes from the Swahili word uhuru, meaning "freedom",Nyota
means star in the African languages Swahili and Lingala.
Nichelle 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 choice.'"
said it was her duty to stay on the show and be a positive role model.
Nichols went back to work and told Roddenberry she would stay. When
Roddenberry heard what King had said, he cried.
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.
Bobby Seale and Huey Newton Black Panther Party
Original 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 security.
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.
October 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 United States.
Smith 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
"Say 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".
September 17, 1968 "Julia" debuts on NBC. Diahann Carroll became the first
African American woman to have the lead in a hit TV show.
The 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.
Sly and The Family Stone
Sly 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).
"Everyday People".-Sometimes 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
There 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 yeah
There 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
There 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.
The 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 Jersey.
Ralph 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
Flip 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
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
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.
Maynard H. Jackson was elected the first black mayor of Atlanta
Maynard 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.
In 1979 "Rapper's
Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang became a Top 40 hit on the U.S. Billboard pop
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
President Ronald Reagan signed the bill establishing January 20 a federal
holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
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
The first national Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday was celebrated.
The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated talk show in television history
broadcasts nationally .
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
In 1988, Public Enemy released It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,
which focused on politics, corporate control, structural racism and police
October 1 General Colin Powell became Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff,
the highest military position in the Department of Defense.
The 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 Arsenio Hall.
Riots 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.
Carol Moseley Braun becomes the first African American woman elected to the U.S.
Senate, representing the state of Illinois.
Mae 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.
Joycelyn Elders becomes the first African American woman to serve as the U.S.
October 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
The 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
Organized 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.
On 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.
Still today some rappers still demean women and glorify thugs, drug dealers and
Tiger Woods becomes the first African American golfer to win the Masters
In 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
March 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
Citizen 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.”
Founded 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.
In January Condoleezza Rice becomes the Secretary of State. She is the first
African American woman to hold the post.
Tony Dungy became the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl
when his Colts defeated the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007
On November 4, Barack Obama, the only sitting African American U.S. Senator, is
elected President of the United States.
Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States sworn in office
February 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.
Data compiled from The
British Antarctic Study, NASA, Environment Canada, UNEP, EPA and
other sources as stated and credited Researched by Charles
Welch-Updated daily This Website is a project of the The Ozooe Hole