Rights for black Americans

  • First Africans Arrive in Virginia

    First Africans Arrive in Virginia
    The first record of African slavery in British colonial America was made in 1619.
  • Stono Rebellion

    Stono Rebellion
    It was the largest slave uprising in the British mainland colonies prior to the American Revolution and one of the earliest known organized rebellions.
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    African Americans in the Revolutionary War

    African Americans, both slaves and free, fought on both sides in the war. Small all-black units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; many slaves were promised freedom for serving. Other slaves escaped to join British forces.
  • Prosser's Rebellion

    Prosser's Rebellion
    The rebellion was first postponed because of the rain. The slaves' owners had suspicion of the uprising. Before it could be carried out, two slaves told their owner, Mosby Sheppard, about the plans. Gabriel, his two brothers, and 23 other slaves were hanged.
  • Nat Turner Rebellion

    Nat Turner Rebellion
    Led by Nat Turner, rebel slaves killed anywhere from 55-65 white people, the highest number of fatalities caused by slave uprisings in the South. The rebellion was put down within a few days, but Turner survived in hiding for several months afterward. As a result, many whites began to fear their slaves, and 56 slaves were executed for being a part of the rebellion.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    It declared that all runaway slaves be brought back to their masters. It was controversial because abolitionists thought they were treated like dogs.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    It is an anti-slavery novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s.
  • Bleeding Kansas

    Bleeding Kansas
    Bleeding Kansas was a proxy war between Northerners and Southerners over the issue of slavery in the United States. At the heart of the conflict was the question of whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free state or slave state.
  • Topeka Constitutional Convention

    Topeka Constitutional Convention
    This convention was the first effort to establish Kansas under a state constitution. It drafted the Topeka Constitution that was approved by Free-State voters in Kansas.This document banned slavery in Kansas.
  • John Brown

    John Brown
    John Brown was a revolutionary abolitionist from the United States, who advocated and practice. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas and made his name in the unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859. He was tried and executed for treason against the state of Virginia, murder, and conspiracy later that year.
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott v. Sandford
    This ruling said that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S. citizens.
  • Emancipation Proclimation

    Emancipation Proclimation
    Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free all the slaves in the Confederate states. Later, a second part was added. This part specifically named ten states where the Emancipation Proclamation would apply. This Proclamation did not apply to the North, nor did it apply to the boarded states that never seceded from the Union.
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    Knights of Labor

    The Knights of Labor was an important labor organization led, most famously, by Terence Powderly. The Knights included both skilled and unskilled workers. Even blacks and women could join. They supported the Chinese Exclusion Act because immigrants would take the jobs of unskilled workers. They aided many strikes and boycotts; however, they ultimately did not succeed because unskilled workers could just be let go. The Knights of Labor died out with the failure at Haymarket Square in 1884.
  • Passage of the 15th Amendment

    Passage of the 15th Amendment
    The 15th Amendment prohibits any state government from denying a person the right to vote based on his/her race.
  • US. v. Reese

    US. v. Reese
    Because white Southerners did not want blacks to vote, the whites would create ways to get around the fifteenth amendment. Now that whites could not prevent blacks from voting based on their race or prior servitude, they created poll taxes, literacy tests, and they used the grandfather clause to keep poor whites voting. U.S. v. Reese was a Supreme Court case that was a response to the needs of black Americans; however, the Supreme Court denied African-Americans this right.
  • Tuskegee University founded

    Tuskegee University founded
    Brooker T. Washington, an ex-slave, founded Tuskegee University so that African Americans could recieve a higher education.
  • Lynchings of African Americans

    Lynchings of African Americans
    This year had the most lynchings of African Americans ever recorded in United States history. Whites lynched blacks in order to scare them away from the voting booths. Whites made examples of blacks who tried to assert their rights. They made examples of those who asserted their rights by lynching them, and then leaving them out for other blacks to see.
  • Ida B. Wells

    Ida B. Wells
    Ida B. Wells wrote a pamphlet called "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases". She protested against the lynching of blacks. Wells believed that blacks were lynched because whites were afraid that they were not as incompetent as whites once believed. Threats on her own life were made, so Ida B. Wells fleed from the South. She then went on to lead an anti-lynching campaign from the North.
  • Plessy v. Furguson

    Plessy v. Furguson
    After a man with only a bit of black blood in him was not allowed to sit in an all white rail car, his case was taken to the Supreme Court. It was ruled that “Separate but equal” is completely constitutional.
  • George Washington Carver

    George Washington Carver
    Carver was a very sucessful African-American scientist, educator, and inventor who helped to undermine the stereotype that blacks were intellectually inferior to whites. He was the head of the agricultural department at Tuskegee Institute. Carver also went on lecture tours of white college campuses where he opened the eyes of young whites to racial injustice.
  • Founding of the NAACP

    Founding of the NAACP
    W.E.B. DuBoise founded the NAACP, the oldest civil rights office. The NAACP fights for rights for African Americans.
  • NWP Suffrage Parade

    NWP Suffrage Parade
    Women's suffragists, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, led a parade on the day of Wilson’s inauguration. Even though they were fighting for the rights of all women, the black women were segregated. They were forced to walk in the back of the line.
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    Harlem Hellfighters

    The Harlem Hellfighters is the nickname for the 369th Infantry Regiment, and it consisted of only African-Americans. This regiment suffered 1500 casualties and took part in Meuse-Argonne, and a few othe battles. It was remained in the front lines of the war longer than any other American unit.
  • American Expeditionary Force

    American Expeditionary Force
    Many black Americans volunteered for the American Expeditionary Force; however, they still remained segregated. Over 350,000 African Americans served for the AEF by the time the war was over.
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    "Back to Africa" Movement

    It encouraged those of African descent to return to the African homelands of their ancestors. Marcus Garvey wanted to to "redeem" Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave it alone.
  • Chicago Race Riot of 1919

    Chicago Race Riot of 1919
    After the war, many African-Americans expected to be treated like heros. This, however, was not the case. Post World War I tensions caused overcrowding and led to the worst of the race riots in the summer of 1919. Dozens died and hundreds were injured. There were 77 lynchings of black Americans in 1919. At least ten of those victims were war veterans.
  • Klu Klux Klan

    Klu Klux Klan
    The Ku Klux Klan was anti-foreign, anti-Catholic, anti-black, anti-Jewish, anti-pacifist, anti-Communist, anti-internationalist, anti-revolutionist, anti-bootlegger, anti-gambling, anti-adultery, and anti-birth control. More simply, it was pro-White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) and anti-everything else. At its peak in the 1920s it claimed 5 million members, mostly from the South. The KKK employed tactics of fear, lynchings, and intimidation.
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    Jazz Music and Black Pride

    Jazz was the music of flappers, and Blacks like W.C. Handy, “Jelly Roll” Morton, and Joseph King Oliver gave birth to its bee-bopping sounds. Black pride spawned such leaders as Langston Hughes of the Harlem Renaissance, and Marcus Garvey, founder of the United Negro Improvement Association.
  • Presidential Election

    Presidential Election
    The transition of the Black vote from the Republican to the Democratic Party.
  • The Treat of a Negro March

    The Treat of a Negro March
    Philip Randolph, leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, threatened a “Negro March to Washington” in 1941 to get better rights and treatment.
  • Fair Employment Practices Commision

    Fair Employment Practices Commision
    The Fair Employment Practices Commission was created to discourage racism and oppression in the workplace.
  • Wartime Migration

    Wartime Migration
    Some 1.6 million blacks left the South for better places, and explosive tensions developed over black housing, employment, and segregation facilities. In 1944, the mechanical cotton picker made the need for muscle nonexistent, so blacks that used to pick cotton could now leave, since they were no longer needed. They left the South and took up residence in urban areas. Such sudden “rubbing of the races” did spark riots and cause tension, like the Detroit race riot of 1943 that killed 25 blacks.
  • NAACP Membership Grows

    NAACP Membership Grows
    Membership to the NAACP passed the half-million mark.
  • Blacks in the Army Still Suffer Racism

    Blacks in the Army Still Suffer Racism
    Blacks in the army still suffered degrading discrimination (i.e. separate blood banks),but they still used the war as a rallying cry against dictators abroad and racism at home—overall gaining power and strength.
  • CORE Founded

    CORE Founded
    The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded in 1942. It is open to "anyone who believes that 'all people are created equal' and is willing to work towards the ultimate goal of true equality throughout the world." CORE played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement for African-Americans.
  • Jackie Robinson

    Jackie Robinson
    He was 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. The example of his character and unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation, which then marked many other aspects of American life, and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Sweatt v. Painter

    Sweatt v. Painter
    The Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision, saying that the separate school failed to qualify as equal, because of quantitative differences in facilities and intangible factors, such as its isolation from most of the future lawyers with whom its graduates would interact.
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
    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.
  • Emmett Till case

    Emmett Till case
    14 year old Till was kidnapped and bruatally beaten, shot, and dumped in a river for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two white men were arrested, but the all-white jury does not convict them for murdering the African- American boy.
  • Rosa Parks

    Rosa Parks
    (Montgomery, Ala.) NAACP member Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the "colored section" of a bus to a white passenger, defying a southern custom of the time. In response to her arrest the Montgomery black community launches a bus boycott, which will last for more than a year, until the buses are desegregated Dec. 21, 1956.
  • SCLC

    SCLC
    Martin Luther King, Charles K. Steele, and Fred L. Shuttlesworth establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, of which King is made the first president. The SCLC becomes a major force in organizing the civil rights movement and bases its principles on nonviolence and civil disobedience.
  • Little Rock Cental Highschool

    Little Rock Cental Highschool
    (Little Rock, Ark.) Formerly all-white Central High School learns that integration is easier said than done. Nine black students are blocked from entering the school on the orders of Governor Orval Faubus. President Eisenhower sends federal troops and the National Guard to intervene on behalf of the students, who become known as the "Little Rock Nine."
  • Greensboro Sit-in at Woolworth's

    Greensboro Sit-in at Woolworth's
    (Greensboro, N.C.) Four black students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Although they are refused service, they are allowed to stay at the counter. The event triggers many similar nonviolent protests throughout the South. Six months later the original four protesters are served lunch at the same Woolworth's counter. Student sit-ins would be effective throughout the Deep South.
  • SNCC

    SNCC
    (Raleigh, N.C.) The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded at Shaw University, providing young blacks with a place in the civil rights movement. The SNCC later grows into a more radical organization, especially under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael (1966–1967).
  • Freedom Riders

    Freedom Riders
    Over the spring and summer, student volunteers begin taking bus trips through the South to test out new laws that prohibit segregation in interstate travel facilities, which includes bus and railway stations. Several of the groups of "freedom riders," as they are called, are attacked by angry mobs along the way. The program, sponsored by The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), involves more than 1,000 volunteers, black and white.
  • James Meredith- University of Mississippi

    James Meredith- University of Mississippi
    James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Violence and riots surrounding the incident cause President Kennedy to send 5,000 federal troops.
  • MLK arrested and "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

    MLK arrested and "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
    Martin Luther King is arrested and jailed during anti-segregation protests in Birmingham, Ala.; he writes his seminal "Letter from Birmingham Jail," arguing that individuals have the moral duty to disobey unjust laws.
  • "Bull" Connor uses hoses and dogs on demonstrators in Birmingham

    "Bull" Connor uses hoses and dogs on demonstrators in Birmingham
    During civil rights protests in Birmingham, Ala., Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor uses fire hoses and police dogs on black demonstrators. These images of brutality, which are televised and published widely, are instrumental in gaining sympathy for the civil rights movement around the world.
  • NAACP field secretary murdered

    NAACP field secretary murdered
    (Jackson, Miss.) Mississippi's NAACP field secretary, 37-year-old Medgar Evers, is murdered outside his home. Byron De La Beckwith is tried twice in 1964, both trials resulting in hung juries. Thirty years later he is convicted for murdering Evers.
  • March on Washington/ "I Have a Dream" speech

    March on Washington/ "I Have a Dream" speech
    (Washington, D.C.) About 200,000 people join the March on Washington. Congregating at the Lincoln Memorial, participants listen as Martin Luther King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bomb explosion

    Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bomb explosion
    (Birmingham, Ala.) Four young girls (Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie Mae Collins) attending Sunday school are killed when a bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a popular location for civil rights meetings. Riots erupt in Birmingham, leading to the deaths of two more black youths.
  • 24th Amendment

    24th Amendment
    The 24th Amendment abolishes the poll tax, which originally had been instituted in 11 southern states after Reconstruction to make it difficult for poor blacks to vote.
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    Freedom Summer

    The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a network of civil rights groups that includes CORE and SNCC, launches a massive effort to register black voters during what becomes known as the Freedom Summer. It also sends delegates to the Democratic National Convention to protest—and attempt to unseat—the official all-white Mississippi contingent.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The law also provides the federal government with the powers to enforce desegregation.
  • 3 Civil-rights workers killed

    3 Civil-rights workers killed
    (Neshoba Country, Miss.) The bodies of three civil-rights workers—two white, one black—are found in an earthen dam, six weeks into a federal investigation backed by President Johnson. Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, had been working to register black voters in MS, and, on June 21, had gone to investigate the burning of a black church. They were arrested by the police on speeding charges, incarcerated for several hours, and then released after dark into the hands of the KKK who murdered them.
  • Malcom X killed

    Malcom X killed
    (Harlem, N.Y.) Malcolm X, black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, is shot to death. It is believed the assailants are members of the Black Muslim faith, which Malcolm had recently abandoned in favor of orthodox Islam.
  • "Bloody Sunday"

    "Bloody Sunday"
    (Selma, Ala.) Blacks begin a march to Montgomery in support of voting rights but are stopped at the Pettus Bridge by a police blockade. Fifty marchers are hospitalized after police use tear gas, whips, and clubs against them. The incident is dubbed "Bloody Sunday" by the media. The march is considered the catalyst for pushing through the voting rights act five months later.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for Southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and other such requirements that were used to restrict black voting are made illegal.
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    Race Riots in Los Angeles

    (Watts, Calif.) Race riots erupt in a black section of Los Angeles.
  • Executive Order 11246

    Executive Order 11246
    Asserting that civil rights laws alone are not enough to remedy discrimination, President Johnson issues Executive Order 11246, which enforces affirmative action for the first time. It requires government contractors to "take affirmative action" toward prospective minority employees in all aspects of hiring and employment.
  • Black Panthers Founded

    Black Panthers Founded
    (Oakland, Calif.) The militant Black Panthers are founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.
  • Carmichael Coins the Phrase "Black Power"

    Carmichael Coins the Phrase "Black Power"
    Stokely Carmichael, a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), coins the phrase "black power" in a speech in Seattle. He defines it as an assertion of black pride and "the coming together of black people to fight for their liberation by any means necessary." The term's radicalism alarms many who believe the civil rights movement's effectiveness and moral authority crucially depend on nonviolent civil disobedience.
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    Major race riots in Newark

    Race riots took place in Newark, New Jersey. The six days of rioting, looting, and destruction left 26 dead and hundreds injured.
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    Major Race Riots in Detroit

    Race riots took place in Detroit, Michigan. It was one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in American history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit's 1943 race riot, which occurred 24 years earlier.
  • Thurgood Marshall

    Thurgood Marshall
    Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American to serve on the Surpeme Court. He was nominated for the position by President Johnson in June of 1967.
  • Martin Luther King's Assassination

    Martin Luther King's Assassination
    MLK Jr. was shot as he stood on the balcony outside his hotel room at the age of 39. James Earl Ray was convicted of the crime. This event greatly influenced the decision to put the civil rights movement on hold to focus on the Vietnam war.
  • Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

    Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education
    This was done to ensure the schools would be "properly" integrated and that all students would receive equal educational opportunities regardless of their race. The Court held that busing was an appropriate remedy for the problem of racial imbalance among schools.
  • Milliken v. Bradley

    Milliken v. Bradley
    The Supreme Court ruled that desegregation plans could not require students to move across school-district lines.
  • Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

    Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
    The Supreme Court ruled that Allan Bakke, a white male, had not been admitted into U.C. Davis because the university preferred minority races only and ordered the college to admit Bakke. This was an example of "reverse discrimination."
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991

    Civil Rights Act of 1991
    After two years of debates, vetoes, and threatened vetoes, President Bush revises it and signs the Civil Rights Act of 1991. This strengthened existing civil rights laws and provided for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.
  • Los Angeles Race Riots (1992)

    Los Angeles Race Riots (1992)
    The first race riots in decades erupt in South-central Los Angeles after a jury acquits four white police officers for the videotaped beating of African American Rodney King.