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Historic Moments for Black Americans

  • First enslaved African Americans arrive in America

    First enslaved African Americans arrive in America
    The first enslaved Africans arrive in what is now Connecticut.
  • Invention of the Cotton Gin

    Invention of the Cotton Gin
    Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin causes a massive use of slave labor in the south, and increases the demand for slaves that would prolong slavery in the south.
  • Fugitive Slave Law

    Fugitive Slave Law
    A Fugitive Slave law is enacted, providing for the return of escaped slaves who had crossed states into the North. Helped to escalate the demand for slavery and the importance of slaves to the Southern states.
  • Congress Bans Importation of Slaves from Africa

    Congress Bans Importation of Slaves from Africa
    Slaves were no longer able to be shipped to America from Africa. This did not stop slavery however, as slaves already in the US could self-sustain and their children would become slaves.
  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    The Missouri Compromise of 1820 admitted Missouri as a slave state into the Union, but then also admitted Maine as a free state. The compromise also drew a line across the former Louisiana territory -- banning slavery from all new states to the north, and keeping it in all new states to the south. This compromise increased tensions between pro and anti slavery states that eventually resulted in the Civil war.
  • The Liberator

    The Liberator
    William Lloyd Garrison begins to publish the Liberator, an extremely well known newspaper advocating the complete abolition of slavery. Garrison runs the paper for 35 years, making him one of the most famous figures in the abolotionist movement.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion

    Nat Turner's Rebellion
    Nat Turner leads the most significant slave rebellion in US history in Southampton county, Virginia. Nat Turner and other rebelling slaves killed 55-65 people before being stopped by the militia. This revolt led to stricter slave laws in the country.
  • Wilmot Proviso

    Wilmot Proviso
    Attempted to ban slavery in territiories acquired from Mexico in the Mexican Cession. The proviso was blocked by a heavy southern congress, but continued to inflame the debate oer slavery that would eventually lead to the civil war.
  • Compromise of 1850

    Compromise of 1850
    This compromise entered California to the Union as a free state, and left the new teritories of Utah and New Mexico to be decided slave, or free, through popular sovereignty. In addition, the slave trade was banned in the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) appealing to abolitionists. However a stricter Fugitive Slave Act was also implemented -- resulting in the capture of more free slaves and increasing the fight against slavery for the abolitionists.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best selling novel of the 19th century, and one of the most impactful novels of all time. The novel illustrates the brutal reality of slavery during the 1850's, and greatly increased support for anti-slavery movements during the time; laying the groundwork to the civil war.
  • Kansas - Nebraska Act

    Kansas - Nebraska Act
    Passed in 1854, the Kansas - Nebraska act mandated popular sovereignty to decide slavery in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. This overturned the Missouri compromise and the use of geographical lines to decide whether a new state was free or slave. The conflicts that arose between pro and anti slavery settlers as a result led to a period of time known as Bleeding Kansas -- a series of bloody debates over whether the territory of Kansas would be a slave or free state.
  • Dred Scott Case

    Dred Scott Case
    In the Supreme Court case: Dred Scott v. Sanford, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney held that congress does not have the right to ban slavery in states, and that slaves were not citizens of the US in the first place. This was a very controversial ruling, and continued the divisions over slavery that led to Abraham Lincoln's election and the Civil War.
  • John Bown's Raid on Harpers Ferry

    John Bown's Raid on Harpers Ferry
    White abolitionist John Brown and 20 followers attempt to start an armed slave revolt by capturing a US arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. John Brown and his party were stopped just two days after the raid began by Robert E. Lee and the US Marines.
  • The Confederacy

    The Confederacy
    The Confederacy is founded when 11 southern states seceed from the Union, and the Civil War begins -- lasting 4 years.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    Executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil war, declaring that all slaves in the Confederate states were free. However, these slaves did not get their freedom immediately as they were still under Confederate control.
  • Freedmen's Bureau Created

    Freedmen's Bureau Created
    This oversaw the transition of African Americans from slavery to freedom.
  • 13th Amendment

    Abolished slavery.
  • 14th Amendment

    Made freed slaves United States citizens.
  • 15th Amendment

    Granted African American men the right to vote
  • Hiram Revels

    Hiram Revels
    Hiram Revels elected to be the first African- American Senator in US.
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    Jim Crow Laws

    The Jim Crow Laws enforced racial segregation in the time period after the end of reconstruction from 1877 to 1950
  • Black Exodus

    Black Exodus
    The “Black Exodus” takes place, when tens of thousands black Americans migrated from the southern states into Kansas.
  • Tuskegee Institute

    Tuskegee Institute
    Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama as a trade school for African Americans in the South.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson
    An extremely important court case in which the Supreme Court held that racial segregation was constitutional, making way for the Jim Crow laws of the South.
  • NAACP Founded

    NAACP Founded
    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People founded as an extent to the Niagara movement of 1905. Led by W.E.B. DuBois, the organization fights against socail and racial inequality.
  • Harlem Renaissance

    Harlem Renaissance
    The Harlem Renaissance was a literary, social, and artistic movement that aimed to give blacks a new cultural identity. People such as Louis Armstrong and Langston Hughes were artists at the foundation of the Harlem Renaissance.
  • WPA Created

    WPA Created
    Helped to give numerous African Americans temporary jobs with its public works projects throughout the country.
  • Congress of Indrustrial Organizations

    Congress of  Indrustrial Organizations
    Establshed in the 1935, the CIO helped organize large numbers of black workers into labor unions for the first time. By 1940, there were over 200,000 African Americans in the CIO.
  • Jackie Robinson

    Jackie Robinson
    Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball's color barrier when he becomes the leagues first African American player. Robinson was signed by Branch Rickey, and played for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • Dixiecrats

    The Dixiecrat party was formed during the presidential election of 1948 as Southern segregationalists broke away from Truman and the Democratic party after Truman started supporting civil rights. The Dixiecrats favored white supremacy and nominated governor Strom Thurmond of South Carlina for their candidate in the election. The Dixiecrats eventual loss caused them to disban after the 1948 election, however the short-lived party began the eventual end to massive Democratic support from the South
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas
    Declared racial segregation in schools to be unconstitutional.
  • Rosa Parks

    Rosa Parks
    Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the back of a bus to a white man. Montgomery's black community launch a successful year-long bus boycott. Montgomery's buses are desegregated on Dec. 21, 1956.
  • Woolworth's Sit In

    Woolworth's Sit In
    4 black students in Greensboro, NC sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Become know s the "Greensboro Four." Six months later they are served at the same lunch counter.
  • Martin LutherKng Jr. Arrested

    Martin LutherKng Jr. Arrested
    King is arrested for anti-segregation protestsin Birmingham, Alabama.
  • March on Washigton

    March on Washigton
    The March on Washington is ateed by over 250,000 people. Martin Lther King Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • President Johson Signs the Civil Rights Act

    President Johson Signs the Civil Rights Act
  • MLK Wins Nobel Peace Prze

    MLK Wins Nobel Peace Prze
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    Makes it easier for Southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes and other restrictions on black voting are made illegal.
  • Black Panthers

    Black Panthers
    The Black Panthers, a revolutionary black nationalist and socialist organization, is founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.
  • Race Riots

    Race Riots
    Major race riots take place in Newark and Detroit, resulting in many deaths and violence.
  • Thurgood Marshall Elected to the Supreme Court

    Thurgood Marshall Elected to the Supreme Court
    President Johnson appoints Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court, making him the first black Justice.