African American Time Line--First Draft

This "Afro-American Monument" is a composite of thirteen scenes portraying African American history from 1619 and the landing of the first blacks at Jamestown to 1897.  Crispus Attuck's name is mispelled as Christopher.  This was a poster to commemorate African American advancement at yet another world's fair,  the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in Nashville in 1897.  This would have been two years after Washington's successful speech encouraging the peaceful and separate co-existence of the races at the Cotton Exposition in 1895 in Atlanta.  

A picture of the "Negro Exposition Building" (presumably segregated) is featured on the lower, right hand side of the poster.  From the Library of Congress Collection of Prints and Photographs.

1861--Southern States form Confederacy in response to election of Abraham Lincoln as President.  Civil War begins.

**Confederate States/Territories:
Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, California, Louisiana, Indian (later Oklahoma) and New Mexico Territories--a total of 14

**Union States/Territories:
New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, West Virginia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Rhode Island, Maryland, District of Columbia, Washington, Utah, Nebraska and Colorado Territories--a total of 28

1863--Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves in Confederate "rebellious" states "forever free." 
186,000 African Americans enlist during the final two years of the Civil War.

1865--Unions wins the Civil War.  Lincoln assassinated.  Southern states enact "Black Codes."  Congress passes 13th Ammendment outlawing slavery. 

1866--Congress passes 14th Ammendment granting citizenship to African Americans.  Reconstruction begins. Ku Klux Klan formed in Tennessee.  Congress authorizes four black units to fight Indians in the West.  Dubbed "Buffalo Soldiers" by Native Americans.

1868--W.E.B. Du Bois born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts only child of Alfred Du Bois and Mary Silvina Burghardt.  

1869--Congress passes 15th Ammendment giving black men the vote.

1870-1871 Congress passes Federal Ku Klux Klan Acts to protect black voters.

1875--The State of Tennessee is the first to institute Jim Crow (segregation) Law.

1877--Federal Troops withdraw from the South; Reconstruction ends. 

1880--60,000 "exodusters" leave Nashville for Kansas to escape Jim Crow.  

1880--Slavery abolished in Cuba.

1884--European nations convene in Berlin and divide the continent of Africa into colonies.

1884--Du Bois graduates from high school, the only black student in a class of 13.

1888--Slavery abolished in Brazil.

1890--Du Bois awarded B.A. cum laude in philosophy at Harvard.  Begins graduate school at Harvard in political science.  Frances Harper publishes her novel IOLA LEROY. 

1890-- (Jim Crow Law) Segregation is made law in the state of Mississippi.  Begins to use literacy tests to disenfrancise black voters.

1892--Du Bois visits 12 year old Helen Keller (blind and deaf child) at her school in Boston with the philosopher and Harvard Professor William James (brother of Henry James). 

1892--Ida B. Wells begins her anti-lynching campaign in response to the lynching of three of her friends in Memphis, Tennessee.

1893--Columbian Exposition in Chicago: Frederick Douglass headquarters at Haitian Pavillion with Paul Lawrence Dunbar as his assistant; Dahomey Village inspired IN DAHOMEY, a Broadway show by Bert Williams and tk Walker; the debut of Nancy Green as Aunt Jemima, the pancake queen.  Henry O. Tanner's "The Banjo Lesson" is included in the American art exhibition.

1895--Atlanta Compromise speech by Booker T. Washington at the Cotton Exposition, describing racial segregation as an opportunity and black suffrage as not yet necessary.  Du Bois who is the first black man to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard in this same year, writes Washington a note: "Let me heartily congratulate you uon your phenomenal success at Atlanta--it was a word fitly spoken."

1896--(Jim Crow) Segregation made law in the state of Louisiana.  Plessy v. Ferguson, U.S. Supreme Court upholds Jim Crow Law as constitutional.  

The decision stated, "The object of the 14th Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the war, but in the nature of things it could not have intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either."

1897--Du Bois helps to found the American Negro Academy.  Delivers address, "The Conservation of Races," calling on American blacks to serve as the "advance guard" of black racial development globally "and to maintain a separate identity within American society." Becomes professor of economics and history at Atlanta University.

1898--Spanish American War.  Black soldiers played a major role in the winning of the Battle at San Juan Hill, which ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.  The U.S. victory against the Spanish led to the American possession of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Phillippines and the Caroline islands, in one of the most poorly understood episodes in U.S. history. 

1898--Wilmington Massacre, in which Dixie Democrats violently remove Republicans from office and prevent blacks from voting.

1899--Charles Chesnutt's THE MARROW OF TRADITION published.  Portrays in a novel the Wilmington Massacre.

1899--Sam Hose accused of murder and lynched in Atlanta.  Du Bois recognizes that activism is unavoidable. 

1900--Segregation (Jim Crow Law) begins in Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.  

1900--WEB Du Bois travels by steerage to the Universelle Exposition in Paris to install the Exhibition on the Progress of African Americans. Receives gold medal.  Attends first Pan-African Conference in London, and delivers speech in which he first says, "the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line."

1900--Pauline Hopkins writes and edits THE COLORED AMERICAN, an illustrated African American journal, in Boston.  She also publishes her novel CONTENDING FORCES.

1901--Article defending the Freedmen's Bureau, which will later become a chapter in SOULS is published in the Atlantic Monthly in March.*

1903--WEB Du Bois publishes THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK, which brings him to national prominence and makes public his opposition to Washington's views. 

1906--In homage to John Brown, the Niagara Movement first meets at Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.  

Detail from racist postcard from Rare Books, Manuscripts and Special Collections Library, Duke University, p. xii in THE RISE AND FALL OF JIM CROW by Richard Wormser, Companion Volume to PBS Series, St. Martins Press 2003.

1903-1909--Jim Crow practices (segregation) spread from Kansas to Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and New Jersey.  

1898-1909--Major race riots in Atlanta, Georgia; Wilmington, NC; Ft. Riley, Kansas, New Orleans, Louisiana; Ft Riley, Illinois, Greensburg, Indiana, Springfield, Ohio; New York, NY.

1889-1918--Blacks were lynched in almost every state. 

1909--NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is founded in order to attack segregation, lynching and race riots.  Du Bois hired as Director of Publications and Research.  Moves to New York to found, edit and write THE CRISIS, the monthly magazine of the NAACP.

1910--National Urban League founded to direct migrants from the South to jobs, housing and education.

1912--Jelly Roll Morton publishes his first song, "The Jelly Roll Blues."

1913--Du Bois writes and stages THE STAR OF ETHIOPIA, a pageant celebrating black history to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the emancipation.

1914--Du Bois supports women's suffrage in CRISIS editorial.

1915--NAACP campaigns actively against the public exhibition of THE BIRTH OF A NATION.  

"Let us while this war lasts, forget our special grievances and close our ranks shoulder to shoulder with our white fellow citizens and the allied nations that are fighting for democracy." 

1917-1919--More than 400,000 served in the United States Army during WWI

1920--Negro National Baseball Leagued founded.

1920--500,000 blacks leave the rural South for the North.  The Great Migration begins.

1923--Jean Toomer publishes CANE.

1926--Langston Hughes publishes THE WEARY BLUES.

1929--Stock Market Crash.  The Depression begins.  The Nation of Islam formed in Detroit.

1932--Black voters switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party, in time to vote for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the architect of the New Deal.  

1935--Zora Neale Hurston publishes MULES AND MEN.

1937--Zora Neale Hurston publishes THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD.

1940--The War Department begins to train black pilots at Tuskeegee University in Alabama.

1944--701,678 African Americans in the U.S. Army.

1945-1947--Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Dizzy Gillespie pioneer "bebop" jazz at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem.

1947--Richard Wright publishes 12 MILLION BLACK VOICES.

1948--President Harry S. Truman integrates the U.S. armed forces.

1954--U.S. Supreme Court declares segregation unconstitutional in the public schools in the case of Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

1954--Gwendolyn Brooks publishes MAUD MARTHA.

1955--Emmett Till (14 years old0 lynched in Money, Alabama for whistling at a white woman.

1955--Montgomery Bus Boycott begins after Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man.  The one year boycott is led by Martin Luther King Jr.

1959--Berry Gordy founds Motown Records in Detroit, Michigan.

1960--Sit Ins begin in Greensboro, North Carolina.

1963--March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr., 250,000 people.
President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

1963--Leroi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) published BLUES PEOPLE.

1965--Malcolm X assassinated in New York City at the Audobon Ballroom.

1968--MLK assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

*Notes on Du Bois prepared by Nathan Huggins in Library of America edition of SOULS OF BLACK FOLK.

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