1. In 1774, Rhode Island prohibits the importation of slaves, the first state to do so.
2. In 1840, The World’s Anti-Slavery Convention convenes in London, England. Among those in attendance will be African American Charles Remond, who will refuse to be seated at the meeting when he and the other delegates learn that women are being segregated in the gallery.
3. In 1866, The House of Representatives passes the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing civil rights for African Americans.
4. In 1868, Ex-slave Oscar T. Dunn is installed as Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. It is the highest executive office held by an African American at that time.
5. In 1870, Richard T. Greener becomes the first African American to graduate from Harvard University.
6. In 1876, The first known monument erected by African Americans to honor one of our heroes is dedicated to Richard Allen in Philadelphia’s Fairmont park.
7. In 1886, The Georgia State Supreme Court sustained the will of the late David Dickson, thus making Amanda Eubanks the wealthiest Negro in America. Dickson, a former slaveholder, willed more than half a million dollars to Eubanks. White relatives of Dickson, a bachelor, had contested the will on the grounds that it was illegal for a white man to leave property to his black illegitimate children.
8. In 1893, Thomas W. Stewart, an inventor from Kalamazoo, Michigan, patented a new type of mop (U.S. patent #499,402) on June 11, 1893. Thanks to his invention of a clamping device that could wring water out of the mop by using a lever, floor cleaning was not nearly the chore it once was.
9. In 1935, Ella Fitzgerald records her first record for Brunswick Records. The songs on the record were “Love and Kisses” and “I’ll Chase the Blues Away”. She is featured with Chick Webb and his band. Ella is 17 years old at the time and will conduct the Webb band for three years following his death in 1939.
10. In 1961, The Hinds County Mississippi Board of Supervisors announces that more than one hundred “Freedom Riders” had been arrested.
11. In 1963, Civil rights group demonstrated at Harlem construction sites to Protest discrimination in building trades unions. Demonstrations and marches were held in metropolitan areas in June, July and August to dramatize discontent over housing, school and job discrimination.
12. In 1963, Medgar W. Evers (37), NAACP field secretary, assassinated in front of his Jackson, Mississippi home. Evers was gunned down in his driveway during the height of the civil rights movement. He was 37 years old. Byron De La Beckwith was convicted in 1994 of his murder after two previous trials in 1964 ended in hung juries. Beckwith died in prison in 2001.
13. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appoints U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Thurgood Marshall to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Tom C. Clark. On August 30, after a heated debate, the Senate will confirm Marshall’s nomination by a vote of 69 to 11. Two days later, he will be sworn in by Chief Justice Earl Warren, making him the first African American in history to sit on America’s highest court.
14. In 1967, The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a Virginia miscegenation law (marriage or cohabitation between whites and non-whites). This decision establishes that no state law can prohibit interracial marriages.
15. In 1972, The National Black MBA Association is incorporated. An organization of over 2,000 minority holders of advanced business degrees, the organization’s mission is to assist the entry of interested minorities into the business community.
16. In 1977, The convicted assassin of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Earl Ray, is recaptured following his escape three days earlier from a Tennessee prison.
17. In 1981, Larry Holmes defends his heavyweight boxing title by earning a third-round TKO (technical knockout) over Leon Spinks in Detroit, Michigan.
18. In 1989, Kareem Abdul Jabbar plays in his final NBA game as the Detroit Pistons sweep the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA title.
19. In 1989, The U.S. Supreme Court expands the abilities of white males to challenge court-approved affirmative action plans, even years after they take effect.
20. In 1990, Bernadette Locke becomes the first female on-court men’s basketball coach when she is named assistant coach of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team.
21. In 1990, The United Nations calls on South Africa to free Nelson Mandela.
22. In 1991, Michael Jordan lead Chicago Bulls in win over L.A. Lakers in five games to capture his first NBA Championship.
23. In 1995, Dr. Lonnie Bristow takes helm 1st Black President of American Mediacal Association.
24. In 1995, The Supreme Court deals a potentially crippling blow to federal affirmative action programs, ruling Congress was limited by the same strict standards as states in offering special help to minorities.