Black History Month: Dates that have shaped American history

Rosa Parks (Courtesy photograph)

Jan. 22, 2021 – Lloyd Austin confirmed as Defense Secretary, becomes first Black Pentagon chief

Jan. 20, 2021 – Kamala Harris is sworn in as the first Black female vice president

2020 – Protests begin across the country following the death of George Floyd while in police custody

2013 – Black Lives Matter Movement begins

2008 – Barack Obama inaugurated as first African American President

2001 – Colin Powell named Secretary of State

1995 – Million Man March

1992 – Los Angeles riots prompted by beating of Rodney King at the hands of Los Angeles police officers

1988 – Jesse Jackson runs for the Democratic presidential nomination again

1986 – Oprah’s first talk show is aired

1984 – Jesse Jackson runs for the Democratic presidential nomination

1972 – Shirley Chisholm runs for president

April 4, 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tenn.

April 1968 – Fair Housing Act

August 1965 – Voting Rights Act of 1965

1965 – Selma to Montgomery March

June 1964 – Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress

August 28, 1963 – Martin Luther King Jr. leads historic march on Washington and delivers “I Have a Dream” speech

1957 – Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, forcibly integrated

1955 – Montgomery Bus Boycott follows Rosa Parks’ refusal to surrender her seat

1954 – Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education declares segregation in public schools unlawful

1925-1965 – Malcolm X, a leader for civil rights, inspired the Black Power movement. He was murdered while giving a speech Feb. 21, 1965

1909 – NAACP founded

1896 – Separate but equal segregation or “Jim Crow” laws upheld by Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson

1870 – 15th Amendment guarantees a citizen’s right to vote regardless race, color, or previous enslavement

1868 – 14th Amendment grants equal Constitutional protection to former slaves

1865 – 13th Amendment officially abolishes slavery

Jan. 1, 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation

1861 – Civil War began

Oct. 16, 1859 – John Brown’s Raid saw roughly 50 men take and hold a federal arsenal in Virginia, with a goal of acquiring enough ammunition to take on slaveholders in the region

March 6 1857 – Scott v. Sanford, Supreme Court case in which Dred Scott sued for (but did not win) his freedom

1830-1870 – Abolitionist Movement works to end slavery in the United States

1818-1895 – Frederick Douglass escaped slavery to become an activist, author and public speaker.

1793 – Cotton became a cash crop in the South, fueling a rise in slave labor

1780s-1830s – Underground Railroad works to aid slaves in escaping to freedom

1619 – The year the first enslaved Africans were brought by boat to Virginia

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