Africans are brought to Jamestown, Virginia by Dutch traders to work as slaves. Most of the slaves work on tobacco plantations.
The first book by a black woman is published.
Phillis Wheatley writes a book of poems called "Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral." She is tested to make sure she could really read and write because many people did not believe that a black person could write poetry.
The Underground Railroad is started.
William Still starts the Underground Railroad, which helps slaves escape from their owners. The Underground Railroad is a system of secret trails, passageways, and symbols that helps slaves get as far north as Canada.
The Supreme Court rules on the Dred Scott decision.
March 6, 1857
A slave named Dred Scott sues his former owner to get his freedom because he had lived in free states with his owner. The Supreme Court rules against him, saying that a slave and a slave's children can never be citizens of the United States and cannot sue anyone.
Slavery is abolished.
January 31, 1865
The United States Congress passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment makes slavery illegal in all states.
Segregation is made legal.
May 18, 1896
The Supreme Court decides that it is legal to separate black and white people in schools, on buses, in restaurants, or in any other public place. This type of separation, called segregation, leads to Jim Crow laws that treat blacks unfairly.
Madam CJ Walker becomes a millionaire.
Madam CJ Walker, owner of a business that sells hair care products to black women, becomes the first black woman to earn a million dollars. Just nine years earlier, she was down to her last $2.
Jackie Robinson plays for the Dodgers.
April 15, 1947
Jackie Robinson becomes the first black man to play for a Major League Baseball team when he plays his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
The Supreme Court rules on Brown vs. the Board of Education
May 17, 1954
Oliver Brown sues the Kansas Board of Education because his young daughter is forced to walk many miles to a black school, even though a white school is closer. The Supreme Court says that segregation in public schools is now illegal.
Rosa Parks is arrested.
December 1, 1955
After refusing to get up and give her seat on a bus to a white man, Rosa Parks is arrested. Blacks refuse to use the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, for over a year until the Supreme Court rules that it is illegal to have separate seats on buses for blacks and whites.