1619 - Twenty Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, aboard a Dutch ship. They were the first blacks to be forcibly settled as involuntary laborers in the North American British Colonies.
1739 - The Cato revolt, also known as the Stono Rebellion, was the first serious disturbance among slaves. After killing more than 25 whites, most of the rebels, led by a slave named Cato, were rounded up as they tried to escape to Florida. More than 30 blacks were executed as participants.
1777 - George Washington reversed previous policy and allowed the recruitment of blacks as soldiers. Some 5,000 would participate on the American side before the end of the Revolution.
1829 - The first National Negro Convention met in Philadelphia.
1857 - The Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court denied that blacks were citizens of the United States and denied the power of Congress to restrict slavery in any federal territory.
1865 - 13th Amendment, abolition of slavery, was passed by Congress.
1868 - 14th Amendment was passed extending liberties and rights granted by the Bill of Rights to former slaves.
1896 - In Plessy v. Ferguson the Supreme Court upheld a Lousiana state law that allowed for "equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races."
1918 - The First Pan-African Congress met in Paris, France, under the guidance of W. E. B. Du Bois.
1922 - 1929 - These are the years usually assigned to the Harlem Renaissance.
1937 - Joe Louis defeated James J. Braddock to become heavyweight boxing champion of the world.
1947 - Jackie Robinson became the first black to play major league baseball.
1954 - In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court completed overturning legal school segregation at all levels.
1955 - Rosa Parks refused to change seats in a Montgomery, Alabama, bus. On December 5 blacks began a boycott of the bus system which continued until shortly after December 13, 1956, when the United States Supreme Court outlawed bus segregation in the city.
1963 - The March on Washington was the largest civil rights demonstration ever. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.
1964 - Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal. This document was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.
1965 - Voting Rights Act outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.
1965 - Malcolm X assassinated in Harlem by members of the Nation of Islam.
1968 - Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In the following week riots occurred in at least 125 places throughout the country.
1969 - The Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools had to end at once and that unitary school systems were required.
2008 - Barack Obama is elected the 44th president of the United States and the first black U.S. president. In his acceptance speech in Chicago's Grant Park later that evening, Obama said, "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."
2012 - Barack Obama is re-elected president of the United States.