Events in African American History

Main

Eli Whitney, Invention of Cotton Gin

1793

Increases demand for slave labor.

Fugitive Slave Law

1793

A federal fugitive slave law is enacted, saying that escaped slaves in the North must be captured and returned to Southern slaveholders.

Missouri Compromise

1820

Bans slavery north of the southern boundary of Missouri.

Armistad Revolt

1839

Fifty-three African slaves on board the slave ship the Armistad revolted against their captors.

Harriet Tubman Escapes

1849

Escapes from slavery and becomes one of the most effective and celebrated leaders of the Underground Railroad.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

1852

Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin is published. It shows the evils of slavery.

Dred Scott Case

1857

A major blow for abolitionists, this rules that slaves were property, not people.

Civil War Begins

1861

The Confederacy is created when the South secedes.

Emancipation Proclaimation

1863

President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring "that all persons held as slaves" within the Confederate states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

Freedmen's Bureau

1865

Congress establishes the Freedmen's Bureau to protect the rights of newly emancipated blacks.

Ku Klux Klan

1865

The Ku Klux Klan is formed in Tennessee by ex-Confederates.

Fourteenth Amendment

1868

Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, defining citizenship. Individuals born or naturalized in the United States are American citizens, including those born as slaves.

Fifteenth Amendment

1870

Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, giving blacks the right to vote.

Hiram Revels Elected into Senate

1870

The country's first African-American senator.

Plessy v. Ferguson

1896

Plessy v. Ferguson: This landmark Supreme Court decision holds that racial segregation is constitutional, paving the way for the repressive Jim Crow laws in the South.