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Black History in the U.S.

Readers can celebrate and discover Black history in the U.S. with a selection of historical and cultural events, landmark laws and judicial cases that changed the lives of Black people, influential Black people through history, and a sampling of interesting museums and historic landmarks:

Shirley Chisholm


  • Important and Famous African Americans - Learn about people from the earliest times in U.S. history, from 1700s astronomer Benjamin Banneker to jazz great Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong to one of the fastest baseball players ever, Cool Papa Bell, to Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to serve in Congress to former president Barack Obama.

  • Black History Month - To celebrate the contributions made by African Americans throughout America’s history, Cater G. Woodson introduced Negro History Week in 1926. Disturbed by the omission of their role in history, Dr. W... Continue Reading
  • Creole Affair - In the fall of 1841, the slave ship Creole sailed from Virginia for New Orleans, carrying a crew of 19 and 135 slaves.... Continue Reading
  • Abolitionism - The abolitionist movement called for the end of the institution of slavery and had existed in one form or another since colonial times; the early case had been stated most consistently by the Quakers.... Continue Reading
  • Colored Farmers’ Alliance - Following Reconstruction, black farmers faced the same economic problems as the whites—low prices, growing debt and spiraling interest rates.... Continue Reading
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 in New York City by a group of bi-racial activists.... Continue Reading
  • Tulsa Race Massacre - As Black veterans returned to the U.S. after World War I in the late 1910s, many anticipated new respect from white Americans after serving nobly overseas. By 1919, some 500,000 Black people had migra... Continue Reading
  • Kansas City Monarchs
  • Negro Leagues - The legacy the Negro Leagues is one of courage, perseverance, and strength to overcome the oppressive racial segregation and volatile times of the era. Conversely, by losing its stars to the Major Lea... Continue Reading
  • Tuskegee Airmen - Due to its policy of racial segregation and the widespread attitude opposed to any blacks being allowed to fly, it was difficult even as World War II loomed for black Americans to enlist and become mi... Continue Reading
  • Civil Rights Movement - Rapid expansion of civil liberties and rights in America occurred during the last half of the 20th century.... Continue Reading
  • Combahee River Collective - The Combahee River Collective was an influential Black feminist organization formed in Boston, Massachusetts, active from 1974-1980. The Collective was “one of the earliest explorations of the inters... Continue Reading

  • Dred Scott Case - The background of the Dred Scott decision, one of the Supreme Court’s most controversial pronouncements, is complex.... Continue Reading
  • 13th Amendment to Constitution - Section 1.... Continue Reading
  • 15th Amendment to Constitution - Section 1.... Continue Reading
  • Background of the 15th Amendment - The 15th Amendment was the last of the “Reconstruction Amendments” to be adopted.... Continue Reading
  • Rosa Parks
  • The Black Codes - In 1865 and 1866, state governments in the South enacted laws designed to regulate the lives of the former slaves.... Continue Reading
  • Jim Crow Laws - Jim Crow Laws were statutes and ordinances established between 1874 and 1975 to separate the white and black races in the American South.... Continue Reading
  • Plessy v. Ferguson - The landmark 1896 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, upheld racial segregation.... Continue Reading
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 - The Civil Rights Act of 1964, was a watershed piece of legislation that “outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Originally conceived to protect the rights of... Continue Reading
  • Affirmative Action - Affirmative Action began as a plan to equalize the educational, employment, and contracting opportunities for minorities and women with opportunities given to their white, male counterparts. The polic... Continue Reading

  • Albany Civil Rights Museum - The Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum is a historical museum located just south of downtown Albany, Georgia. Its mission is to commemorate the 1960s Civil Rights Movement in Albany and southwest Geo... Continue Reading
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Banneker-Douglass Museum - Banneker-Douglass Museum is an African-American heritage museum located at 84 Franklin Street, in Annapolis, Maryland.... Continue Reading
  • American Jazz Museum - The American Jazz Museum presents the original form of jazz through research, exhibition, education and performance. The museum, located at Kansas City, Missouri, is the premier jazz museum of the Uni... Continue Reading
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
    Washington, DC www.si.edu/museums/african-american-museum

  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
    Cincinnati, Ohio www.freedomcenter.org

  • National Voting Rights Museum and Institute
    Selma, Alabama www.nvrmi.com

  • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
    Kansas City, Missouri www.nlbm.com

  • The Studio Museum
    Harlem, New York www.studiomuseum.org

  • National Museum of African American Music
    Nashville, Tennessee www.nmaam.org

  • Northwest African American Museum
    Seattle, Washington www.naamnw.org

  • California African American Museum
    Los Angeles www.caamuseum.org