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 Amendment outlawing slavery.
1866--Congress passes 14th Amendment 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 Amendment 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 disenfranchise 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--Colombian Exposition in Chicago: Frederick Douglass headquarters at Haitian Pavilion with Paul Lawrence Dunbar as his assistant; Dahomey Village inspired IN DAHOMEY, a Broadway show by Bert Williams and George 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 upon 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 Philippines 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 Harper's 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.
Labels: Jim Crow, Lynching, Plessy v. Ferguson, Reconstruction, Spanish American War, The Souls of Black Folk, WEB Du Bois, Wilmington Massacre, World's Fairs
I am a writer and a professor of English at the City College of New York, and the CUNY Graduate Center. My books include Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (1979), Invisibility Blues (1990), Black Popular Culture (1992), and Dark Designs and Visual Culture (2005). I write cultural criticism frequently and am currently working on a project on creativity and feminism among the women in my family, some of which is posted on the Soul Pictures blog.