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Yearsort iconEventsSubjectCountryStateEra
1802The Ohio Constitution outlaws slavery. It also prohibits free blacks from voting.  01-011801-1900
1802James Callender claims that Thomas Jefferson has for many years past kept, as his concubine, one of his own slaves, Sally Hemings. His charge is published in the Richmond Recorder that month, and the story is soon picked up by the Federalist press around the country. 01-021801-1900
1803On April 30, Louisiana is purchased from the French. The new territory nearly doubles the size of the United States. 04-301801-1900
1804Lemuel Haynes is the first African American to receive an honorary degree in U.S. history when Middlebury College awards him a Master's Degree at its second commencement.18041801-1900
1804In 1804 the Ohio legislature passes the Ohio Black Codes and in doing so becomes the first non-slaveholding state to place restrictions exclusively on its African American residents.  18041801-1900
1804-1806The Lewis and Clark Expedition explores newly purchased Louisiana and the Pacific Northwest. An African American, York, is prominent in the expedition. 01-011801-1900
1807New Jersey disfranchises black voters. 01-021801-1900
1808The United States government abolishes the importation of enslaved Africans when it enacts the Slave Importation Ban.  The ban, however, is widely ignored. Between 1808 and 1860, approximately 250,000 blacks are illegally imported into the United States. Slave trading within the states (the domestic trade) continues until the end of the Civil War. 01-011801-1900
1809New York recognizes marriage within the African American community. 01-011801-1900
1810Census of 1810, U.S. Population: 7,239,881, Black Population: 1,377,808 (19 percent) including 186,446 free African Americans. 01-011801-1900
1810The U.S. Congress prohibits African Americans from carrying mail for the U.S. Postal Service. 01-021801-1900
1810By 1810, 75 percent of the African Americans in Delaware are free. This is the largest percentage of free blacks in a slave state.18101801-1900
1810The African Insurance Company of Philadephia is the first black-owned insurance company in the United States. 18101801-1900
1811Andry's Rebellion on January 8-11. A slave insurrection led by Charles Deslondes, begins on the Louisiana plantation of Manual Andry. 01-011801-1900
1812Previously independent African American schools become part of the Boston public school system. 01-011801-1900
1812Two African American regiments are formed in New York to fight in the War of 1812. 01-021801-1900
1814Six hundred African American troops are among the U.S. Army of 3,000 led by General Andrew Jackson which defeats British forces at the Battle of New Orleans. The black troops were led by Major Joseph Savary, the highest ranking black officer in the history of the U.S. Army. 01-011801-1900
1815Richard Allen officially creates the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first wholly African American church denomination in the United States. 01-011801-1900
1815Abolitionist Levi Coffin establishes the Underground Railroad in Indiana.  Eventually it will spread across the North with routes originating in the South and stretching to British Canada. 01-021801-1900
1816The American Colonization Society is founded by Bushrod Washington (the nephew of George Washington) and other prominent white Americans who believe enslaved African Americans should be freed and settled in Africa. 01-011801-1900
1817Francis Johnson of Philadelphia becomes the first black bandleader and composer to publish sheet music. In 1837 he becomes the first American to perform before Queen Victoria in England. 18171801-1900
1817-1818Escaped slaves from Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama join the military campaign of the Florida Seminoles to keep their homelands. 01-011801-1900
1818Connecticut disfranchises black voters. 01-011801-1900
1818Thomas Day of North Carolina is considered the first widely known furniture and cabinet maker in the United States. 18181801-1900
1820Census of 1820, U.S. Population: 9,638,452, Black Population: 1,771,656 (18.4 percent) including 233,504 free African Americans. 01-011801-1900
1820The 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. 01-021801-1900
1821New York maintains property qualifications for African American male voters while abolishing the same for white male voters. Missouri disfranchises free black male voters. 01-011801-1900
1821Thomas Jennings of New York City became the first African American to receive a patent from the United States government.  His patent came because he developed a process for dry cleaning clothes. 18211801-1900
1821The African Grove Theater Group, the first black acting company, is founded in New York City. 18211801-1900
1822Denmark Vesey is arrested for planning a slave rebellion in South Carolina. 01-011801-1900
1822Rhode Island disfranchises black voters. 01-021801-1900
1823The African Grove Theater performs The Drama of King Shotaway, the first play written by an African American, Wiliam Henry Brown. 18231801-1900
1827Freedom's Journal begins publication on March 16 in New York City as the first African American owned newspaper in the United States. The editors are John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish. 01-011801-1900
1827Slavery is officially abolished in New York. 01-021801-1900
1828Theodore Sedgewick Wright is the first black graduate of the Princeton Theological Seminary. 18281801-1900
1829More than half of Cincinnati's African American residents are driven out of the city by white mob violence. The Cincinnati riots usher in a more than century-long period of white violence against Northern black urban communities. 01-011801-1900
1829David Walker of Boston publishes An Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World which calls for a slave uprising in the South. 01-021801-1900
1829The Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first permanent order of black Catholic nuns, is founded in Baltimore, Maryland.18291801-1900
1830Census of 1830, U.S. Population: 12,866,020, Black Population: 2,328,842 (18.1 percent) including 319,599 free African Americans. 01-011801-1900
1830African American delegates from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia meet in Philadelphia in the first of a series of National Negro Conventions to devise ways to challenge slavery in the South and racial discrimination in the North. 01-021801-1900
1831North Carolina enacts a statute that bans teaching slaves to read and write. 01-011801-1900
1831Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion in Southampton, Virginia, killing at least 57 whites. 01-021801-1900
1831Alabama makes it illegal for enslaved or free blacks to preach. 01-031801-1900
1831William Lloyd Garrison of Boston founds The Liberator, the first abolitionist newspaper in the United States. 01-041801-1900
1831Jarena Lee's The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee, A Coloured Lady, was the first autobiography by an African American woman. 18311801-1900
1832Oberlin College is founded in Ohio. It admits African American men, black women and white women. By 1860 one third of its students are black. 01-011801-1900
1832The Female Anti-Slavery Society, the first African American women's abolitionist society, is founded in Salem, Massachusetts. 01-021801-1900
1832The Georgia Infirmary, founded by white philanthropists in Savannah, is the first hospital in the United States dedicated to black patient care.18321801-1900
1833The American Anti-Slavery Society is established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 01-011801-1900
1834African Free Schools are incorporated into the New York Public School system. 01-011801-1900
1834Henry Blair of Maryland received a patent from the U.S. government for developing a mechanical corn planter. 01-021801-1900
1834South Carolina bans the teaching of blacks, enslaved or free, in its borders. 01-031801-1900
1834David Ruggles, abolitionist activist, opens the first African American bookstore in the nation, in New York City. 18341801-1900
1836Texas declares its independence from Mexico. In its Constitution as an independent nation, Texas recognizes slavery and makes it difficult for free blacks to remain there. 01-011801-1900
1836-1844The Gag Rule prohibits Congress from considering petitions regarding slavery. 01-011801-1900
1837The Institute for Colored Youth is founded in Southeastern Pennsylvania. It later becomes Cheyney University. 01-011801-1900
1837The Philadelphia Vigilence Committee is organized to help fugitive slaves escape their pursuers.18371801-1900
1838Pennsylvania disfranchises black voters. 01-011801-1900
1839On August 29, American vessels tow the Spanish ship the Amistad and its 53 slaves into New London, Connecticut. Their fate is decided by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. The Amistad on March 9, 1841 when the Court rules them free and they return to Africa. 01-011801-1900
1840Census of 1840, U.S. Population: 17,069,453, Black Population: 2,873,648 (16.1 percent) including 386,293 free African Americans. 01-011801-1900
1842Frederick Douglass leads a successful campaign against Rhode Island's proposed Dorr Constitution which would continue the prohibition on black voting rights. 01-011801-1900
1842The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Prigg v. Pennsylvania that states did not have to offer aid in the hunting or recapture of fugitive slaves within their borders. 18421801-1900
1843Rev. Henry Highland Garnet delivers his controversial "Address to the Slaves" at the National Negro Convention meeting in Buffalo, New York, which calls for a servile insurrection. 01-011801-1900
1843Sojourner Truth and William Wells Brown begin their campaigns against slavery. 01-021801-1900
1844On June 25, the Legislative Committee of the Provisional Government of Oregon enacts the first of a series of black exclusion laws. 06-251801-1900
1845Texas is annexed to the United States. 01-011801-1900
1845Frederick Douglass publishes his autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. 01-021801-1900
1845Macon B. Allen of Worcester, Massachusetts is the first African American admitted to the bar in any state when he is allowed to practice law in Massachusetts. 18451801-1900
1845William Henry Lane (Master Juba) of New York City is the first acclaimed black dance performer. 18451801-1900
1846-1848War with Mexico. 01-011801-1900
1847Frederick Douglass begins publication of The North Star in Rochester, New York. 01-011801-1900
1847Missouri bans the education of free blacks. 01-021801-1900
1847Missouri abolitionists file a lawsuit on behalf of Dred Scott to gain his freedom. The case is eventually decided by the U.S. Supreme Court a decade later. 01-031801-1900
1847David Jones Peck is the first African American graduate of a U.S. medical school. He graduates from Rush Medical College in Chicago. 18471801-1900
1848On February 2 in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico cedes California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah and gives up claim to Texas at conclusion of War in exchange for $20 million. 02-011801-1900
1848On July 19-20, Frederick Douglass is among the handful of men who attend the first Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York. 07-201801-1900
1849The California Gold Rush begins. Eventually four thousand African Americans will migrate to California during this period. 01-011801-1900
1849Harriett Tubman escapes from slavery and begins her efforts to rescue enslaved people. 01-021801-1900
1849On December 4, Benjamin Roberts files a school desegregation lawsuit on behalf of his daughter, Sarah, who is denied admission to a Boston school. The lawsuit is unsuccessful. 01-031801-1900
1850Census of 1850, U.S. Population: 23,191,876, Black Population: 3,638,808 (15.7 percent) including 433,807 free African Americans. 01-011801-1900
1850The Compromise of 1850 revisits the issue of slavery. California enters the Union as a free state, but the territories of New Mexico and Utah are allowed to decide whether they will enter the Union as slave or free states. The 1850 Compromise also allowed passage of a much stricter Fugitive Slave Law. 01-011801-1900
1850On August 27, Lucy Stanton of Cleveland completes the course requirements for Oberlin Collegiate Institute (now Oberlin College) and becomes the first African American woman to graduate from an American college or university. 08-271801-1900
1850The American League of Colored Workers, formed in New York City, is the first African American labor union in the United States. 18501801-1900
1851Sojourner Truth delivers her famous "Aren't I a Woman" speech at the Women's Rights Convention, Akron, Ohio on May 29. 05-291801-1900
1852Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes her novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which becomes a best selling book and a major influence on the Anti-Slavery Movement. 01-011801-1900
1852Martin R. Delany publishes The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States. 01-021801-1900
1852The Jackson Street Hospital in Augusta, Georgia is established as the second medical facility dedicated solely to the care of African American patients. 01-031801-1900
1853Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (the Black Swan) debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and performs before Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace a year later. 01-011801-1900
1853William Wells Brown of Buffalo, New York, becomes the first African American novelist when he publishes Clotel, or the President's Daughter.  The novel is published in England, however and thus he is not considered the first published black novelist in the United States.  01-021801-1900
1854On May 24, Virginia fugitive slave Anthony Burns is captured in Boston and returned to slavery under the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act. Fifty thousand Boston residents watch his transport through the streets of the city in shackles. A Boston church raises $1,500 to purchase his freedom and Burns returns to the city in 1855, a free man. 05-241801-1900
1854On May 30, the Kansas-Nebraska Act is passed by Congress. The Act repeals the Missouri Compromise and permits the admission of Kansas and Nebraska Territories to the Union after their populations decide on slavery. 05-301801-1900
1854The Republican Party is formed in Jackson, Michigan in the summer in opposition to the extension of slavery into the western territories. 06-011801-1900
1854Bleeding Kansas is an outgrowth of the controversy over the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Between 1854 and 1858 armed groups of pro- and anti-slavery factions often funded and sponsored by organizations in the North and South, compete for control of Kansas Territory, initiating waves of violence that killed 55 people. Bleeding Kansas was seen as a preview of the U.S. Civil War. 06-021801-1900
1854On October 13, Ashmun Institute, the first institution of higher learning for young black men, is founded by John Miller Dickey and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson. In 1866 it is renamed Lincoln University (Pa.) after President Abraham Lincoln 10-131801-1900
1854James A. Healy is ordained in France as the first black Jesuit priest. He becomes Bishop of Portland, Maine in 1875, a diocese that includes all of Maine and New Hampshire, and holds that post for 25 years. 10-141801-1900
1855The Massachusetts Legislature outlaws racially segregated schools. 01-011801-1900
1855William C. Nell of Boston publishes The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution, considered the first history of African Americans. 01-021801-1900
1855In November, John Mercer Langston is elected town clerk of Brownhelm Township, Ohio, becoming the first black elected official in the state of Ohio. 11-011801-1900
1855Frederick Douglass is nominated by the Liberty Party of New York for the office of secretary of state. He is the first black candidate in any state to be nominated for a statewide office. 18551801-1900
1856Wilberforce University becomes the first school of higher learning owned and operated by African Americans. It is founded by the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Daniel A. Payne becomes the institution's first president. 01-011801-1900
1857On March 6, the Dred Scott Decision is handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. 03-061801-1900
1858Arkansas enslaves free blacks who refuse to leave the state. 01-011801-1900
1859On October 16, John Brown leads twenty men, including five African Americans (John Copeland, Shields Green, Lewis S. Leary, Dangerfield Newby, and Osborne Anderson), in an unsuccessful attempt to seize the Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) to inspire a servile insurrection. 10-161801-1900
1859Harriett Wilson of Milford, New Hampshire publishes Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, the first novel by an African American woman. 10-171801-1900
1860Census of 1860, U.S. Population: 31,443,321, Black Population: 4,441,830 (14.1 percent) including 488,070 free African Americans. 01-011801-1900
1860On November 6, Abraham Lincoln is elected president. 11-061801-1900
1860On December 20, South Carolina secedes from the Union. 12-201801-1900
1861Congress passes the First Confiscation Act which prevents Confederate slave owners from reenslaving runaways. 01-011801-1900
1861On May 2, black men in New Orleans organize the First Louisiana Native Guard of the Confederate Army. In doing so they create the first and only military unit of black officers and enlisted men to pledge to fight for Southern independence. By February 1862, after New Orleans is occupied by Union forces, the Louisiana Native Guard becomes a military unit in the United States Army.18611801-1900
1861By February, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas secede. They form the Confederate States of America on March 4. After the firing on Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina on April 12, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina secede. 4-121801-1900
1861-1865The Civil War. Approximately 200,000 blacks (most are newly escaped/freed slaves) serve in Union armed forces and over 20,000 are killed in combat. 01-011801-1900
1862The Port Royal (South Carolina) Reconstruction Experiment begins in March. 01-011801-1900
1862On April 16, Congress abolishes slavery in the District of Columbia. 04-161801-1900
1862In May the coastal pilot Robert Smalls escapes Charleston, South Carolina with The Planter, a Confederate vessel and sixteen enslaved people. 05-011801-1900
1862Congress permits the enlistment of African American soldiers in the U.S. Army on July 17. 07-171801-1900
1862With the southern states absent from Congress, the body recognizes Haiti and Liberia, marking the first time diplomatic relations are established with predominately black nations. 07-181801-1900
1862On September 22, President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation and announces that it will go into effect on July 1, 1863 if the states then in rebellion have not by that point returned to the Union. 18621801-1900
1862Educator Mary Jane Patterson is generally recognized as the first African American woman to receive a B.A. degree when she graduated from Oberlin College in 1862.  Lucy Stanton Day Sessions graduated from Oberlin twelve years earlier but was not in a program that awarded official bachelor's degrees. 18621801-1900
1863Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation takes effect on January 1, legally freeing slaves in areas of the South still in rebellion against the United States. 01-011801-1900
1863The New York City draft riots erupt on July 13 and continue for four days, during which at least 100 of the city's residents are killed. This remains the highest death toll in any urban conflict in the 19th or 20th Centuries. 01-021801-1900
1863On July 18, the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, the first officially recognized all-black military unit in the Union army, assaults Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina in an unsuccessful effort to take the fortification. Sergeant William H. Carney becomes the first African American to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery under fire. 07-181801-1900
1863Robert Smalls of Charleston, South Carolina, is the first and only African American to be commissioned a captain in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. 18631801-1900
1863Susie King Taylor of Savannah is the first black Army nurse in U.S. history. 18631801-1900
1864The Fort Pillow Massacre takes place in West Tennessee on April 12. Approximately 300 of the 585 soldiers of the Union garrison at Fort Pillow are killed including many after the Union forces surrender. Only 14 Confederate soldiers die in the battle. 04-121801-1900
1864In June Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler of Boston is the first African American woman to earn a medical degree when she graduates from the New England Female Medical College in Boston. 06-011801-1900
1864On June 15, Congress passed a bill authorizing equal pay, equipment, arms, and health care for African American troops in the Union Army. 06-151801-1900
1864On October 4, La Tribune de la Nouvelle Orleans (the New Orleans Tribune) begins publication. The Tribune is the first black-owned daily newspaper. 10-041801-1900
1865On February 1, 1865, Abraham Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery throughout the United States. 02-011801-1900
1865On March 3, Congress established the Freedmen's Bureau to provide health care, education, and technical assistance to emancipated slaves. Congress also charters the Freedman's Bank to promote savings and thrift among the ex-slaves. 03-031801-1900
1865Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, effectively ending the Civil War. 04-091801-1900
1865On April 15, President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in Washington, D.C. 04-151801-1900
1865On June 19, enslaved African Americans in Texas finally receive news of their emancipation. From that point they commemorate that day as Juneteenth. 06-191801-1900
1865Between September and November, a number of ex-Confederate states pass so called Black Codes. 06-201801-1900
1865The Ku Klux Klan is formed on December 24th in Pulaski, Tennessee by six educated, middle class former Confederate veterans.  The Klan soon adopts terror tactics to thwart the aspirations of the formerly enslaved and their supporters. 12-241801-1900
1865Twenty thousand African American troops are among the 32,000 U.S. soldiers sent to the Rio Grande as a show of force against Emperor Maximilian's French troops occupying Mexico. Some discharged black soldiers join the forces of Mexican resistance leader Benito Juarez. 12-261801-1900
1865John S. Rock is the first African American to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. 18651801-1900
1865Martin R. Delany's appointment as Major by President Abraham Lincoln makes him the highest ranking African American officer during the Civil War. 18651801-1900
1865On January 16, General William T. Sherman issues Special Field Order No. 15 which gives 400,000 acres of abandoned coastal land in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to formerly enslaved people.  This order becomes the basis for subsequent "40 acres and a mule" demands by former slaves and their supporters. 18651801-1900
1865With the approval of the Georgia Legislature on December 6, the 13th Amendment took effect and outlawed slavery throughout the United States and its possessions. 18651801-1900
1866Fisk University is founded in Nashville, Tennessee on January 9. 01-091801-1900
1866On April 9, Congress overrides President Andrew Johnson's veto to enact the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The act confers citizenship upon black Americans and guarantees equal rights with whites. 04-091801-1900
1866On May 1-3, white civilians and police in Memphis, Tennessee kill forty-six African Americans and injure many more, burning ninety houses, twelve schools, and four churches in what will be known as the Memphis Massacre. 05-031801-1900
1866On June 13, Congress approves the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing due process and equal protection under the law to all citizens. The amendment also grants citizenship to African Americans. 06-131801-1900
1866Congress authorizes the creation of four all-black regiments in the United States Army. Two cavalry regiments, the 9th and 10th and two infantry regiments, the 24th and 25th will become the first and only units in which black soldiers can serve until the Spanish American War. They will be known as Buffalo Soldiers. 06-141801-1900
1866Police in New Orleans supporting the Democratic Mayor storm a Republican meeting of blacks and whites on July 30, killing 34 black and 3 white Republicans. Over 150 people are injured in the attack. 07-301801-1900
1867On January 8, overriding President Andrew Johnson's veto, Congress grants the black citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote. Two days later it passes the Territorial Suffrage Act which allows African Americans in the western territories to vote. 01-081801-1900
1867Morehouse College is founded in Atlanta on February 14. 02-141801-1900
1867The Reconstruction Acts are passed by Congress on March 2. Congress divides ten of the eleven ex-Confederate states into military districts. These acts also reorganize post-war Southern governments, disfranchising former high ranking Confederates and enfranchising former slaves in the South. 03-021801-1900
1867On March 2, Howard University is chartered by Congress in Washington, D.C. The institution is named after General Oliver O. Howard who heads the Freedman's Bureau. 03-021801-1900
1868On July 21, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, granting citizenship to any person born or naturalized in the United States. 07-211801-1900
1868Opelousas, Louisiana is the site of the Opelousas Massacre on September 28, in which an estimated 200 to 300 black Americans are killed by whites opposed to Reconstruction and African American voting. 09-281801-1900
1868On November 3, Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant (Republican) is elected president. 11-031801-1900
1868On November 3, John Willis Menard is elected to Congress from Louisiana's Second Congressional District. Menard is the first African American elected to Congress. However, neither he nor his opponent will be seated due to disputed election results. 11-031801-1900
1868Howard University Medical School opens on November 9. It is the first medical school in the United States established for the training of African American doctors. 11-091801-1900
1869On February 26, Congress sends the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution to the states for approval. The amendment guarantees African American males the right to vote. 02-261801-1900
1869On April 6, Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett is appointed minister to Haiti. He is the first black American diplomat and presidential appointee. 04-061801-1900
1869Isaac Myers organizes the Colored National Labor Union in Baltimore. 04-071801-1900
1869George Lewis Ruffin is the first African American to receive a law degree from any institution when he graduates from Harvard Law School. 18691801-1900
1870Census of 1870, U.S. population: 39,818,449, Black population: 4,880,009 (12.7 percent) 01-011801-1900
1870Hiram R. Revels (Republican) of Mississippi takes his seat in the U.S. Senate on February 25. He is the first black United States senator, though he serves only one year, completing the unexpired term of Jefferson Davis. 02-251801-1900
1870The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified on March 30. 03-301801-1900
1870In June Richard T. Greener becomes the first African American undergraduate to graduate from Harvard University. 05-011801-1900
1870The Preparatory High School for Colored Youth opens in Washington, D.C. It is the first public high school for African Americans in the nation. The institution is later named the M Street High School and finally Dunbar High School in honor of Paul Lawrence Dunbar. 18701801-1900
1871In February Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1871 popularly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act. 02-011801-1900
1871On October 6, Fisk University's Jubilee Singers begin their first national tour. The Jubilee Singers become world-famous singers of black spirituals, performing before the Queen of England and the Emperor of Japan. The money they earn finances the construction of Jubilee Hall on the Fisk University campus. 10-061801-1900
1871George Washington, an early black settler in Washington Territory becomes the first African American to found a predominately white town when he establishes Centerville, later Centralia, Washington. 18711801-1900
1872Lt. Governor Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback of Louisiana serves as governor of the state for one month from December 1872 to January 1873. He is the first African American to hold that position. 12-011801-1900
1872Charlotte Ray of Washington, D.C. is the first African American woman and only the third woman admitted to the bar to practice law in the U.S. 18721801-1900
1873The 43rd Congress has seven black members. 01-011801-1900
1873On April 14, the U.S Supreme Court in the Slaughterhouse Cases rules that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment protects national, not state, citizenship. 04-141801-1900
1873Bishop Patrick Healy serves as President of Georgetown University from 1873 to 1881. He is the first African American to preside over a predominately white university. 04-151801-1900
1873On Easter Sunday more than 100 African Americans were killed in northwest Louisiana while defending Republicans in local office against white militia. The incident became known as the Colfax Massacre. Later that year in what would be known as the Coushatta Massacre 30 people including white and black Republican officeholders and their supporters were killed by white militia. 18731801-1900
1874The Freedman's Bank closes after African American depositors and investors lose more than one million dollars. 01-011801-1900
1875Federal troops are sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi in January to protect African Americans attempting to vote and to allow the safe return of the African American sheriff who had been forced to flee the city. 01-011801-1900
1875On February 23rd Jim Crow laws are enacted in Tennessee. Similar statutes had existed in the North before the Civil War. 02-231801-1900
1875Congress enacts the Civil Rights Act of 1875 on March 1, guaranteeing equal rights to black Americans in public accommodations and jury duty. 03-011801-1900
1875Blanche Kelso Bruce (Republican) of Mississippi becomes the first African American to serve a full six year term as senator when he takes his seat in the United States Senate on March 3. 03-031801-1900
1875The 44th Congress has eight black members. 03-041801-1900
1875Jockey Oliver Lewis wins the first Kentucky Derby race. Over the next 27 years fourteen black jockeys would ride the wining horse at the Derby. 18751801-1900
1876Lewis H. Latimer, while working for the Boston patent attorney office of Crosby and Gould, assists Alexander Graham Bell in obtaining a patent for the telephone on March 7. 02-141801-1900
1876In May, Edward Alexander Bouchet receives a Ph.D. from Yale University. He is the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from an American university and only the sixth American to earn a Ph.D. in physics. 05-011801-1900
1876Race riots and other forms of terrorism against black voters in South Carolina over the summer including the infamous Hamburg Massacre where blacks are killed while celebrating the Fourth of July, prompt President Grant to sent federal troops to restore order. 05-021801-1900
1876On October 13 Meharry Medical College is founded in Nashville by the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Church. 10-131801-1900
1876The presidential election of 1876, pitting Samuel Tilden (Democrat) against Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican), is inconclusive when the votes in the Electoral College are disputed. 11-011801-1900
1877The Compromise of 1877 (also known as the Wormley House Compromise because the meeting takes place in a black-owned hotel in Washington, D.C.) is an arrangement worked out in January of that year which effectively ends Reconstruction. Although Democratic Presidential candidate Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, Southern Democratic leaders agree to support Rutherford Hayes's efforts to obtain the disputed electoral votes of Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina in exchange for the withdrawal of the last federal troops from the South and the end of federal efforts to protect the civil rights of African Americans. 01-011801-1900
1877The 45th Congress has three black members. 01-021801-1900
1877On June 15, Henry O. Flipper became the first African American to graduate from West Point. 06-151801-1900
1877In July, 30 African American settlers from Kentucky establish the town of Nicodemus in western Kansas. This is the first of hundreds of all or mostly black towns created in the West. 07-301801-1900
1877George Washington Henderson of the University of Vermont is the first African American elected to Phi Beta Kappy, the oldest humanities honor society in the U.S. 18771801-1900
1877President Rutherford B. Hayes appoints Frederick Douglass as the first black U.S. Marshal. His jurisdication is the District of Columbia. 19771801-1900
1878Marie Selika Williams becomes the first African American woman entertainer to perform at the White House when she presents a musical program to President Rutherford B. Hayes and assembled guests. 01-011801-1900
1879Mary Eliza Mahoney becomes the first African American professional nurse, graduating from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston. 01-011801-1900
1879-1880Approximately six thousand African Americans leave Louisiana and Mississippi counties along the Mississippi River for Kansas in what will be known as the Exodus. Henry Adams and Benjamin "Pap" Singleton were two of the major leaders of the Exodus. 01-011801-1900
1880Census of 1880, U.S. population: 50,155,783, Black population: 6,580,793 (13.1 percent) 01-011801-1900
1880On May 14, Sgt. George Jordan of the Ninth Cavalry, commanding a detachment of Buffalo Soldiers, leads a successful defense of Tularosa, New Mexico Territory, against Apache Indians. 05-141801-1900
1880The U.S. Supreme Court in Strauder v. West Virginia rules that African Americans cannot be excluded from juries solely on the basis of race. 18801801-1900
1881In January the Tennessee State Legislature votes to segregate railroad passenger cars. Tennessee's action is followed by Florida (1887), Mississippi (1888), Texas (1889), Louisiana (1890), Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Georgia (1891), South Carolina (1898), North Carolina (1899), Virginia (1900), Maryland (1904), and Oklahoma (1907). 01-011801-1900
1881Spelman College, the first college for black women in the U.S., is founded on April 11 by Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles. 04-111801-1900
1881On the Fourth of July 25-year-old Booker T. Washington opens Tuskegee Institute in central Alabama. 07-041801-1900
1882The Virginia State Assembly established the first state mental hospital for African Americans and locates it near Petersburg.18821801-1900
1882George Washington Williams's History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880 is considered teh first history of African Americans that met the standards of professionally written history of that era. 18821801-1900
1883The 50th Congress has no black members. Intimidation keeps most black voters from the polls. 01-011801-1900
1883On October 16, U. S. Supreme Court in a decision known as the Civil Rights Cases declares invalid the Civil Rights Act of 1875, stating the Federal Government cannot bar corporations or individuals from discriminating on the basis of race. 10-161801-1900
1883On November 3, white conservatives in Danville, Virginia, seize control of the local racially integrated and popularly elected government, killing four African Americans in the process. 11-031801-1900
1884Judy W. Reed of Washington D.C. becomes the first African American woman to receive a patent. She is granted patent number 305,474 on September 23 for her creation of a dough kneader and roller. 18641801-1900
1884Granville Woods founds the Woods Railway Telegraph Company in Columbus, Ohio. The company manufactured and sold telephone and telegraph equipment. 18841801-1900
1885On June 25, African American Priest Samuel David Ferguson is ordained a bishop of the Episcopal Church at a ceremony at Grace Church, New York City. 06-251801-1900
1886The Knights of Labor, founded and headquartered in Philadelphia, reaches it peak membership of 700,000 with approximately 75,000 African American members. 01-011801-1900
1886The American Federation of Labor is organized on December 8 in Columbus, Ohio. All major unions of the federation excluded black workers. 12-081801-1900
1886Norris Wright Cuney becomes chairman of the Texas Republican Party. He is the first African American to head a major political party at the state level in U.S. history 18861801-1900
1887On July 14, 1887, the directors of the International League (Major League Baseball) voted to prohibit the signing of additional black players while allowing those under contract such as Frank Grant of Buffalo and Moses Fleetwood Walker of Syracuse franchise, to remain with their teams through the 1888 season.  By 1889 blacks were no longer players in Major League Baseball.  01-011801-1900
1887The National Colored Farmers' Alliance is formed in Houston County, Texas. 01-021801-1900
1888On April 11, Edward Park Duplex is elected mayor of Wheatland, California. He is believed to be the first African American mayor of a predominantly white town in the United States. 04-111801-1900
1888Two of America's first black-owned banks, the Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain United Order of the Reformers, in Richmond, Virginia, and Capital Savings Bank of Washington, D.C, open their doors. 04-121801-1900
1889Florida becomes the first state to use the poll tax to disenfranchise black voters. 01-011801-1900
1889Frederick Douglass is appointed Minister to Haiti. 01-021801-1900
1890Census of 1890, U.S. population: 62,947,714, Black population: 7,488,676 (11.9 percent) 01-011801-1900
1890The Afro-American League is founded on January 25 in Chicago under the leadership of Timothy Thomas Fortune. 01-251801-1900
1890On November 1, the Mississippi Legislature approves a new state Constitution that disenfranchises virtually all of the state's African American voters. The Mississippi Plan used literacy and understanding tests to prevent African Americans from casting ballots. Similar statutes were adopted by South Carolina (1895), Louisiana (1898), North Carolina (1900), Alabama (1901), Virginia (1901), Georgia (1908), and Oklahoma (1910). 11-011801-1900
1890William Henry Lewis and William Tecumseh Sherman Jackson were the first known black players on a white college football team when they played at Amherst College in Massachusetts. Lewis was team captain for the 1891-92 season.18901801-1900
1891Dr. Daniel Hale Williams founds Provident Hospital in Chicago, the first African American-owned hospital in the nation. 01-011801-1900
1892On June 15 operatic soprano Sissieretta Jones becomes the first African American to perform at Carnegie Hall. 06-151801-1900
1892On July 14 three companies of the 24th Infantry occupy the Coeur d'Alene Mining District in northern Idaho which has been declared under martial law following a violent strike by silver miners. They remain for four months. 07-141801-1900
1892In 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 10-011801-1900
1892The National Medical Association is formed in Atlanta by African American physicians because they are barred from the American Medical Association. 10-021801-1900
1892First intercollegiate football game between African American colleges takes place between Biddle University (now Johnson C. Smith University) and Livingston College. 10-031801-1900
1892A record 230 people are lynched in the United States this year, 161 are black and 69 white. In the period between 1882 and 1951, Tuskegee Institute compiled nationwide lynching statistics. In that 69 year period, 4,730 people were lynched including 3,437 blacks and 1,293 whites. Ninety-two women were victims of lynching, 76 were black and 16 were white. Although southern states accounted for 90 percent of the lynchings, every state in the continental U.S., with the exception of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont, reported lynching deaths sometime during the 69 year period. 12-311801-1900
1892The Baltimore Afro-American newspaper is founded by former slave John H. Murphy, Sr.18921801-1900
1893Dr. Daniel Hale Williams performs the first successful operation on a human heart in his Chicago hospital. The patient, a victim of a chest stab wound, survives and lives for twenty years after the operation. 01-021801-1900
1894The Church of God in Christ is founded in Memphis by Bishop Charles Harrison Mason. 18941801-1900
1895White terrorists attack black workers in New Orleans on March 11-12. Six blacks are killed. 03-121801-1900
1895In June, W.E.B. Du Bois becomes the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University. 06-011801-1900
1895Booker 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. 09-181801-1900
1895Three black Baptist organizations, the Foreign Mission Baptist Convention of the United States (1880), the American National Baptist Convention (1886) and the Baptist National Educational Convention (1893) combined at Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta to form the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. The National Baptist Convention is the largest black religious denomination in the United States. 10-011801-1900
1896Plessey 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. 05-181801-1900
1896On July 21 the National Association of Colored Women is formed in Washington, D.C. Mary Church Terrell is chosen as its first president. 07-211801-1900
1896In September George Washington Carver is appointed director of agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute. His work advances peanut, sweet potato, and soybean farming. 09-011801-1900
1896John Shippen became the first black professional golfer when he participated in a tournament in England.18961801-1900
1897The American Negro Academy is established on March 5 in Washington, D.C. to encourage African American participation in art, literature and philosophy. 03-051801-1900
1897The first Phillis Wheatley Home is founded in Detroit. These homes, established in most cities with large African American populations, provide temporary accommodations and social services for single African American women. 03-061801-1900
1898In January the Louisiana Legislature introduces the Grandfather Clause into the state's constitution. Only males whose fathers or grandfathers were qualified to vote on January 1, 1867, are automatically registered. Others (African Americans) must comply with educational or property requirements. 01-011801-1900
1898The Spanish-American War begins on April 21. Sixteen regiments of black volunteers are recruited; four see combat in Cuba and the Philippines Five African Americans win Congressional Medals of Honor during the war. A number of black officers command troops for the first time. 04-211801-1900
1898The National Afro-American Council is founded on September 15 in Rochester, New York. The organization elects Bishop Alexander Walters as its first president. 04-221801-1900
1898On November 10, in Wilmington, North Carolina, eight black Americans were killed as white conservative Democrats forcibly removed from power black and white Republican officeholders in the city.  The episode would be known as the Wilmington Riot. 11-101801-1900
1898The North Carolina Mutual and Provident Insurance Company of Durham, North Carolina and the National Benefit Life Insurance Company of Washington, D.C. are established. 11-111801-1900
1898The U.S. Supreme Court in Williams v. Mississippi upholds the provisions of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 which effectively disfranchises virtually all of the black voters in the state. 18981801-1900
1899In May, the 24th Infantry returns to occupy the Coeur d'Alene Mining District in northern Idaho after violence again erupts. 05-241801-1900
1899The Afro-American Council designates June 4 as a national day of fasting to protest lynching and massacres. 06-041801-1900
1899Scott Joplin composes the Maple Leaf Rag, which introduces ragtime music to the United States. 18991801-1900
1900Census of 1900, U.S. population: 75,994,575, Black population: 8,833,994 (11.6 percent) 01-011801-1900
1900In January James Weldon Johnson writes the lyrics and his brother John Rosamond Johnson composes the music for Lift Every Voice and Sing in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida in celebration of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. The song is eventually adopted as the black national anthem. 01-021801-1900
1900The 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. 07-231801-1900
1900On August 23, the National Negro Business League is founded in Boston by Booker T. Washington to promote business enterprise. 08-231801-1900
1900In September Nannie Helen Burroughs leads the founding of the Women's' Convention of the National Baptist Convention at its meeting in Richmond, Virginia. 09-011801-1900
1900This year marks the beginning of significant West Indian immigration to the United States. 12-311801-1900
1900By 1900 nearly two-thirds of the landowners in the Mississippi Delta were black farmers, most of whom had bought and cleared land after the Civil War.19001801-1900
1900An estimated 30,000 black teachers have been trained since the end of the U.S. Civil War in 1865. They are a major factor in helping more than half the black population achieve literacy by this date.19001801-1900
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