January 29, 1861 – Kansas joins
the union as a free state after years of fighting between slavery and free-state
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
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.
1919 – World War I
1920 – The 19th Amendment is
ratified granting female citizens the right to vote.
1921 – The Harlem
1926 –The first Negro History
Week is celebrated. This eventually becomes Black History Month.
1939-1945 – World
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
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