First Baptism of African Slaves in American Colonial (Anglican) Church
Episcopal Ministry to African Americans is Organized at Goose Creek, South Carolina
Samuel Seabury Consecrated First American Bishop by Scottish Bishops
William White (Pennsylvania), Presiding Bishop
Samuel Seabury (Connecticut), Presiding Bishop
Samuel Provoost (New York), Presiding Bishop
William White, Presiding Bishop
The Cardinal Black Parish of St. Philips Church in Harlem, New York is Established
Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (PECUSA) Formed, the Churchs Corporate Form and Missionary
The Cardinal Black Parish of St. Philips Church in of St. James Lafayette Square in Baltimore, Maryland is Established
General Convention Votes to Send Bishops as Missionaries
Alexander Viets Griswold (Massachusetts), Presiding Bishop
Philander Chase (Illinois), Presiding Bishop
The Cardinal Black Parish of St. Matthews in Detroit, Michigan is Established
The Cardinal Black Parish of Calvary Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina is Established
Thomas Church Brownwell (Connecticut), Presiding Bishop
The Cardinal Black Parish of the Good Shepherd in Mobile, Alabama is Established
John Henry Hopkins (Vermont), Presiding Bishop
The First Meeting of Anglican Bishops is held in London at Lambeth Palace
Benjamin Bosworth Smith (Kentucky), Presiding Bishop
Womens Auxiliary Formed
First Ordination of a Black Churchman in Mississippi
Brotherhood of St. Andrew Founded in Chicago
First African American Congregation, St. Augustines, Galveston, Established in Texas
Alfred Lee (Delaware), Presiding Bishop
John Williams (Connecticut), Presiding Bishop
St. Paul Normal and Industrial School Founded in Lawrenceville, Virginia
United Thank Offering Established by the Womens Auxiliary
Phillips Brooks Elected Bishop of Massachusetts
Voorhees College Founded in Denmark, South Carolina
Thomas March Clark (Rhode Island), Presiding Bishop
Daniel Sylvester Tuttle (Missouri), Presiding Bishop
Bishops Demby and Delany Consecrated Suffragan Bishops for Colored Work
Church Missions House at 281 Park Avenue South Becomes Center for Mission Program and Administration of the New National Council.
General Convention Adopts the First Churchwide Anti-lynching Resolution
Alexander Charles Garrett (Dallas), Presiding Bishop
Ethelbert Talbot (Bethlehem), Presiding Bishop
John Gardner Murray (Maryland), Presiding Bishop
Charles Palmerston Anderson (Chicago), Presiding Bishop
James Dewolf Perry (Rhode Island), Presiding Bishop
6,304 Clergy and 1,939,453 Baptized Members
Diocese of Southern Virginia Gives Vote to Black Clergy
Henry St. George Tucker (Virginia), Presiding Bishop
6,335 Clergy and 2,171,562 Baptized Members
Henry Knox Sherrill (Massachusetts), Presiding Bishop
6,654 Clergy and 2,540,548 Baptized Members
John Walker is Admitted as the First African American Student to Attend Virginia Theological Seminary
Arthur Lichtenberger (Missiouri), Presiding Bishop
9,079 Clergy and 3,444,265 Baptized Members
General Convention Adopts Policy Prohibiting Racial Discrimination in Churches
John Elbridge Hines (Texas), Presiding Bishop
11,772 Clergy and 3,475,164 Baptized Members
Ordination of Women to the Diaconate Approved
Women Allowed to Serve as Delegates to General Convention
John Maury Allin (Mississippi), Presiding Bishop
13,089 Clergy and 3,037,420 Baptized Members
Edmond Lee Browning (Hawaii), Presiding Bishop
14,878 Clergy and 2,446,050 Baptized Members
Pamela Chinnis Elected First Woman President of House of Deputies
Frank Tracy Griswold III (Chicago), Presiding Bishop
Society of the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG)
Society of the Propagation of the Gospel engaged in work among African Americans throughout the American colonies.
The American Revolution
The Episcopal Church emerges as an autonomous jurisdiction.
Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America Established
The first General Convention was held in Philadelphia.
St. Thomas African Episcopal Church Established and Accepted into Union with the Diocese of Pennsylvania
St. Thomas Church in Philadelphia was the first black parish organized in the Episcopal Church.
First African American Episcopal Priest Ordained
Absalom Jones was the first black priest ordained in the Episcopal Church.
Alexander Crummell Becomes a Missionary and Teacher in Liberia
Birth of The Reverend George Freeman Bragg
During his appointment, African American George Freeman Bragg worked to advance the education of African Americans both within society and the Church.
The Protestant Episcopal Freedmens Commission Formed
As a result of emancipation, General Convention formed the Freedmens Commission to aid in education and evangelism.
St. Augustines Normal School and Collegiate Institute Founded in Raleigh, North Carolina
The founding of St. Augustines was the first major result of the work of the Freedmens Commission.
James Holly Consecrated Missionary Bishop of Haiti
James Holly was the first African American bishop in the Episcopal Church. In 1861, he led 110 followers to Haiti. He remained in Haiti until his death, rarely returning to the United States.
Bishop Payne Divinity School Founded
Bishop Payne Divinity School was established in Petersburg, Virginia to train black men for the priesthood.
"Sewanee Conference" of Southern Bishops
Southern bishops involved in interracial work under the segregation policy held the first Sewanee Conference, which set the pattern for "colored convocations" in the south.
First African American Delegates Sent to General Convention
Black delegates from the dioceses of West Texas and Florida were sent to General Convention in Chicago for the first time.
Church Commission for Work Among Colored People (CCWACP)
Some local projects for education and evangelization of African Americans were undertaken by the churches after the Civil War. The Episcopal Church, however, takes no official action on behalf of southern African Americans until 1885, when it establishes the Church Commission for Work Among Colored People.
Discussion of Suffragan Bishops Commences
Discussion regarding the election of suffragan bishops began at the 1904 General Convention in Boston.
American Church Institute for Negroes Established
The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society established the American Church Institute for Negroes whose chief activity was the support of less than a dozen secondary and college educational institutions throughout the South. The largest Episcopal school, for whites and African Americans, that became a part of the American Church Institute for Negroes was a historically African-American four-year college, St. Pauls in Lawrenceville, Virginia.
Amendment of Canon Law
Canon law was amended, without mention of race or color, to permit the election of suffragan bishops. Two bishops are elected for ministry to Negroes in time to take their seats at the General Convention of 1919.
Black Churchmen in Virginia Granted Voting Rights
Diocese of Virginia enfranchised black churchmen to vote in its diocesan convention.
Bi-racial Joint Committee on Minorities Formed in National Council
As the successor to the Church Commission for Work Among Colored People, the Bi-racial Joint Committee was formed by the National Council to increase participation of African American laymen in the program of the Church.
Federal Council of Churches Condemns Discrimination
Mainline Protestant churches began to move towards the goal of a "desegregated church in a desegregated society;" when the Federal Council of Churches condemned discrimination as a "violation of the gospel of love and human brotherhood."
Black Churchmen in Southern Virginia Granted Voting Rights
The Diocese of Southern Virginia granted the vote to all black churchmen in future councils.
Black Churchmen in South Carolina, Georgia, and Arkansas Granted Voting Rights
The dioceses of South Carolina, Georgia, and Arkansas grant the vote to all black churchmen in future councils.
Bishop Payne Divinity School Closes
Bishop Payne Divinity School closed due to the decline in enrollment caused by the integration of nearly all Episcopal seminaries.
Pro-Civil Rights Clergy Begin Ministry in Inner City
At Grace Church, Jersey City, New Jersey, priests Paul Moore, C. Kilmer Myers, and Robert Pegram started a parish program aimed at inter-racial fellowship and service to ghetto residents. This became a model for other parishes in other northern cities, including St. Augustines Mission in New York and St. Johns Church in Boston. Black priests and congregations, alternately, saw a decline as many were absorbed into neighboring white churches over the next decade. The Urban Mission Priests group was organized to strengthen urban ministry. Black priests joined with whites in this mission.
General Convention Adopts Resolution on Racial Discrimination
The General Convention in Boston adopted a resolution that states: "[w]e consistently oppose and combat discrimination based on color or race in every form, both within the Church and without, in this country and internationally." A survey sponsored by the Churchs Department of Christian Social Relations showed, however, that Episcopalians generally favored a moderate approach to issues of racism and that 27 percent of the laity were not opposed to segregation within the Church.
Dr. Caution Presents Report on Post-war Negro Work
The Rev. Dr. Tollie Caution, Executive Secretary of Negro Work to the National Council since 1945, prepared a report titled "A Decade of Progress in Negro Work."
Seminary Upholds Exclusion on Grounds of Race
The Board of Trustees of the University of the South (Sewanee), a school owned by 28 of the Churchs southern dioceses, voted to continue the exclusion of black students from the School of Theology. Sewanee remained only one of ten Episcopal seminaries with no African-American theological students in attendance.
Seminary Reverses Decision under Protest
In the summer of 1953, the board of trustees of the University of the South reversed its admissions decision, after eight faculty members resigned in protest and following resistance from several theology students and a number of southern bishops.
Diocese of South Carolina Allows Blacks to Participate
The diocese of South Carolina, the last diocese to exclude black clergy and laity from its diocesan convention, voted to allow "Negro representation" at the convention by a count of 85 to 31.
General Convention Changes Meeting Site from Houston to Honolulu
The General Convention of 1955 was scheduled to meet in Houston, but protests from church leaders and black congregations over segregated facilities in the city led to a late change of venue by Presiding Bishop Sherrill. In Hawaii, the Convention adopted a resolution commending the clergy and people of the Church to accept and support the Brown vs Board of Education decision.
National Council Aims for Total Desegregation
The National Council of the Episcopal Church revised a set of "Guiding Principles Pertaining to the Work of the Church among Negroes" to include the ultimate goal of desegregation for all church institutions and agencies, based on recommendations of its advisory Bi-racial Committee.
National Council Creates the "Southern Project"
The National Council of Churches authorized the creation of the "Southern Project," which was designed to give aid to local church activists who were attacked due to their public support of desegregation.
The Era of the Racial Episcopate Ends
The attempts of the Church at racial episcopacies with bishops Delany and Demby ended after the death of Bishop Demby (Delany died in 1928). The Church declared this idea unsuccessful.
General Convention Supports Equal Opportunity and House of Bishops Releases Pastoral Letter
The General Convention approved a resolution supporting equal opportunity in education, housing, employment, and public accommodations. The House of Bishops released its pastoral letter on the recent Lambeth Conference, noting that racial tensions in the United States threatened to alienate the good will of other countries. The letter addressed the issue of civil disobedience but neither supported nor renounced its use.
Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity (ESCRU) Forms
This unofficial church organization was formed to promote acceptance of the Churchs policies of racial inclusiveness. John B. Morris was named Executive Director, and the group established a national office in Atlanta, Georgia. By August 1960, more than 1,000 Episcopal clergy and laity were members of ESCRU.
ESCRU Supports Church Demonstrations
During the summer of 1960, a new aspect of the sit-in movement in the South took place in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, when black college students visited white churches for Sunday services.
ESCRU Addresses Intermarriage and Alienates Much of Southern Church
At the first annual meeting of the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity, members passed a memorial requesting the House of Bishops to state the position of the Church with respect to marriage between persons of different color. The memorial on intermarriage identified ESCRU as a militant group to some and alienated the laity and the clerical leadership in large parts of the South.
15 Clergy Arrested on Prayer Pilgrimage
An interracial group of 28 clergy began a pilgrimage by bus from New Orleans to the 1961 General Convention in Detroit. The group, organized by ESCRU, planned to visit and agitate segregated churches and church-related educational institutions.
Church Declares Prejudice to Be Inconsistent with the Gospel
The General Convention adopted a resolution expressing regret for past and present discrimination within the Church and encouraged all levels of the Church to reconcile itself to the "comprehensiveness of the body of Christ" and to establish worship and study programs in this area.
Episcopal Hospital Targeted for Protests
St. Johns Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, an Episcopal institution of the Diocese of Long Island, was picketed for their policy of excluding black patients from semi-private facilities. ESCRU protested St. Johns policy and leads a public vigil outside the hospital and at the bishops office in Garden City, Long Island. Johnathan G. Sherman, Suffragan Bishop of Long Island, defended the hospitals policy on overtly racist grounds saying, "the Negroes are a gregarious race (one of their most loveable traits), and they like to visit in sixes and sevens" thereby disturbing white patients. The hospitals policy of segregated room assignments finally came to an end as the result of outside intervention by the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
Episcopal Day School Denies Entrance to Martin Luther King, Jr.s Son
An application on behalf of the son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., submitted to Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia, was rejected based on unanimously adopted school guidelines that prohibited African American students.
African-American Elected Suffragan Bishop
The Ven. John M. Burgess was elected Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts on September 22 and consecrated December 8. He was the first African-American bishop with authority over black and white congregations, and became the first African-American diocesan bishop in 1969.
Presiding Bishop Commits Church to Action
Presiding Bishop Arthur Lichtenberger issued a "Whitsunday Statement" committing the Episcopal Church to maximum participation in the civil rights movement. The statement had a profound impact on the Church. Many interpreted it as the Churchs sanction of direct action against segregation.
Religious Groups Join March on Washington
The Episcopal Church participated in the planning of the March on Washington D.C. for Jobs and Freedom. Observers at the march estimated more than half of the banners and signs were from churches, synagogues, and related agencies and organizations.
National Council Staff Members Arrested at Protest
Two members of the National Council staff, Bishop Daniel Corrigan and Father Daisuke Kitagawa, Executive Secretary of the Division of Domestic Missions, were among a group arrested trying to desegregate Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Baltimore, Maryland.
National Council of Churches Establishes Delta Ministry
The National Council of Churchs Commission on Religion and Race established the Delta Ministry. The year-old commission determined that black citizens of Mississippi wanted the Churches help in their struggle. Beyond voter registration, there was a vital need for programs of social service and community development. The Rev. Warren McKenna, an Episcopal priest and member of the National Council of Churchs (NCC) staff, served as Co-director of the Delta Ministry. The Ministry was concentrated in some of the poorest and most primitive counties in the state. It enrolled 70,000 Negro voters, organized workshops for black candidates seeking public office, and provided other community services.
King Speaks to ESCRU
ESCRU sponsored a dinner at the General Convention where Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed an audience of nearly 2,000. King condemned segregation in American churches saying, "the Church is still the most segregated major institution in our country." Dr. King was named the winner of the 1964 Nobel peace prize the following day.
Seminary Students Work in Selma
Judith Upham and Jonathan Daniels, students from the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, who were present for the Selma demonstrations, decided to return to Selma as ESCRUs representatives. They worked closely with civil rights leaders and also attempted to open communication with St. Pauls Church, the all-white Episcopal parish in Selma. When Upham and Daniels attended an early-morning Eucharist on Easter Sunday, 1965, accompanied by a group of young Negroes, they are directed to the rear pew, from which they were the last to receive Holy Communion. ESCRU issued a statement attacking the bishops approval of segregated seating in parish churches.
Jonathan Daniels Killed
Seminary student and civil rights crusader Jonathan Daniels was shot at close range by a former deputy sheriff in Hayneville, Alabama. Daniels was the 26th civil rights worker killed in the South. ESCRU launched "Operation Southern Justice," a campaign undertaken in conjunction with the NCC and other groups to force the integration of southern juries, which have not yet convicted anyone accused of these murders.
Negro Churchmen Support Black Power
A position statement formulated in support of Black Power by the National Committee of Negro Churchmen was signed by nine Episcopalians, including Bishop John F. Burgess, Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts.
ESCRU Brings Attention to Global Racism
ESCRU coordinated Episcopal participation in demonstrations at the Chase Manhattan Bank and the Episcopal Church Center in New York City to protest church investments in South African banks that were being used to support apartheid. The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church responded by appointing a committee to study ways in which the Church might transfer some of its assets to banks located in poor urban centers.
ESCRU Charges the Church with Heresy for Continued Racism
ESCRU charged the Episcopal Church with heresy because of its continued racism. At its meeting in October 1966, the Board of Directors adopted a statement, which read: "We charge the Church to which we belong and which we love with heretical and blasphemous distortion of the Christian doctrine of man." Citing the racism implicit in the parish system, clergy placement, religious education, and church investments, the statement was delivered to the Presiding Bishop and in January 1967 became the basis of a petition, which was addressed to the General Convention. Over 10,000 signatures were obtained on the petition.
Union of Black Clergy and Laity (UBCL) Forms
The Ad Hoc Committee of Negro Clergy gathered in Philadelphia to form a united group opposed to racism within the Church. Although initially composed of clergymen, the UBCL sought to involve black laity and emerged as a powerful and innovative organization on issues relating to racism in the Church. It was renamed the Union of Black Episcopalians in 1971.
ESCRU Leads Ash Wednesday Protest
On Ash Wednesday, the Chicago chapter of ESCRU sponsored several demonstrations to publicize concern over racism in the Episcopal Churchs curriculum materials. Clergymen burned the offensive curriculum materials and imposed ashes on the heads of the penitents.
Special Convention Addresses Racism
The Special General Convention of 1969 met in South Bend, Indiana, from August 31 - September 5. The General Convention of 1967 had requested this meeting, which included additional delegates to ensure that youth, women, and minority groups would be adequately represented.
ESCRU was denied a request for funding from an outside foundation. On October 18, ESCRU sponsored a banquet at which the Rev. Jesse Jackson was the speaker. At the conclusion of the banquet, ESCRUs Vice President Barbara Harris announced that ESCRUs life had come to an end.
First African American Bishop of the Episcopal Church Consecrated
John Burgess of Massachusetts became the first African American diocesan of the Episcopal Church.
Charles Willie Elected as Vice President of the House of Deputies
African American Charles Willie was elected as Vice President of the House of Deputies, a position he resigned from in 1974 after the House of Bishops considered the ordinations of the "Philadelphia 11" to be invalid.
Eleven Women Ordained Priest in Philadelphia
The ordinations of the "Philadelphia 11" at the Church of the Advocate were declared invalid by the House of Bishops. That is later retracted with the decision at the 1976 General Convention to regularize the ordinations.
General Convention Approves Ordination of Women in All Three Orders
There was strong opposition to this resolution approving the ordination of women to the three orders of bishop, priest, and deacon, and a division over gender equality and human sexuality developed within the Church.
Dr. Charles Radford Lawrence, II Elected as President of the House of Deputies
In 1967, Dr. Lawrence became a lay delegate of the House of Deputies. At the 1976 General Convention, he was elected president of the House of Deputies and would serve in that office until 1985. Dr. Lawrence holds the distinction of being the third lay person and the first African American to hold the position.
Bishop Paul Moore Ordains Homosexual to the Priesthood
The Rev. Ellen Barrett is ordained in the Diocese of New York by Bishop Paul Moore.
New Book of Common Prayer Book Approved
The approval of a new standard Prayer Book causes an additional fracture within the Church.
Barbara Harris is Consecrated Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts
Upon her consecration, Barbara Harris becomes both the first woman and first black woman bishop in the Anglican Communion.
Gene Robinson Consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire
Gene Robinson is the first openly gay priest to be ordained bishop in the Episcopal Church.
Episcopal Church Elects First Woman Presiding Bishop
Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of Nevada, is elected as the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Arrival of First Africans in Bondage, in Jamestown, Virginia
First Law Against Slavery in North America Enacted in Rhode Island
American Revolutionary War
Frederick Douglass Begins Publishing North Star, an Antislavery Newspaper
California Gold Rush
Sojourner Truth Travels the Midwest Speaking on Behalf of the Abolitionist Movement
Uncle Toms Cabin is Published
American Civil War
13th Amendment Abolishes Slavery
World War I
19th Amendment is Ratified Giving Women the Right to Vote
Harlem Globetrotters Established
Great Depression Begins - Stock Market Crash
World War II
U.S. Army Forms the Tuskegee Airmen, an African American Air Combat Unit
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Founded by James Farmer
United Negro College Fund is Incorporated
Harry Truman, 33rd President
Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President
John F. Kennedy, 35th President
Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President
Martin Luther King, Jr., is Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Thurgood Marshall Becomes the First African American Supreme Court Justice
Shirley Chisolm Becomes the First Black Woman Elected to the U.S. Congress
Richard Nixon, 37th President
Gerald Ford, 38th President
Jimmy Carter, 39th President
Ronald Reagan, 40th President
Alice Walker Receives Pulitzer Prize for The Color Purple
George H. W. Bush, 41st President
The Persian Gulf War
Bill Clinton, 42nd President
Joycelyn Elders Becomes First African American Woman U.S. Surgeon General
Million Man March in Washington, D.C. Led by Louis Farrakan
George W. Bush, 43rd President
U.S.- Led Forces Invade and Occupy Iraq and Capture Saddam Hussein
Maryland Enacts Conversion Law
Maryland passed a law stating that the conversion of enslaved African Americans to Christianity did not affect their status as enslaved people.
Stono Rebellion Organized by Carolinian Slaves
This failed revolt is the earliest known organized act of rebellion against slavery in the United States.
The American Colonization Society Established
The American Colonization Society transported emancipated slaves and freedmen to Africa and established a colony that became the republic of Liberia in 1847.
Birth of Frederick Douglass
American abolitionist, editor, author, statesman, orator, and reformer Frederick Douglas was born. Considered one of the most prominent African Americans of his time, he died in 1895.
Birth of Underground Railroad Conductor, Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave and abolitionist who led approximately 300 slaves to freedom.
Nat Turner Leads Slave Revolt
Nat Turner led a slave revolt that killed 60 whites. After his defeat, he was hung on November 11, 1831.
Abolitionists helped slaves escape to the northern states via the Underground Railroad.
Trail of Tears
As a consequence of the 1830 Indian Removal Act, approximately 17, 000 Cherokee Indians living east of the Mississippi River were forced to migrate west, leading to the death of approximately 4,000 people.
Dred Scott Decision
The Supreme Court ruled that slavery was legal in all the territories. This decision is considered by many the key cause of the American Civil War.
Emancipation Proclamation Signed
President Abraham Lincoln signed this presidential order on January 1, 1863, which freed most, but not all, of the slaves in the United States. Lincoln did not feel that his Constitutional war powers granted him legal authority over areas under Union control. Hence, these areas were not affected by the proclamation.
Birth of George Washington Carver
Carver worked in agricultural extension at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, teaching former slaves farming techniques for self-sufficiency.
Congress Establishes U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedman, and Abandoned Land
This agency aided the transition from slavery to freedom for 4 million black Americans.
Ku Klux Klan Forms
The Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist group, was formed by veterans of the Confederate Army.
Buffalo Soldiers Established
The U.S. Army formed black cavalry and infantry regiments that operated in the West from 1867 to 1896. The regiments fought Indians who nicknamed them "Buffalo Soldiers."
14th Amendment Ratified
The 14th Amendment granted equal protection and due process to blacks under the law.
15th Amendment Ratified
The 15th Amendment guaranteed persons the right to vote regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
First African American Elected to the Senate
Hiram R. Revels of Mississippi became the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate, taking the seat previously inhabited by Jefferson Davis.
Jim Crow Laws Established
Tennessee became the first state to enact Jim Crow laws, which required blacks and whites to ride in separate railroad cars. These laws were later applied to other public spaces and modes of transportation.
Atlanta Compromise Address Given
Booker T. Washington delivered a speech at the Atlanta Exposition where he called on blacks to strive for vocational education instead of pressing for social equality or political office.
Plessy vs. Ferguson Case
This Supreme Court decision allowed for legalized segregation, which made "separate but equal" Jim Crow laws for African Americans and whites constitutional.
Niagara Movement Founded
This group of black intellectuals gathered and adopted resolutions pressing for full equality for blacks in American life. As a forerunner of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), this movement was headed by W.E.B. Dubois.
Lynching in Springfield, Illinois
Two elderly blacks were lynched in the home town of Abraham Lincoln as a black community was attacked by thousands of white citizens.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Formed
The NAACP was founded by a group of whites shocked by the Springfield lynchings. It joined with W.E.B. Dubois Niagara Movement to fight racism and inequality in American society.
The Crisis Magazine is Founded
This monthly magazine was published by the NAACP and edited by W.E.B. Dubois during its initial 24 years in publication.
The "Fight of the Century" between Jack Johnson and James Jeffries
The first African American heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson, defeated his white opponent, James Jeffries, causing a race riot.
National Urban League Founded
The National Urban League was formed in New York City to improve urban conditions among blacks. It focused on assisting migrating African Americans, helping them find employment and housing.
The Great Migration
Large numbers of African Americans left the south to escape sharecropping, lynch mobs, and poverty, migrating north to cities such as Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Cleveland.
Alien Land Law Enacted
Federal law prohibited ownership of real estate by aliens ineligible for citizenship. This applied to Asian aliens since they were ineligible for naturalization under U.S. immigration laws.
Negro National League Founded
The Negro National League was the first of baseballs Negro leagues.
Charles Clinton Spaulding Becomes President of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company
By the time of his death in 1952, Spaulding had built the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company into the countrys largest black-owned business.
Ku Klux Klan Parade Held in Washington, D.C.
50,000 members parade unmasked through the streets of Washington, D.C. as national membership in the KKK tops 4 million.
Walter White Leads NAACP
Walter White became the leader of the NAACP with the ultimate goal of stamping out lynchings. There were more than 60 lynchings per year during the first few decades of the 20th century in the United States. By the time of Whites death in 1955, lynchings had become infrequent.
The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
The U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted a clinical study around Tuskegee, Alabama, one of Alabamas poorest counties, where 399 poor, mostly illiterate black male sharecroppers were intentionally infected with syphilis.
Jesse Owens Wins Four Gold Medals at Olympics
Owens victory rebuked Adolf Hitlers desire to use the games as an exhibition of Aryan supremacy.
Zora Neale Hurston Publishes Their Eyes Were Watching God
Hurstons second novel received both acclaim and criticism within the black community.
Marian Anderson Sings at the Lincoln Memorial
The Daughters of the American Revolution barred Marian Anderson from singing at Constitution Hall. She sang, instead, at the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd numbering 75,000.
A. Philip Randolph Calls for March on Washington
Threats by A. Philip Randolph, prominent Negro labor spokesman, to call for a march on Washington led president Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue an executive order forbidding racial discrimination in the war-related industry.
Internment of Japanese Americans
President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the relocation of Japanese Americans on the Pacific west coast to internment camps.
Ebony Magazine Founded by John H. Johnson
Ebony was published to appeal to middle-class African Americans and became an immediate success.
Jackie Robinson Enters the Major Leagues
The first African American baseball player in the major leagues played his first major league game.
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Tests the Supreme Court Ban on Segregation
CORE tested the Supreme Court's ban on segregation in interstate travel with their two-week long "Journey of Reconciliation." This movement marked the beginning of a series of similar campaigns, which were later named the "Freedom Rides."
Integration of American Armed Forces
President Harry S. Truman ordered the integration of the American armed forces with executive order 9981, the first major action by the American government to desegregate one of its institutions.
Gwendolyn Brooks Receives Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African American writer to win the Pulitzer.
Ralph Ellison Publishes Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison received the National Book Award the following year for the book hailed as his masterpiece.
Supreme Court Enforces Desegregation
Public schools were formally desegregated by the U.S. Supreme Courts decision in Brown vs. Board of Education. As a result, local school boards had one year to prepare plans to desegregate. In hundreds of southern communities, citizens councils formed to ensure continued segregation on the local level.
Murder of Emmett Louis Till
A fourteen year old boy from Chicago was murdered by two white men because he broke an unwritten Jim Crow law, when he whistled at a white woman. The two white men were quickly acquitted by an all-white jury, sparking controversy, and mobilizing the Civil Rights movement.
Rosa Parks Triggers a Mass Movement
Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. Martin Luther King, Jr. spearheaded the resulting Montgomery bus boycott.
Little Rock Central High School Integregation
As part of the initiative to integrate schools, nine black students were sent to Little Rock Central High School, and were faced with severe animosity and violence in an effort to keep the nine students out of the school. The governor of Arkansas called upon the National Guard to prevent integration at the school. This required president Eisenhower to send federal and national guard troops to intervene.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference Formed
Martin Luther King, Jr., and others founded the SCLC to assist and organize local groups pressing for full equality of African Americans.
Sit-in Movement Spreads Through the South
In February 1960, a new and dramatic phase of the black protest movement began in the South. A group of students in Greensboro, North Carolina staged a sit-in to demand service at segregated lunch counters and refused to leave when they were ignored. Sit-ins immediately spread throughout the southern states, and "marked the first time that Negroes in the South had asserted themselves in a mass movement to end discrimination."
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Created
Two months after the sit-ins in Greensboro, SNCC was formed at Shaw University in Raleigh to coordinate the use of nonviolence to respond to segregation and other forms of racism.
Freedom Riders Challenge Segregation
An integrated group of travelers began a bus trip through the South to declare their intention to defy segregated bus seating and terminal restrictions.
University of Mississippi Admits James Meredith, its First African American Student
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the University of Mississippi must Admit James Meredith, its first African American student.
Cesar Chavez Begins the Struggle for Unionization of Migrant Farm Workers
Cesar Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America.
Cuban Missile Crisis
Confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, surrounding Soviet deployment of missiles in Cuba, brought the 2 nations close to a nuclear war.
Birmingham, Alabama - Center of the Civil Rights Movement
Birmingham, Alabama was the scene of demonstrations led by Martin Luther King, Jr., which resulted in hundreds of arrests and brutal repression by local police who attacked young demonstrators with police dogs and fire hoses.King was imprisoned and a group of eight influential Birmingham clergy, including two Episcopal bishops, issued a statement deploring the demonstrations and condemning Kings actions as "unwise and untimely." In response, King wrote his famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail," in which he not only answered his critics but voiced great disappointment with the "white church and its leadership."
Medgar Evers Assassinated
Evers, the Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP, was shot and killed in front of his home.
16th Street Baptist Church Bombings
A bomb set by the Ku Klux Klan at a Baptist church in Birmingham exploded, killing four girls attending Sunday school. In 1977, one bomber was convicted of the crime.
President Kennedy Assassinated
In December, U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.
In an attempt to end the political disenfranchisement of African American in the deep South, CORE, NAACP, and SNCC sponsored a voter registration campaign during the summer of 1964. Volunteers concentrated their efforts in Mississippi.
Mississippi Civil Rights Workers are Murdered
Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney were volunteering during Freedom Summer in Philadelphia, Mississippi when they were abducted and killed. In 1967, Edgar Killen was among 19 people who faced federal charges for the crime. Killens case ended in a mistrial while 7 others were convicted of conspiracy. The case was reopened in 2005 in which Killen was found guilty of manslaughter. He has appealed the verdict and is awaiting a hearing.
Congress Passes Civil Rights Bill
On July 2, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the civil rights legislation into law. The bill was supported by religious groups across the country. Episcopal laity and clergy lobbied for months in support of its passage. Presiding Bishop Arthur C. Lichtenberger commended the legislation.
Malcolm X Assassinated
Muslim leader Malcolm X was assassinated in Harlem by three members of the Nation of Islam - Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson.
King Leads March to Montgomery
Martin Luther King, Jr. issued a nationwide call for "men of good will" to come to Selma, to join in the campaign and to focus national attention on their effort. Thousands of clergy, religious, and lay people responded to his call. Several bishops of the Episcopal Church spent time in Selma. Thousands joined the march as it drew closer to Montgomery. On March 25, a crowd of tens of thousands rallied in front of the state capitol, where Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed them. Hundreds of Episcopal clergy took part in the last stages of the march. The demonstrations, which reached their peak in the March to Montgomery, were the last major actions of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
Voting Rights Act Passed
The federal government passed the Voting Rights Act so that southern states would not be able to enforce discriminatory practices such as literacy tests in order to prevent African Americans from voting.
34 Killed in Watts Riots
In August, the worst rioting in the United States swept the Watts area of Los Angeles, leaving 34 dead.
Hurricane Betsy Hits
Hurricane Betsy caused enormous damage in the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana during the 1965 Atlantic hurricane season. Significant flooding occurred in New Orleans.
The Vietnam War
President Johnson committed massive American military aid to the South Vietnamese government. Most civil rights leaders supported him. Martin Luther King spoke against the war, while most white Americans supported the president. The disapproval conveyed by King and the more militant groups increased backlash sentiment.
Black Power Movement Gains Momentum
Heated dissension began over goals, tactics, and the participation of whites in the coalition of major civil rights groups. The Black Panthers, a militant organization, was founded in Oakland by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton.Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokely Carmichael, and others attempted to preserve a united facade. During a rally in Greenwood, Mississippi, Carmichael introduced the slogan "Black Power" as their goal. It replaced the goal of integration with a new objective - self-determination - and became the frame of reference for the Freedom Movement. In retrospect, ESCRU President John Morris viewed the Black Power movement as "tragic historically, practically unattainable, morally and theologically unacceptable, but probably inevitable and possibly, necessary."
Che Guevara Murdered
Communist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara was murdered in the jungles of Bolivia at the age of 39.
Muhammad Ali Refuses Induction into Armed Services
Muhammad Ali was stripped of his title and barred from the boxing ring.
Loving vs. Virginia
The Supreme Court declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute unconstitutional, ending all race-based legal restriction on marriage in the United States.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassinated
Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots followed in at least 125 cities across the grieving nation.
Man on the Moon
U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon.
Kent State Shootings
Students protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia were shot by the Ohio National Guard. Four students died and nine others were wounded. The event triggered student strikes across the country and forced many universities to close temporarily. Many years later, some viewed it as the beginning of the end of the Nixon administration.
La Raza Unida Party Formed
La Raza Unida Party was formed to empower and unite Mexican-Americans.
Cointelpro was an acronym for "counter intelligence program" and was designed by the FBI to neutralize political dissidents. More than 200 operations were conducted between 1956-1971 before the programs were officially discontinued in April of 1971 after public exposure and outcry. Targets included Martin Luther Kings Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Ku Klux Klan, the Black Panthers, and the Communist Party.
Equal Employment Opportunity Act
The U.S. government created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which possessed investigatory powers and the Civil Services Commission, which ensured there were no discriminatory practices in federal government employment.
Watergate Scandal Breaks
U.S. political scandal led to the eventual resignation of President Nixon in 1974.
Arthur Ashe Wins Singles Title at Wimbledon
Arthur Ashe became the first African American to win the Wimbledon title.
Alex Haleys Roots: the Saga of an American Family Debuts
Roots became one of the most popular shows in the history of American television.
U.S. Hostage Crisis in Iran
66 hostages, diplomats, and citizens were held by the new Iranian regime for 444 days. Many saw the hostage crisis as the event that kept President Carter from winning re-election to the office of the president.
The Cosby Show Becomes One of the Most Popular Comedies in Television History
The Cosby Show was a family comedy popular with both black and white audiences.
Space Shuttle Challenger Explodes
The space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launch.
The worlds worst nuclear power accident occurred in the former USSR (Ukraine). More than 200,000 people were evacuated from the city and surrounding areas and had to be resettled when the nuclear power plant exploded creating clouds of radioactive particles.
Civil Liberties Act Passed
This United States federal law granted reparations to Japanese-American survivors of the World War II internment camps. Each survivor was compensated approximately $20,000 and received a presidential apology.
Tiananmen Square Demonstration
A large student demonstration for democratic reform, denouncing corruption and economic instability, was suppressed by the Chinese government. Estimates of civilian deaths varied widely from 400 to 7,000.
Fall of Berlin Wall
The fall of the wall separating East and West Berlin and the subsequent reunification of Germany symbolized the end of the Cold War.
End of Apartheid in South Africa
The end of apartheid, institutionalized racism, was enforced by the white minority government of South Africa.
Los Angeles Race Riots
Los Angeles police officers were acquitted of using excessive force in the beating of Rodney King, a case that was largely publicized due to the subsequent television broadcast of the beating on videotape. Riots broke out in Los Angeles in response to the verdict. Fifty to sixty people were killed, and 1,100 buildings were destroyed by fires.
Toni Morrison Receives the Nobel Prize for Literature
Toni Morrison also won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel, Beloved.
The September 11th World Trade Center Attack
Islamic fundamentalist terrorists hijacked planes targeting the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, killing approximately 3,000.
U.S.A. Patriot Act and War on Terrorism
The U.S. government granted expanded law enforcement abilities for the F.B.I. to search for potential terrorists including those within the United States, in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11.
Barack Obama is Elected to the U.S. Senate
Barack Obama became the third African American to serve on the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.
Hurricane Katrina Hits the Atlantic Coast
Catastrophic damage was caused along the coastlines of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina was the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes to ever hit the United States. The flooding of New Orleans disproportionately affected the black community there.
Coretta Scott King Dies
Widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. died on January 30.