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1492
The New World:  Blacks are among the first explorers to the New World. Pedro Alonzo Nino, identified by some scholars as a black, arrives with Columbus; other blacks accompany Balboa, Ponce de Leon, Pizarro, and Menendez on their travels and explorations.
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1501
Spain:  The Spanish throne officially approves the use of black slaves in the New World.
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1513
Latin America:  Spain authorizes use of black slaves in Cuba. Thirty blacks accompany Balboa when he discovers the Pacific Ocean.
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1526
The first group of blacks to set foot on what is now United States are brought by a Spanish explorer to South Carolina to erect a settlement. However, they soon flee to the interior and settle with the native Americans.
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1538
Arizona/New Mexico:  Estevanico, a black explorer, leads an expedition from Mexico into the territory of the American Southwest and is credited with the discovery of what is now Arizona and New Mexico.
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1547
The first documented enslave African rebellion in Mexico or anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, this was followed by the establishment of various runaway enslave African's settlements called "palenques."
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1562
Hispaniola:  Britain enters the slave trade when John Hawkins sells a cargo of blacks to Spanish planters. Though Queen Elizabeth allows Hawkins to include the figure of a bound black in his coat of arms, she denies that he transports slaves.
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1600
Historical records indicate that by this year, 900,000 slaves have been brought to Latin America.  In the next century, 2,750,000 are added to that total. Slave revolts in the sixteenth century were  reported in Hispaniolo, Puerto Rico, Panama, Cuba, and Mexico.
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1600
In Brazil an area known as Recife, a group of 40 enslave Africans rebelled against their master, killed all the white employees, and burned the plantation house. They headed to the mountains.  Eventually they reached a place, which because of its abundance of palm trees they named  Palmares. In this place an African community was born; a community which lasted nearly a century. In this community the first forms of Capoeira which is a deadly martial art, were  developed.  Their  settlement was estimated to be about 20 000 free Africans strong.
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1618
The English government grants monopolies to a group of companies, established for the purpose of slave trading. sepra.gif (1644 bytes)

1619
The forerunner of slavery in the English colonies begins with the arrival of 20 black indentured servants to Jamestown, Virginia aboard a Dutch vessel. Most indentured servants are released after serving a term, usually seven years, and are allowed to own property and participate in political affairs.
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1608
In Mexico: Spaniards negotiated the establishment of a free black community with Yagna, a runaway rebel enslave African.  Today, that community in Veracruz bears its founder's name.
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1624
Africans are imported as slaves to the Hudson River Valley in New York.

The Dutch [New Amsterdam], who had entered the slave trade in 1621 with the formation of the Dutch West Indies Co., import blacks to serve on Hudson Valley farms. According to Dutch law,  the children of manumitted (freed) slaves are bound to slavery.
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1627-1637
The English Colonies:  Black slaves are imported into Connecticut (1629), Maryland and Massachusetts (1634),  and New York City (1637).
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1630
A law protecting slaves who fleed owners because of ill treatment is enacted in the state  of Massachusetts.

In Brazil:  Many enslave Africans with assistance from Palmares an escape enslave African community in the mountains, left the plantations and fought the Portuguese and Dutch Armies. This fighting continued up until 1644. It is important to point out that the Dutch and Portuguese Armies were formed by very experienced and well-armed soldiers. But the Africans developed a system of fighting called "jungle war" or ambush. Capoeira which is a deadly martial art, was the key element in the unexpected attacks. With fast and tricky movements the African caused considerable damage to the white men.  Capoeira became their weapon, their symbol of freedom.

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1638
The New England slave trade begins with the shipment of Native American slaves to the West Indies, where they are exchanged for Africans and goods.
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1639
In St. Kitts Nevis:  Many enslave Africans rose up in rebellion in what was probably the first enslave African revolt in the Eastern Caribbean.

In Salem, Massachusetts:  New England seamen enter slave trade as Captain William Pierce sails to West Indies and exchanges Indian slaves for blacks.
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1640-1650
The "Western Hemisphere":  Spurred by the increasing use of sugar as a money crop, the slave population of the West Indies multiplies rapidly but growth in mainland English colonies is slow.  The black slave population in Barbados, for example, grows from a few hundred in 1640 to 6,000 in 1645. But by 1649, there are only 300 black slaves in Virginia, and by 1671 only 2,000.
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1640-1699
The English Colonies- Punitive fugitive laws applying to both indentured servants and slaves are enacted in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina, Virginia. The Virginia law, passed in 1642, penalizes people sheltering runaways 20 pounds worth of tobacco for each night of refuge granted. Slaves are branded after a second escape attempt.
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1641
Massachusetts becomes the first colony to legalize slavery adding a modification that forbids capture by "unjust violence."  This provision was subsequently adopted by all of the New England colonies, followed by Connecticut (1650), Virginia (1661), Maryland (1663),  New York and New Jersey (1664), South Carolina (1682), Rhode Island and Pennsylvania (1700), North Carolina (1715), and Georgia (1750).
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1643
New England:   The groundwork is laid for eighteenth and nineteenth century fugitive slave laws in the United States when an inter-colonial agreement of the New England Confederation declares that mere certification by a magistrate is sufficient evidence to convict a runaway slave.
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1645
New England's triangular trade route is established: a Boston ship brings slaves from Africa to the West Indies, where they are traded for sugar, tobacco, and wine; these in turn are sold for manufactured goods on the ship's return to Massachusetts.
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1651
Anthony Johnson, himself a black, imports five servants and thus qualifies to receive a 200 acre land grant along the Puwgoteague River in [North Hampton County] Virginia. Other blacks soon join Johnson and attempt to launch an independent black community. At its high, the settlement has 12 black homesteads with sizeable holding.
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1662
The colony of Virginia passes a law which provides that the status of children-bound or free-will be determined by the condition of the mother.
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1663
First serious slave conspiracy--in Gloucester County, Virginia
involving many black slaves and white indentured servants, is betrayed by a house servant.

Settlers in Maryland pass a law stipulating that all imported blacks are to be given the status of  slaves. Free white women who marry black slaves are to be slaves during the lives of their spouses;  children of the union are also classified as slaves. Ironically, children born of white servant women and blacks are regarded as free by a later law (1681).

First serious enslave African conspiracy in Colonial America, Sept. 13. Servant betrayed plot of White servants and enslave Africans in Gloucester County, Va.
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1664
First law prohibiting marriage between English women and black men enacted in Maryland; the other colonies will pass similar laws.
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1670
In Virginia, voting rights are removed from recently freed slaves and indent- ured servants. All non-Christians imported to the territory, "by shipping," are to be slaves for life, whereas those who enter by land are to serve until the age of 30 if they are adult men and women when their period of servitude commences. sepra.gif (1644 bytes)

1672
A law is enacted in Virginia providing for a bounty on the heads of "Maroons" black fugitives who form communities in the mountains, swamps, and forests of southern colonies. Many Maroon communities attack towns and plantations.
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1688
The first white, organized protest against slavery made by Germantown, Pennsylvania Quakers.
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1700's
After a half century of guerrilla warfare against colonial and European troops, the Maroons of Surinam who were escaped enslaved Africans, signed treaties with the Dutch colonial government in the 1760s, enabling them to live a virtually independent existence. Their population was estimated to be between 25,000 and 47,000 during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
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1708
Slave revolt, Long Island.
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1712
Slave revolt, New York City.

Enslave Africans revolt, New York, April 7. Nine Whites killed. Twenty-one enslave Africans executed.
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1720
First Maroon War in Jamaica. The Maroons were enslaved Africans who escaped from Spanish and British plantations and set up unique and fiercely independent communities in the Mountains  far from the reach of recapture and re-enslavement.  This first Maroon war ended in 1739.
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1730
Enslave African conspiracy discovered in Norfolk and Princess Anne counties, Va.
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1731
Benjamin Banneker, black inventor and scientist, born in Ellicott's Mills, Maryland.
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1733
There was an island-wide revolt that killed many white families of the plantations owners on the island of St. John in the
United States Virgin Islands. The enslaved Africans controlled the island for six months.
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1739
Enslaved Africans revolt, Stono, S.C., Sept 9. Twenty-five Whites killed before the insurrection was put down.
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1741
Series of suspicious fires and reports of enslaved Africans conspiracy led to general hysteria in New York City, March and April.  Thirty-one enslaved Africans and five Whites were executed.
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1750
Crispus Attucks escaped from his owner in Framingham, Massachusetts.
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1760
Jupiter Hammon, a New York slave who was probably the first black poet, published "An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penetential Cries."
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1763
The Berbice enslaved Africans Rebellion breaks out (at the time when Berbice was a separate Dutch colony). It begins on one estate, but soon spreads to others along the Berbice River. The revolt is the result of the cruelty with which the Dutch  plantation owners have been treating the enslaved Africans, and it was led by a an enslaved African named Coffy. The few hundred white settlers were soon overwhelmed, and the uprising was only put down after the arrival of warships and with the help of troops from as far away as Barbados. Coffy committed suicide three months after the beginning of the affair . His followers were hunted  down for another year, before the Dutch authorities were satisfied that the rebellion was crushed.
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1768
The Irish presence in Montserrat dates back to the 1630s, when the first pioneers -- Roman Catholics -- sailed over from St. Kitts because of friction with British Protestant settlers there. The Irish planters brought Enslaved Africans to work their sugar cane fields. Soon the enslaved Africans outnumbered them 3-to-1 and began rebelling. In 1768, the enslaved Africans planned an island-wide attack on St. Patrick's Day, when the planters would be celebrating. Servants were instructed to grab all the weapons they could find inside the Government House while field slaves stormed the building with rocks, farm tools, clubs and homemade swords. But someone leaked the plan, and debate over who's to blame still continues. Local authorities punished the enslaved Africans severely, hanging nine.
Today people mix their annual celebration of shamrocks and green beer with memories of an aborted enslaved  African revolt against Irish planters. The result is a Caribbean amalgam of colonial culture and African pride -- a week long fete with islanders dancing Irish jigs one night, then mocking their one-time  masters the next by cracking whips and masquerading in tall hats like bishops' miters.  "We are celebrating the rise of the African freedom fighters said historian Howard Fergus.
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1770
Crispus Attucks, often called the first martyr of the American Revolution, was the first person killed in the Boston Massacre.

Quakers opened a school for blacks in Philadelphia.
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1773
Massachusetts slaves petition the legislature for freedom.

Phillis Wheatley's book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral , is published, the first book by a black.

Pioneer black church established between 1773-1775 in Silver Bluff, South Carolina.

In Massachusetts enslaved Africans petitioned the legislature for freedom, Jan. 6. There is a record of 8 petitions during The Revolutionary War period.

On the Belize River in Belize, enslaved Africans took over five plantations and killed six white men. There were about fifty armed Africans with sixteen Musquets, Cutlasses, etc.  involved in this rebellion.
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1775
First abolitionist society in U.S. organized in Philadelphia.

Among the black heroes of the Battle of Bunker Hill are Peter Salem and Salem Poor.
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1776
Declaration of Independence adopted on 4 July. A section denouncing the slave trade was deleted.
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1777
Vermont becomes the first American colony to abolish slavery. Other Northern states followed over the next two decades.
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1781
Los Angeles, California, founded by 44 settlers, at least 26 of whom were descendants of Africans.
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1787
Continental Congress excludes slavery from the Northwest Territory.

U.S. Constitution approved with three clauses protecting slavery.
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1791
Haitian Revolution began with the revolt of enslaved Africans in the northern province, Aug 22. An estimated 350,000 people died in this revolution before Haiti was declared a free republic on January 1, 1804. This was the most significant rebellion during the MAAFA.

Benjamin Banneker serves on commission which surveyed the District of Columbia.
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1793
First fugitive slave law enacted.
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1794
Eli Whitney patented cotton gin, making cotton king and increasing the demand for slave labor.
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1797
Sojourner Truth born a slave in Hurley, New York.
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1800
Gabriel Prosser plotted and was betrayed. Storms forced suspension of attack on Richmond, Va., by Prosser and some 1,000  enslaved Africans on Aug. 30. This conspiracy was betrayed by two enslave Africans. Prosser and fifteen of his followers were hanged on Oct 7.

Nat Turner born in Southampton County, Virginia.
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1804
Jean Jacques Dessalines proclaims the independence of Haiti, which becomes the second republic in the Western Hemisphere.

The first of a series of Northern Black Laws is passed by the Ohio legislature. These restricted the rights and movement of free blacks in the North.
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1807
Congress bans the slave trade.
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1810
First insurance company managed by blacks is established in Philadelphia.
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1811
In January of 1811, a powerfull uprising of enslaved Africans took place in the area of New orlean, Lousiana.  On January 8, 1811 over 500 enslaved Africans, led by a laborer named Charles on the Deslonde plantation (some 26miles upriver form New Orleans) downed there tools and grabed a few weapons. They then proceeded to march on the city. Their goal was to capture the city and free all the enslaved Africans in the lower Mississippi valley. As they moved down the river, they pushed back the enslavers and their flunkeys, killing many and burning several plantations. There rallying cries were, "On to New Orleans!" and "freedom or death!" They got to within 10 miles of the city, where they were attacked by U.S. government troops. Casualties well taken on both sides. This was the largest enslaved Africans revolt in the United States.
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1816
300 enslaved Africans and about 20 Indian allies held Fort Blount on Apalachicola Bay, Fla., for several days before it was attacked by U.S. Troops.

On the island of Barbados an enslaved African by the name of Bussa, led a revolt over the British rulers. His bravery and commitment against the evil of slavery is commemorated today with a statue in his honor (which is shown in the picture at the top left side of this page).
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1817
Frederick Douglass born in Tuckahoe, Maryland.
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1820
"Mayflower of Liberia" sailed from New York City to Sierra Leone with 86 blacks.

In May the enslaved Africans of the Belize and Sibun rivers a region in Belize, revolted after very harsh treatment. This revolt was led by two enslaved Africans name Will and Sharper. This revolt lasted for about one month.
 

Missouri Compromise enacted. It prohibited slavery to the north of the southern boundary of Missouri.
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1822
Denmark Vesey plotted and was betrayed. 'House slave' betrayed Denmark Vesey conspiracy, May 30. Vesey conspiracy, one of the most elaborate enslaved African plots on record, involved thousands of Africans in Charleston, S.C., and its vicinity. Authorities arrested 131 Africans and four whites. Thirty-seven blacks were hanged. Vesey and five of his aides were hanged at Blake's Landing, Charleston, S.C., July 2. sepra.gif (1644 bytes)

1823
There was an enslaved African rebellion on the East Coast of the Demerara in the country of Guyana.
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1827
Freedom's Journal , the first black newspaper, is published in New York City.

Slavery abolished in New York State.
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1829
After a race riot in Cincinnati, more than 1,000 blacks left the city for Canada.

Walker's Appeal , a radical antislavery pamphlet, is published in Boston by David Walker.
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1830
The first national black convention meets in Philadelphia, with 38 delegates from 8 states.
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1831
William Lloyd Garrison publishes the first issue of the abolitionist journal, the Liberator .

The Nat Turner Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, August 21-22. Some 60 whites were killed. Turner eluded capture for nearly two months, but was eventually caught and hanged in Jerusalem, Va., Nov. 11.
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1833
American Anti-Slavery Society organized.
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1834
Slavery abolished in the British Empire.
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1835
In Brazil, 1835 was the year of the famous Male revolt. Many enslaved Africans were returned to Africa after this revolt. There was an estimated 25 rebellions in Brazil during the nineteen century which eventually culminated with the abolition of slavery in 1888.
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1837
Weekly Advocate changed its name to the Colored American , the second major black newspaper. Some 40 black newspapers were published before the Civil War.
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1838
Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Sept. 3.
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1839
Amistad mutiny led by Joseph Cinquez, were captured. After trial in Conn., returned to Africa. [For additional information click here: AMISTAD]
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1841
Enslave Africans revolted on the slave trader 'Creole' which was en route from Hampton, Va., to New Orleans, La., Nov 7. The enslaved Africans overpowered crew and sailed vessel to Bahamas where they were granted asylum and freedom.
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1843
Sojourner Truth leaves New York and begins her career as an anti-slavery activist.
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1845
Macon B. Allen becomes the first black lawyer admitted to the bar (in Massachusetts).

1845
Frederick Douglass publishes Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
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1847
Frederick Douglass publishes the first issue of his newspaper, the North Star.
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1848
Ellen Craft impersonated an enslaver holder, William Craft acted as her servant in one of the most dramatic enslaved Africans escapes--this one from slavery in Georgia, Dec 26.
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1849
Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in Maryland.  She returned to the South 19 times and brought out more than 300 slaves.
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1850
Fugitive Slave Act passed by Congress.
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1851
African and white abolitionist crashed into a courtroom in Boston and rescued a fugitive enslaved African, Feb 15.

Africans dispersed a group of slave catchers Sept 11 in Christiana, Pa., conflict. One White man was killed, another wounded.
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1853
William Wells Brown publishes Clotel , the first novel by a black American.
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1854
The Kansas-Nebraska Act repeals the Missouri Compromise and opens Northern territory to slavery.
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1856
Booker T. Washington born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia.
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1857
Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court opens Northern territory to slavery and denies citizenship to American blacks.
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1858
William Wells Brown publishes The Escape , the first play by an American black.
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1859
Five Africans with 13 Whites with John Brown attacked Harpers Ferry, Va., Oct 16-17. Two Africans were killed, 2 captured and hanged with John Brown, one escaped. John Copeland and Shields Green hanged at Charlestown, Va., Dec 16.

The last slave ship, the Clothilde , lands shipment of slaves at Mobile Bay, Alabama.
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1860
Abraham Lincoln is elected president.

South Carolina declares itself an "independent commonwealth."
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1862
Congress abolishes slavery in Washington.
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1863
Emancipation Proclamation frees slaves in rebel states, with exceptions in sections of Louisiana, West Virginia, and Virginia. The Proclamation does not apply to slaves in Border States.
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1865
Thirteenth Amendment - Abolishes Slavery. The black man is free.
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1867
Fourteenth Amendment - Bill of Rights extended to individuals, thus preventing states from depriving individuals of federally guaranteed rights. The black man is a citizen.
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1870
Fifteenth Amendment - Guarantees the right to vote to all men of all races (women do not get the vote until 1920). The black man may vote.
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1875
Civil Rights Bill - Blacks have the right to equal treatment in inns, public transportation, etc.
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1870-95
Many blacks gain elective office, but at the same time there are outbreaks of violence against blacks in the South.
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1882-96
More than 1200 reported lynchings of blacks.
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1883
Supreme Court declares the Civil Rights Bill of 1875 unconstitutional.
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1895
Frederick Douglass dies.

Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Exposition Speech.
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1896
Supreme Court's decision in Plessy vs. Ferguson  upholds the doctrine of "separate but equal," thus initiating the age of Jim Crow.
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1896-1906
800 reported lynchings of blacks.
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1898
Spanish-American War. Sixteen regiments of black volunteers recruited in the course of the war. U. S. gains the Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands.
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1900
James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson compose "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing."
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1903
W. E. B. Du Bois publishes The Souls of Black Folk .
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1905
The Niagara Movement, led by Du Bois, demands abolition of all distinctions based on race.
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1906
Race riots in Atlanta and Philadelphia.
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1909
NAACP founded on 12 February, the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.
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1910
Du Bois publishes the first issue of The Crisis.
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1911
The National Urban League formed.
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1912
First published blues composition, W. C. Handy's Memphis Blues.
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1913
Harriet Tubman dies Woodrow Wilson's administration begins segregating blacks and whites in government departments.
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1915
Booker T. Washington dies.

Ku Klux Klan receives a charter from the Fulton County, Georgia, Superior Court. The organization spreads quickly, reaching its height in the 1920s, when it had an estimated 4 million members.

Great Migration begins. Approximately 2 million Southern blacks move to northern industrial centers during the following decades.
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1917
United States enters World War I.

Major race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois.

More than 10,000 blacks march down Fifth Avenue in New York City in a silent parade to protest lynchings and racial indignities.

Race riots in Houston lead to the hanging of 13 black soldiers.
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1918
World War I ends. Official records indicate that 370,000 black soldiers and 1400 black commissioned officers participated, more than half of them in the European Theater. Three black regiments, the 369th, 371st, and 272nd--receive the Croix de Guerre for valor. The 369th was the first American regiment to reach the Rhine.
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1919
Du Bois organizes the first Pan-African conference in Paris.

Race riots in Charleston, Washington, Chicago, Arkansas, and Texas. A total of 26 riots during the "Red Summer" of 1919.

Madame C. J. Walker dies.
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1920
Marcus Garvey launches the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Harlem. Garvey addresses 25,000 blacks in Madison Square Garden. Garvey establishes the first mass movement for blacks in the U. S.
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1921
Harlem Renaissance
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1923
Martial law declared in Oklahoma as a result of activities by the Klan.
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1925
Malcolm Little (later Malcolm X) born on 19 May in Omaha, Nebraska.

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters organized; A. Philip Randolph elected president.

Louis Armstrong records the first of Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings that influenced the direction of jazz.

40,000 Ku Klux Klan members parade in Washington
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1926
Carter G. Woodson organizes the first Negro History Week celebration in the second week of February to include the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and the generally accepted birthday of Frederick Douglass.
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1927
Duke Ellington opens at the Cotton Club in Harlem.
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1929
Martin Luther King, Jr., born on 15 January in Atlanta.

The stock market crashes on 19 October, beginning the Great Depression. By 1937, 26% of black males were unemployed.
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1931
First Scottsboro trial begins in Scottsboro, Alabama on 6 April. Nine black youths were accused of raping two white women on a freight train. The blatant injustice of the case outrages the public throughout the 1930s.
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1935
Joe Louis defeats Primo Carnera at Yankee Stadium.

National Council of Negro Women founded in New York; Mary McLeod Bethune, President.
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1936
Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Olympics in Berlin.
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1937
Joe Louis becomes heavyweight boxing champion.

Bessie Smith dies.
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1938
James Weldon Johnson dies.
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1939
Marian Anderson performs before 75,000 at the Lincoln Monument. Her concert is scheduled in protest of the decision made by the Daughters of the American Revolution to forbid, for reasons of race, Ms. Anderson to sing in Constitution Hall.
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1940
Richard Wright publishes Native Son.

Marcus Garvey dies in London.

President Roosevelt issues a statement that segregation is the policy in the U. S. armed forces.
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1941
United States enters World War II.

President Roosevelt, responding to pressure from black leaders, issues an Executive Order forbidding racial and religious discrimination in war industries, governmental training programs, and governmental industries.

Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton dies.

First U. S. Army flying school for black cadets dedicated at Tuskegee.

The first of many serious racial incidents between black and white soldiers and black soldiers and white civilians; these continue throughout the war.
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1942
John H. Johnson publishes the first issue of Negro Digest.

Congress of Race Equality (CORE) organized in Chicago.  It advocates direct, nonviolent action. The National CORE is organized in 1943.
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1943
Race riots in Detroit, Harlem, and elsewhere.

Thomas W. "Fats" Waller dies.
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1944
United Negro College Fund incorporates.

Adam Clayton Powell is elected to Congress.
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1945
President Roosevelt dies.

United Nations founded.

Germany surrenders on 8 May, V-E Day.

Japan surrenders on 2 September, V-J Day, ending World War II. Total of 1,154,720 black Americans were inducted or drafted into the armed services during the war.

White students in various metropolitan areas protest integration in the schools.

Brooklyn Dodgers sign Jackie Robinson.

John H. Johnson publishes the first issue of Ebony.
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1946
Supreme Court bans segregation in interstate bus travel.
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1947
Widespread violence against blacks, especially returning soldiers.

CORE sends 23 black and white Freedom Riders through the South to test compliance with court orders.
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1948
President Truman issues an Executive Order directing  equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed forces.
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1950
Gwendolyn Brooks receives Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Ralph Bunche receives Nobel Prize for his successful mediation of the Palestine conflict.
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1951
John H. Johnson founds Jet magazine.
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1952
University of Tennessee admits first black student.
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1953
The movement of black families into Trumbull Park  housing project in Chicago triggers virtually continuous riot lasting more than three years.
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1954
Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown vs. Board of Education declares segregation in public schools unconstitutional.  "Separate is not equal."

School integration begins in Washington and Baltimore.

Defense Department announces elimination of all segregated regiments in the armed forces.
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1955
Marian Anderson debuts at the Metropolitan Opera House, the first black singer in the company's history.

Supreme Court orders school integration "with all deliberate speed."

Emmet Till, aged 14, kidnapped and lynched in Money, Mississippi on 28 August for talking to a white woman.

Rosa Parks arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery bus, on 1 December.

The historic bus boycott in Montgomery begins on 5 December. Martin Luther King, Jr., is elected president of the boycott organization.
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1956
Home of Martin Luther King, Jr., is bombed on 30 January.

First black student admitted to the University of Alabama on 3 February. She was suspended after a riot on 7 February and expelled on 29 February.

Nat King Cole attacked on stage in Birmingham by white supremacists.

Bus Boycott begins in Tallahassee.

Federal court rules that racial segregation on Montgomery city buses violates the Constitution. Supreme Court upholds the decision several months later.
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1957
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) organized; Martin Luther King, Jr., president.

Prayer Pilgrimage, the biggest civil rights demonstration to date, held in Washington.

Civil Rights Act of 1957 passes Congress, giving the Justice Department the authority to seek injunctions against voting rights infractions.

President Eisenhower orders federal troops into  Little Rock to prevent interference with integration at Central High School.  Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division escort nine students to the school.
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1958
Members of the NAACP Youth Council begin sitting at lunch counters in Oklahoma City.
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1959
A Raisin in the Sun , the first Broadway play by a black woman, opens.

Prince Edward County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors closes the school system to prevent integration.
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1960
Four students from North Carolina A & T College begin the Sit-In Movement at a Greensboro, North Carolina, five-and-dime store on 1 February. By 10 February, the movement had spread to 15 Southern cities in 5 states.

Student protest marches spread; white police forces and white civilians respond with violence. By March, more than 1,000 are arrested.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized at Shaw University.

President Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 on 6 May.

John F. Kennedy elected President.
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1961
SNCC launches Jail-in movement ("Jail, no Bail.").

Thirteen Freedom Riders take bus trip through the South. On 14 May, the bus is bombed and burned. Robert F. Kennedy sends four hundred federal marshals to Montgomery to keep order.

Hundreds of protesters, including King, are arrested and beaten.
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1962
Rev. Martin Luther King is jailed in Albany, Georgia.

Several black churches are burned.

Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett denies the federally-mandated admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi. Federal marshals eventually escort Meredith to the campus.
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1963
Medgar Evers is assassinated on 12 June.

National Guard troops brought to Boston because of protests against integration.

W. E. B. Du Bois dies on 27 August.

March on Washington, the largest civil rights demonstration in history, draws more than 250,000 people on 28 August.

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham bombed, killing four black girls, on 15 September.

More than 225,000 students boycott Chicago schools on 22 October to protest de facto segregation.

John F. Kennedy assassinated on 22 November.
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1964
24th Amendment - eliminates poll tax requirements in federal elections.

Muhammad Ali defeats Sonny Liston on 25 February.

Malcolm X resigns from the Nation of Islam on 12 March.

Civil Rights bill signed by President Johnson on 2 July.

Malcolm X founds the Organization for Afro-American Unity on 28 June.

Race riots in Harlem, Brooklyn, Rochester, Jersey City, Philadelphia.

Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman murdered by Ku Klux Klan terrorists in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Martin Luther King, Jr., receives Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December.
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1965
Dr. Martin L. King begins voter registration drive in Selma. Dr. King and more than 100 others are arrested on 1 February.

Malcolm X assassinated on 21 February.

Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march.

President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Bill on 6 August, authorizing the end of literacy tests for voting.

Riots in Watts and Chicago.

1966
Julian Bond is denied his seat in Georgia House of Representatives because of his opposition to the Vietnam War.

First world festival of black art held in Dakar, Senegal.

Dr. Martin Luter King denounces the Vietnam War.

Stokely Carmichael named chairman of SNCC.

James Meredith wounded by sniper during the Memphis-to-Jackson voter registration march.

Stokely Carmichael launches the Black Power Movement during the same march.

Race riots in Chicago, Lansing, Milwaukee, Dayton, Atlanta and nearly forty other cities.

Huey Newton and Bobby Seale found the Black Panther Party in Oakland.
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1967
Julian Bond is finally seated in the Georgia legislature.

Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., is expelled from the House of Representatives. Harlem voters defy Congress and re-elect Powell.

H. Rap Brown replaces Stokely Carmichael as chair of SNCC.

Thurgood Marshall named to the Supreme Court.

Race riots in Roxbury, Tampa, Cincinnati.

Muhammad Ali convicted for refusing induction into the army; sentenced to five years of prison.

Newark Rebellion, the worst outbreak of racial violence since Watts; riots spread to other New Jersey cities. Riots in numerous cities across the nation. National Guard called out. 75 major riots during the year.
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1968
Kerner Commission Report states that white racism is the fundamental cause of the riots in the cities.

King announces in March plans for Poor People's Campaign in Washington, scheduled for 20 April.

King assassinated in Memphis on 4 April. Riots ensued throughout the country.

Robert F. Kennedy assassinated on 6 June.

Poor People's Campaign, 19 June. Numerous arrests are made and "Resurrection City" is closed on 24 June.

Richard M. Nixon elected President on 5 November.

Updated by K. Ferguson Kelly:  January 27, 2013