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American History of the Struggle by Black Americans to Achieve Equality 1862-1962

  • Dred Scott

    Dred Scott
    Scottwas an African-American slave in the United States who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom and that of his wife and their two daughters in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857, popularly known as "the Dred Scott Decision." His case was based on the fact that although he and his wife Harriet Scott were slaves, he had lived with his master Dr. John Emerson in states and territories where slavery was illegal according to both state laws and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
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    Focusing on the political, economic, and social aspects of the struggle by Black Americans to achieve equality.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation

    The Emancipation Proclamation
    The Emancipation Proclamation
    President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."
  • Tubman Helps Free 700 Slaves

    Tubman Helps Free 700 Slaves
    Harriet Tubman
    When the American Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.
  • La Tribune de la Novelle

    La Tribune de la Novelle
    The New Orleans Tribune was the first African American daily newspaper in the United States. Started in 1864 by Charles Louise Roudanez the Tribune was notable in that it was bilingual. Articles were written in both French, for the majority of African Americans in Louisiana, and English, in order to bring the newspapers opinions to the attention of policy makers in Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C.
  • Rebecca Lee Crumple

    Rebecca Lee Crumple
    First African-American Woman to Get a Medical Degree
    Crumpler became a physician at a time when most doctors were white men. She graduated from the New England Medical College in Boston, Massachusetts. She also wrote a book on health care for women and children
  • Frederick Douglas "The Mission of the War"

    Frederick Douglas "The Mission of the War"
    "The Mission of the War"
    On January 13, 1865, Frederick Douglass was invited to deliver a speech before the Women’s Loyal League at the Cooper Institute in New York City. In this address he reminded his audience that slavery was the cause of the war and that its abolition could not be complete until the former slaves had full citizenship rights.
  • Freedmen's Bureau

    Freedmen's Bureau
    The Freedmen's BureauThe Freedmen's Bureau Bill, which created the Freedmen's Bureau, was initiated by President Abraham Lincoln and was intended to last for one year after the end of the Civil War. It was passed on March 3, 1865, by Congress to aid former slaves through legal food and housing, oversight, education, health care, and employment contracts with private landowners. It became a key agency during Reconstruction, assisting freedmen the South.
  • 13th Amendment

    13th Amendment
    13th AmendmentThirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On December 18, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed it to have been adopted. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted after the American Civil War.
  • Black Codes

    Black Codes
    laws in the United States after the Civil War with the effect of limiting the basic human rights and civil liberties of blacks. Even though the U.S. constitution originally discriminated against blacks (as "other people"[1]) and both Northern and Southern states had passed discriminatory legislation from the early 19th century, the term Black Codes is used most often to refer to legislation passed by Southern states at the end of the Civil War to control the labor, migration and other activities
  • Reconstruction Acts

    Reconstruction Acts
    Reconstruction ActsBecause blacks were still not allowed to vote and run for office, the Reconstruction Act of 1867-1868 stated that all blacks could participate in every political decision required for making the new Southern State Constitutions. This act was very important because it meant that the whites were not going to have all the power to make political decisions. No matter what race people were, the government signed everyone up to vote for all elections and decisions in the south.
  • 14th Amendment

    14th Amendment
    14th AmendmentIts Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling by the Supreme Court (1857) that held that blacks could not be citizens of the United States. Its Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. This clause was the basis for Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court decision which precipitated the dismantling of racial segregation in the US.
  • 15th Amendment

    15th Amendment
    The 15th Amendment
    The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century.
  • Exodus of 1879

    Exodus of 1879
    Black Exodus
    he Exodus of 1879 refers to the mass movement of African Americans from states along the Mississippi River to Kansas in the late nineteenth century,and was the first general migration of blacks following the Civil War. This sudden wave of migration came as a great surprise to many white Americans, who did not realize that black southerners were free in name only.
  • Tuskegee University

    Tuskegee University
    Official Website
    A freed man, Washington sought a formal education and worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute and attended college at Wayland Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He returned to Hampton as a teacher. Hired at Tuskegee, the new normal school (for the training of teachers) opened on July 4, 1881 in space borrowed from a church.
  • Bessie Coleman

    Bessie Coleman
    She was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent[1] and the first person of African American descent to hold an international pilot license.
  • William Grant Still

    William Grant Still
    First African-American Conductor of a Symphony Orchestra
    Still was the leader of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also the first African-American composer to have his music performed by a major orchestra, and wrote the theme songs for the TV shows "Perry Mason" and "Gunsmoke."
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson
    Plessy v. Ferguson
    a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of "separate but equal."
  • Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.

    Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.
    O., Davis
    First African-American U.S. Army General
    After Davis became a general, he worked to allow black and white troops to serve together in the army. In 1954 his son, Benjamin Davis, Jr. became the first African-American brigadier general in the air force.
  • Washington, Carver & Du Bois

    Washington, Carver & Du Bois
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    As the 19th century came to an end and segregation took ever-stronger hold in the South, many African Americans saw self-improvement — especially through education — as the single greatest opportunity to escape the indignities they suffered. Many blacks looked to Booker T. Washington.
  • Josephine Baker

    Josephine Baker
    Official Website
    Baker was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer. She is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

    Official NAACP Website
    The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909 by a diverse group composed of Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Archibald Grimké, Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, William English Walling (the last son of a former slave-holding family), and Florence Kelley, a social reformer and friend of Du Bois.
  • Matthew Henson

    Matthew Henson
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    First African-American Explorer to Reach the North Pole
    Henson explored with Commodore Robert Peary. He was the first person ever to stand on the North Pole. He planted the U.S. flag there.
  • National Negro Committee

    National Negro Committee
    The National Negro Committee
    This committee was composed of a group of activists, in order to address the social, economic, and political rights of African-Americans. The Committee was the precursor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Marcus Garvey

    Marcus Garvey
    Born in Jamaica, the black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey founded his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) there in 1914; two years later, he brought it to the United States. Garvey appealed to the racial pride of African Americans, exalting blackness as strong and beautiful. As racial prejudice was so ingrained in white civilization, Garvey claimed, it was futile for blacks to appeal to whites' sense of justice and democratic principles.
  • Jackie Robinson

    Jackie Robinson
    Offical Website
    He was an American Baseball Player who became the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. As the first black man to play in the major leagues since the 1880s, he was instrumental in bringing an end to racial segregation in professional baseball, which had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades.
  • Harlem Renaissance

    Harlem Renaissance
    The RenaissanceThe Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke. Though it was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, many French-speaking black writers from African and Caribbean colonies who lived in Paris were also influenced by the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Martin Luther King Jr.

    Martin Luther King Jr.
    Biographyan American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. King has become a national icon in the history of modern American liberalism.
  • African Americans in WWII

    African Americans in WWII
    African Americans in WWII
    During World War II, many African Americans were ready to fight for what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the "Four Freedoms"– freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear–even while they themselves lacked those freedoms at home. More than 3 million blacks would register for service during the war, with some 500,000 seeing action overseas.
  • Jimi Hendrix

    Jimi Hendrix
    Jimi Hendrix Offical Website
    Widely recognized as one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix pioneered the explosive possibilities of the electric guitar. Hendrix's innovative style of combining fuzz, feedback and controlled distortion created a new musical form.
  • Ralph Bunche

    Ralph Bunche
    First African American to Win the Nobel Peace Prize
    In 1950, Bunche was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for negotiating the truce that ended the first Arab-Israeli war. Bunche was also the first African American to have a high-level job in the U.S. State Department, and the first to earn a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
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    This was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which allowed state-sponsored segregation.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    Brown v. Board of Education
    was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which allowed state-sponsored segregation. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."
  • Rosa Parks Montgommery Bus Boycott

    Rosa Parks Montgommery Bus Boycott
    Rosa Parks.
    Parks was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called "the first lady of civil rights", and "the mother of the freedom movement". On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger.
  • Southern Christian Leadership Conference

    Southern Christian Leadership Conference
    The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC was closely associated with its first president, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The SCLC had a large role in the American Civil Rights Movement.
  • Sit-in movement and founding of SNCC

    Sit-in movement and founding of SNCC
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    On February 1, 1960, four black students from the Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina, sat down at the lunch counter in a local branch of Woolworth's and ordered coffee. Refused service due to the counter's whites-only policy, they stayed put until the store closed, then returned the next day with other students. Heavily covered by the news media, the Greensboro sit-ins sparked a movement that spread quickly to college towns throughout the South and into the North.
  • CORE and Freedom Rides

    CORE and Freedom Rides
    Freedom Ride
    Founded in 1942 by the civil rights leader James Farmer, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) sought to end discrimination and improve race relations through direct action. In its early years, CORE staged a sit-in at a Chicago coffee shop (a precursor to the successful sit-in movement of 1960) and organized a "Journey of Reconciliation," in which a group of blacks and whites rode together on a bus through the upper South in 1947.
  • Integration of Ole Miss

    Integration of Ole Miss
    By the end of the 1950s, African Americans had begun to be admitted in small numbers to white colleges and universities in the South without too much incident. In 1962, however, a crisis erupted when the state-funded University of Mississippi (known as "Ole Miss") admitted a black man, James Meredith.