Historic Moments For Black Americans

  • Jan 1, 1494

    slaves arrive with christopher columbus

    slaves arrive with christopher columbus
    First Africans arrive in hispaniola
  • Jan 1, 1520

    spanish slavery

    spanish slavery
    Ensalved africans are used as laborers in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico
  • james town, VA

    james town, VA
    Approximately 20 blacks from a Dutch slaver are purchased as indentured workers for the English settlement of Jamestown. These are the first Africans in the English North American colonies.
  • African American child born free

    African American child born free
    The first African American child born free in the English colonies, William Tucker, is baptized in Virginia.
  • Royal African Compnay

    Royal African Compnay
    King Charles II of England charters the Royal African Company, which dominates the slave trade to North America for the next half century. -
  • bacon rebellion

    bacon rebellion
    Nathaniel Bacon leads an unsuccessful rebellion of whites and blacks against the English colonial government in Virginia.
  • The New York City slave revolt

    The New York City slave revolt
    The New York City slave revolt begins on April 6. Nine whites are killed and an unknown number of blacks die in the uprising. Colonial authorities execute 21 slaves and six commit suicide.
  • New York Slave Conspiracy Trials

    New York Slave Conspiracy Trials
    During the New York Slave Conspiracy Trials, New York City officials execute 34 people for planning to burn down the town. Thirteen African American men are burned at the stake and another 17 black men, two white men and two white women are hanged. Seventy blacks and seven whites are permanently expelled from the city.
  • Lucy Terry

    Lucy Terry
    Lucy Terry, a slave, composes Bars Fight, the first known poem by an African American. A description of an Indian raid on Terry's hometown in Massachusetts, the poem will be passed down orally and published in 1855
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    A street fight in boston that occured between a patriot and a group of soldiers. Killing Three people including Crispus Attucks, an african american sailor
    Boston Massacre
  • Phillis Wheatley

    Phillis Wheatley
    Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, written by Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved Bostonian, is published in that city. It is the first book written by an African American woman published in the United States and only the second book in the nation's history authored by a woman to be published.
  • The Free African Union Society

    The Free African Union Society
    The Free African Union Society is created in Newport, Rhode Island. It is the first cultural organization established by blacks in North America.
  • Fugitive Slave Law

    Fugitive Slave Law
    The United States Congress enacts the first Fugitive Slave Law. Providing assistance to fugitive slaves is now a criminal offense.
  • cotton gin

    cotton gin
    Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin in Georgia which he patents on March 13. The development of the cotton gin provides a major boost to the slave-based cotton economy of the South.
  • The Ohio Constitution

    The Ohio Constitution
    The Ohio Constitution outlaws slavery. It also prohibits free blacks from voting.
  • jefferson and the slave trade

    jefferson and the slave trade
    President Jefferson passes a law forbidding americans to participate in the slave trade
  • missouri compromise

    missouri compromise
    The Compromise of 1820 allows Missouri into the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state. It also sets the boundary between slave and free territory in the West at the 36th parallel.
  • Wilmont Proviso

    Wilmont Proviso
    Wilmot introduced legislation in the House that boldly declared, "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist" in lands won in the Mexican-American War.
  • Frederick Douglass attends the first Women's Rights Convention

    Frederick Douglass attends the first Women's Rights Convention
    Frederick Douglass is among the handful of men who attend the first Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York.
  • Harriett escapes

    Harriett escapes
    Harriett Tubman escapes from slavery and begins rescuing enslaved people.
  • Dred Scott Decision

    Dred Scott Decision
    On March 6, the Dred Scott Decision is handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress does not have the right to ban slavery in states
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation takes effect on January 1, legally freeing slaves in areas of the South still in rebellion against the United States.
  • 13th amendment

    13th amendment
    On February 1, 1865, Abraham Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery throughout the United States.
  • Morehouse College is founded

    Morehouse College is founded
    Morehouse College is founded in Atlanta
  • Fifteenth Amendment

    Fifteenth Amendment
    Congress sends the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution to the states for approval. The amendment guarantees African American males the right to vote.
  • KKK Act

    KKK Act
    In February Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1871 popularly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1875

    Civil Rights Act of 1875
    Congress enacts the Civil Rights Act of 1875 on March 1, guaranteeing equal rights to black Americans in public accommodations and jury duty.
  • Tuskegee Institute

    Tuskegee Institute
    On the Fourth of July 25-year-old Booker T. Washington opens Tuskegee Institute in central Alabama.
  • Ida B. Wells begins her anti-lynching campaign

    Ida B. Wells begins her anti-lynching campaign
    In October activist Ida B. Wells begins her anti-lynching campaign with the publication of Southern Horrors: Lynch Law and in All Its Phases and a speech in New York City's Lyric Hall
  • W.E.B. Du Bois first to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University

    W.E.B. Du Bois first to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University
    In June, W.E.B. Du Bois becomes the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University.
  • Booker T. Washington delivers Atlanta Compromise

    Booker T. Washington delivers Atlanta Compromise
    Booker T. Washington delivers his famous Atlanta Compromise address on September 18 at the Atlanta Cotton States Exposition. He says the Negro problem would be solved by a policy of gradualism and accommodation.
  • Plessey v. Ferguson is decided

    Plessey v. Ferguson is decided
    Plessey v. Ferguson is decided on May 18 when the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Southern segregation laws and practices (Jim Crow) do not conflict with the 13th and 14th Amendments. The Court defends its ruling by articulating the separate but equal doctrine.
  • The New Orleans Race Riot

    The New Orleans Race Riot
    The New Orleans Race Riot (also known as the Robert Charles Riot) erupts on July 23 and lasts four days. Twelve African Americans and seven whites were killed.
  • Louis Armstrong.

    Louis Armstrong.
    Bessie Smith signs with Columbia Records to produce race records. Her recording, "Down-Hearted Blues," becomes the first million-selling record by an African American artist. Two years later she records "St. Louis Blues" with Louis Armstrong.
  • Harlem Race Riot

    Harlem Race Riot
    On March 20, the Harlem Race Riot, a one day riot erupts leaving two people dead.
  • Jackie Robinson

    Jackie Robinson
    On April 10, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers becomes the first African American to play major league baseball in the 20th Century.
  • president of the Montgomery Improvement Association

    president of the Montgomery Improvement Association
    Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the 26 year old pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, is elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association which leads the year-long boycott against the city's racially segregated bus line.
  • Rosa Parks refuses

    Rosa Parks refuses
    Rosa Parks refuses to relinquish her bus seat to a white man on December 1, initiating the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Soon afterwards Dr. Martin Luther King becomes the leader of the Boycott.
  • Malcom X dies

    Malcom X dies
    On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X took to the stage of the Audubon Ballroom, a site often used for civic meetings. His wife, Betty Shabazz, and four children were in the crowd. Malcolm X was 39 when he was gunned down in 1965
  • Martin Luther king JR dies

    Martin Luther king JR dies
    Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
  • The Fourteenth Amendment

    The Fourteenth Amendment
    The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, granting citizenship to any person born or naturalized in the United States.
  • First African American Speaker in a state legislature

    First African American Speaker in a state legislature
    In January Willie Lewis Brown, Jr. becomes the first African American Speaker in a state legislature when he is selected for the post in the California Assembly. Brown holds the Speakership until 1995 when he is elected Mayor of San Francisco.
  • MLK day

    MLK day
    On November 2, President Ronald Reagan signs a bill establishing January 20 as a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The Cosby show

    The Cosby show
    The Cosby Show starring Bill Cosby makes its television debut. The show runs for eight seasons and will become the most successful series in television history featuring a mostly African American cast.
  • Straight Outta Compton

    Straight Outta Compton
    Straight Outta Compton is the debut studio album by California hip-hop group N.W.A., released August 9, 1988 on group member Eazy-E's record label Ruthless Records. Production for the album was handled by Dr. Dre with DJ Yella giving co-production.
  • O.J Simpson Trials

    O.J Simpson Trials
  • East E dies

    East E dies
    During the week of March 20, having already made amends with Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, he drafted a final message to his fans. On March 26, 1995, at approximately 6:35 p.m. PST, Eazy-E died from complications of AIDS, one month after his diagnosis. He was 30 years old.
  • tupac dies

    tupac dies
    Tupac Shakur was leaving a boxing event in Las Vegas when he was shot multiple times. Six days later, he was dead at 25
  • The Notorious B.I.G. dies

    The Notorious B.I.G. dies
    Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G, Biggie, or Biggie Smalls was an American rapper. Murdered at age 24, Wallace is consistently ranked as one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time.
  • Barack Obama is sworn into office

    Barack Obama is sworn into office
    Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20.