January 29, 1861 – Kansas joins the union as a free state after years of fighting between slavery and free-state factions.

1861-1865 – Civil War

1863 – President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation that frees all slaves.

1865 – The 13th Amendment is ratified abolishing slavery in the United States of America.

1868 – The 14th Amendment is ratified conferring citizenship to all born in the United States and extended the Bill of Rights to these individuals.

1870 – The 15th Amendment extends the right to vote to all citizens regardless of race or color.

1896 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that separate but equal facilities were legal.

1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded in New York City.

1911 – The National Urban League is created to fight for economic and social equality.

1914- 1919 – World War I

1920 – The 19th Amendment is ratified granting female citizens the right to vote.

1921 – The Harlem Renaissance begins.

1926 –The first Negro History Week is celebrated. This eventually becomes Black History Month.

1939-1945 – World War II

1940 – Benjamin O. Davis becomes the first black general in the U.S. Army.

1945 – Jackie Robinson is the first black player in Major League baseball.

1948—President Harry S. Truman integrates the U.S. Armed Forces.

1949 – In Kansas, Webb v. School District No. 90 forces local school district to integrate.

1954 – The U.S. Supreme Court states that “Separate but Equal” is unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education.
1955 – In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on the bus and triggers the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1957 – In Little Rock, Arkansas, federal troops escort nine black students to Central High School. These students become known as the Little Rock Nine.

1960 – The sit-in movement begins with four black college students sitting at the lunch counter in Woolworth in Greensboro, NC.

1961 – Freedom rides begin from Washington D.C. to the South.

1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers “I Have A Dream” speech at a march in Washington, D.C. Over 250,000 people attended.

1964 – Civil Rights Act of 1964 is signed into law barring discrimination in public accommodations and prohibiting discrimination in employment.

The 24th Amendment is ratified which abolished poll taxes.

1965 – March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to gain voting rights.

Voting Rights Act of 1965 is signed into law.

Malcolm X is assassinated.

1966 – Edward Brooke from Massachusetts is elected 1st black U.S. senator in 85 years.

1967 – Thurgood Marshall is the first black judge to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

1968 – Dr. King is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

1975 – Voting Rights Act is extended.

1977 – Alex Haley’s book Roots is made into a television event.

1983 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday is established.

Guion Bluford is first black astronaut in space.

1989 – Army General Colin Powell becomes first black to serve as chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff.

1991 – Civil Rights Act of 1991 is signed into law.

1993 – Toni Morrison wins the Nobel Prize for Literature for Beloved.

2001 – Colin Powell becomes the first black Secretary of State.

2008 – Barack Obama elected as the first African-American President of the United States
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