1. In 1836, Theo Wright became the first Black to obtain Theology Degree in the US.
2. In 1867, The first Reconstruction Constitutional Convention took place in Montgomery, Ala. In attendance were 90 whites and 18 blacks. Reconstruction would bring forth a period of tremendous political and educational advancement for ex-slaves after the Civil War. But Reconstruction was significantly undermined by the Hayes-Tilden Compromise of 1877 and the beginning of the anti-black Jim Crow period.
3. In 1926, Negro History Week is started by black historian Carter G. Woodson. It would later grow into the current Black History Month which takes place each February in the United States. In England Black History Month takes place in October. Woodson (1875 – 1950) is recognized as the “Father of Black History Month.”
4. In 1956, The Nat King Cole Show, the first black-hosted network television variety show, debuted. The show began with just 15 minutes and later expanded to half-an-hour but was pulled in 1957 for lack of advertiser support. The last episode aired on December 17, 1957. Commenting on the lack of sponsorship, Cole said shortly after its demise, “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.”
5. In 1968, Louis Stokes was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
6. In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York’s 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In the 1972 United States presidential election, she became the first African-American candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
7. In 1974, Walter Washington became the first elected mayor of Washington, D.C. as the predominantly black city gained limited voting rights.Congress.
8. In 1974, George Brown became the first Black Lt. Governor in US (Colorado).
9. In 1989, the Civil Rights Memorial was dedicated in Montgomery, Alabama. The Civil Rights Memorial honors the achievements and memory of those who died during the Civil Rights Movement, a period framed by the momentous Brown v. Board decision in 1954 and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968. The memorial serves as a vehicle for education and reflection about the struggle for equality.