Early 20th Century African American History

This is a general timeline of African American history in the United States during the early years of the 20th century.

The information for this timeline was drawn from the Library of Congress "Timeline of African American History": http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aap/timelin3.html. To view the 3D version of this timeline, click "Continue", THEN click the white "3d" button on the lower left corner of the screen.

1901-03-04 00:00:00

Last black congressman gives up seat

George H. White gave up his seat in Congress on March 4th. No African American would serve in Congress for the next 28 years.

1901-10-16 00:00:00

BTW dines at the White House

After an afternoon meeting at the White House with Washington, President Theodore Roosevelt informally invited him to remain and eat dinner. Washington obliged, becoming the first African American to dine at the White House with the president.

1903-04-27 00:00:00

The Souls of Black Folk published

The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois's celebrated book, was published on April 27th. In it, Du Bois rejected the gradualism of Booker T. Washington, calling for agitation on behalf of African American rights.

1904-10-03 00:00:00

Mary McLeod Bethune founds school

On October 3rd, Mary McLeod Bethune founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. The school would later become Bethune-Cookman University.

1905-07-11 00:00:00

The Niagara Movement

On July 11 - July 13, African American intellectuals and activists, led by W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter, cam together and began the Niagara Movement. The movement lasted for approximately six years.

1906-08-13 10:06:02

The Brownsville Affair

In Brownsville, Texas, a shooting at a bar in town was attributed to black soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Brown - despite the fact that no blacks were in town at the time of the shooting. Black soldiers were questioned, but since they were unable to provide any information about the incident, on November 6th, President Theodore Roosevelt summarily discharged without honor three companies of black soldiers - 167 in all -- without any trial or hearing.

1909-02-12 04:32:27

N. A. A. C. P. is formed

On February 12th, the centennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, a national appeal led to the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP is an interracial organization formed to promote use of the courts to restore the legal rights of African Americans.

1910-10-01 04:32:27

National Urban League is founded

In October, the National Urban League was organized to help African Americans secure equal employment.

1910-11-01 04:32:27

The Crisis Magazine is established

The first issue of The Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP, debuted on November 1, 1910. W. E. B. Du Bois served as editor of the magazine for 24 years.

1910-12-19 04:32:27

Segregated Neighborhoods

On December 19th, the City Council of Baltimore approved the first city ordinance in the nation that designated the boundaries of black and white neighborhoods. The ordinance was followed by similar ones in Dallas (TX), Greensboro (NC), Louisville (KY), Norfolk (VA), Oklahoma City (OK), Richmond (VA), Roanoke (VA), and St. Louis (MO).

1913-03-10 20:12:04

Harriet Tubman dies

Harriet Tubman -- former slave, abolitionist, Civil War veteran, and freedom fighter -- died in Auburn, New York, on March 10th.

1913-04-11 04:32:27

Federal Segregation

On April 11th, the administration of President Woodrow Wilson began government-wide segregation of work places, rest rooms, and lunch rooms.

1915-11-14 20:12:04

Booker T. Washington dies

Renowned African American leader Booker T. Washington died from high blood pressure in Tuskegee, Alabama, on November 14th.

1917-07-01 18:25:16

The East St. Louis Riot

One of the bloodiest race riots in the nation's history took place in East St. Louis, Illinois, from July 1st through July 3rd. A Congressional committee reported that up to 200 people were killed, hundreds more were injured, and 6,000 African Americans were driven from their homes by white rioters.

1919-04-01 18:25:16

"Red Summer" of 1919

In the summer and fall of 1919, approximately 26 race riots occurred in American cities throughout the North and South.

1920-08-01 18:25:16

Marcus Garvey and the UNIA

On August 1st, Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (U. N. I. A.) held its first national convention in the traditionally black neighborhood of Harlem in New York City. At the height of its popularity, Garvey's black nationalist movement had hundreds of thousands of supporters (called "Garveyites").

1921-05-31 18:25:16

Tulsa Race Riot

On May 31st and June1st, a race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, claimed the lives of many. Estimates on the number dead range from 60 to 300 blacks. Whites looted and burned countless businesses and homes in the then-prosperous black community (known as Greenwood).

1921-06-30 16:51:19


The references listed below were used in the creation of this interactive animated timeline.

Early 20th Century African American History

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