Timeline of influencal african americans



Overseer Artayou Carrier whipped me. I was two months in bed sore from the whipping. My master come after I was whipped; he discharged the overseer. The very words of poor Peter, taken as he sat for his picture. Baton Rouge, La., April 2, 1863. (War Dept.) NARA FILE #: 165-JT-230 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 109

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable,” civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. said. “Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

The march to freedom has been long for African Americans. The process has spanned several centuries and would not have been possible without the hard work and sacrifices made by many brave individuals.


1619 – The first African slaves arrive in the American colonies.

1793 – The invention of the cotton gin increases the demand of slaves.

1808 – Congress declares that no new slaves can be imported from Africa.

1839 – Slaves aboard the slave ship Amistad, fight off their captors and sail to Long Island.

1846 – Frederick Douglass launches his abolitionist newspaper, The North Star.

1849 – Harriet Tubman escapes slavery and goes on to start the Underground Railroad.

1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s best selling anti-slavery novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is published.

1857 – In the Dred Scott Case, the Supreme Court decides that Congress cannot ban slavery.

1863 – President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in the


1865 – The Civil War ends.

The Ku Klux Klan is founded.

The 13th Amendment is ratified, thus ending slavery.

1868 – The 14th Amendment is ratified, giving African Americans citizenship.

1869 – Howard University becomes the first black law school.

1870 – The 15th Amendment is ratified, giving African Americans the right to vote.

Hiram Revels becomes the first black Senator.

1896 – In Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court says segregation is constitutional.

1909 – W.E.B. Du Bois founds the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People


1920’s – The Harlem Renaissance fosters the rise of a black identity.

1947 – Jackie Robinson becomes the first black major league baseball player.

1948 – President Truman integrates the armed forces.

1954 – Brown v. Board decides that school segregation is unconstitutional.

1955 – Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a Alabama bus, launching the Montgomery

Bus Boycott.

1957 – The National Guard escorts the “Little Rock Nine” into Little Rock Central High School.

1958 – Ella Fitzgerald becomes the first African American to win a Grammy Award.

1963 – Martin Luther King Jr. leads the famous March on Washington.

1964 – President Johnson signs the Civil Right Act which gives many rights to African Americans.

1965 – Malcolm X is assassinated.

MLK leads a march in Selma, Alabama.

The Voting Rights Act is passed, abolishing poll taxes and literacy tests.

1966 – Huey P. Newton founds the Black Panthers, a black nationalist and socialist group.

1967 – Thurgood Marshall is the first African American appointed to to Supreme Court.

1968 – James Earl Ray assassinates Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination in housing.

1992 – A videotape showing the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles officers and the

subsequent acquittal of the officers leads to the LA riots.

2008 – Barack Obama becomes the first black President.

2014 – Michael Brown, a young black man, is shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri.

The subsequent acquittal of officer Darren Wilson leads to protests nationwide.

Black Lives Matter is founded.