African American Historical Timeline


Slavery In the Unitied States

August 20, 1619

20 Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virgina

Lucy Terry


Lucy Terry, an enslaved plantaion worker becomes the earliest known black American poet when she writes about the last American Indian attack on her village of Deerfield, Massachusetts. Her poem, Bar's Fight, is not published until 1855.

Phillis Wheatley


Phillis Wheatley's book Poems on Various subjects, Religious and moral is published, making her the first African American to do so.

Slavery is made illegal


Slavery is made illegal in the Northwest Territory. The U.S Constitution states that Congress may not ban the slave trade until 1808

Bans import of slaves


Congress bans further importantion of slaves


1831 - 1861

Apporoximently 75,000 slaves escaped to the North and freedom using the underground railroad. This was a system in which free African Americans and white "conductors" abolitionist, guided, helped and sheltered the escapees.

Civil War


The civil war begins when the confederates attacked Fort Sumter, in Charleston, South Carolina. The war was fought over the issue of slavery, which went on for the next 4yrs. The Union's victory ment the end of slavery in the United States.

14th Amendment


14th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, defining citizenship. Individuals born or naturalized in the United States are American citizens, including those born as slaves. This nullifies the Dred Scott case(1857), which had ruled that blacks were not citizens.



The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is founded in New York by prominent black and white intellectuals and led by W.E.B. Du Bois. For the next half century, it would serve as the country's most influential African-American civil rights organization, dedicated to political equality and social justice in 1910, its journal, The Crisis, was launched. Among its well known leaders were James Weldon Johnson, Ella Baker, Moorfield Storey, Walter White, Roy Wilkins, Benjamin Hooks, Myrile Evers-Williams, Julian Bond, and Kwese Mfume.

Jackie Robinson


Jackie Robinson breaks the Major League Baseball's color barrier when he is signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers by Branch Rickey.

Malcom X


Malcom X becomes a minister of the Nation of Islam. Over the next several years his influence increases until he is one of the two most powerful members of the black mushim (the other was its leader, Elijah Muhammand.) A black nationalist and separatist movement, the nation of Islam contends that only blacks cN resolve the problems of blacks.

Rosa Parks


Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the the front of the "colored section" of a bus to a white passenger. In response to her arrest Montgomery's black community launch a successful hear-long bus boycott. Montgomery's busses are desegregated on Dec.21, 1956.

Little Rock Nine


September 24th, 1957- 9 black students are blocked from entering the school on the orders of governer Orval Faubus. Federal troops and the National Guard are called to intervien on behalf of the students, who have become known as the "Little-Rock nine." Despite a year of violent threats, several of the "Little-Rock Nine" graduate from Central High.

James Meredith


October 1st, 1962- James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Micheal Schwerner


August of 1964- The bodies of 3 civil rights workers are found. Murdered by the KKK, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Micheal Schwerner had been working to register black voters in Mississippi.

President Johnson


July 2nd, 1964- President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since reconstruction. It prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion or national origin.

Barack Obama

2009 - 2013

Barack Obama becomes the first African-American president and the country's 44th president.