Can We? A Brief History of American Racism

Melissa Harris-Perry

Timeline

Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts

1798

The four acts were meant to protect the new nation from French immigrants.

President Thomas Jefferson led the repeal

1802

President Thomas Jefferson led the repeal of most of these acts because they overstepped federal authority and instituted unjust restrictions.

The Know Nothing movement and the Irish Immigrants

1845

The Know Nothing movement formed a national political party based on nativist sentiment. The Irish were streaming into the United States.

Party extinguished

1860

The national political party formed by Know Nothing movement was extinguished.

Reconstruction ended in the U.S. South

1880

Reconstruction ended in the U.S. South. Legislation were enacted that stripped black citizens the right to vote, ejected black office holder from their posts, and segregation on public transportation.

President Arthur signed Chinese Exclusion Act

1882

President Arthur signed Chinese Exclusion Act to exclude Chinese workers from entering the United States.

Wisconsin passed the Bennett Law; Illinois passed Edwards law

1890

State of Wisconsin passed the Bennett Law and state of Illinois passed Edwards law restricting the use of German language instruction in classrooms.

Laws were repealed

1892

Both laws in state of Wisconsin and state of Illinois were repealed

"War Relocation Camps" justified as protective measure for wake of Peal Harbor

1942

The U.S. began the forcible internment of more than 100,000 Japanese nationals, more than half were American citizens.

Chinese Exclusion Act repealed

1943

The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed.

Internment camps were closed

1945

The internment camps were closed.

Reparations were made to many of the survivors

1948

Reparations were made to many of the survivors from the internment camps.

Civil Rights Act ended segregation

1964

Civil Rights Act ended segregation in public accommodations.

U.S. elected its first black president

2008

The United States of America elected its first black president.

President Obama worked with Congress to help provide health insurance coverage

2009

President Obama worked with Congress to craft legislation aimed at providing affordable health insurance coverage to all. Representative from South Carolina called him a liar and believed his ideas were dangerous and threatened the values of the United States.