1619 First slave ship reaches the New World.
1641 Massachusetts colony legalizes slavery.
1776 Declaration of Independence.
1783 War of Independence ends.
1808 Congress makes it illegal to bring new slaves in to America.
1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
1854 The Dred Scott Decision: The U.S. Supreme Court declares that the main law guaranteeing that slavery will not enter the Midwestern territories is unconstitutional.
1860 Abraham Lincoln elected President; South Carolina secedes.
1861-1865 Civil War
1865 (February 1) Lincoln ratifies the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery throughout the country.
1865 (April 15) John Wilkes Booth assassinates President Lincoln.
1870 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enfranchises the African American man by making it illegal to deny the right to vote based on race.
1892 “Separate but Equal”: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, declares that separate facilities for blacks and whites are constitutional as long as they are “equal.” This would include restrooms, drinking fountains, theaters, restaurants and just about any public area.
1909 (February 12) Formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
1913 President Woodrow Wilson officially introduces segregation into the Federal Government.
1914-1918 World War I
1939-1945 World War II
1950 (June 13) The Republic of South Africa Implements Apartheid
1954 (May 17) Brown v. the Board of Education: The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down “separate but equal”.
1955 (December 1) Rosa Parks is arrested for failing to yield her seat to a white man on a bus.
1956 (December 21) Galvanized by this humble woman’s act of courage and defiance, blacks through out Montgomery, Alabama boycott the buses. More than a year later, the boycott finally ends when the U.S. Supreme Court desegregates the buses.
1957 (September 23) In Little Rock Arkansas, President Eisenhower calls in 101st Airborne Division to escort nine black students to their first day of classes at the previously all-white Central High.
1960 (February 1) Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, David Richmond and Ezell Blair, Jr., begin the sit-in protest movement at a segregated counter in an F.W. Woolworth Company store in Greensboro, North Carolina. This movement quickly spreads across the nation.
1961 Freedom rides begin from Washington, D.C. Groups of blacks and whites, mostly college students, ride buses through the South to challenge segregation.
1962 James Meredith is the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Riots ensue, killing two and injuring many others.
1963 (May 2) Birmingham, Alabama police turn fire hoses and dogs onto some 900 peaceful anti-segregation marchers, most of whom are children between the ages of 6 and 18.
1963 (August 28) “I Have a Dream”: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. immortalizes these words in a speech given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after leading 250,000 peaceful marchers on Washington, D.C.
1963 (November 22) President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
1964 (March 7) “Bloody Sunday”: A group of demonstrators, while bowed in prayer, are attacked at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama. They are on a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to protest police brutality and highlight their struggle for voter rights.
1964 (July 2) President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act guaranteeing basic Civil Rights to all Americans.
“Freedom Summer”: Throughout the deep South, Civil Rights leaders become active in voter registration by organizing voter-registration classes.
1964 (December 10) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1964 (December 10) 1964 (June 12) In South Africa, African National Congress Leader, Nelson Mandela convicted of trying to overthrow the government and sentenced to life in prison.
1965 (August 6) President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act eliminating literary tests, which aim to prevent African American voters from registering.
1967 In Seattle, Washington Sam Smith is the first black city councilman.
1968 (April 4) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
1968 The Black Movement launches the "Black and Beautiful" campaign, aimed at school children, to instill in them a sense of pride in their community and in themselves.
1969 (July 20) Neil Armstrong first walks on the moon
1986 (January 20) First national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a public holiday.
1987 Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute is founded
1989 Douglas Wilder of Virginia becomes the first African American state governor.
1990 (February 11) In South Africa, ANC Leader, Nelson Mandella is released from prison and so begins the fall of Apartheid.
1996 Rosa Parks awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
1999 Rosa Parks awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.