Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
African American World
Search:
Find what you need on PBS and NPR
Timeline Reference Room Kids Classroom Community Resources
Channels
history
arts & culture
race & society
profiles
Tuskegee Airmen







Timeline: Building Democracy (1866 - 1955)
Early Days & Slavery A segregated school in the early 1900s.
Building Democracy
Civil Rights Era
Modern Times

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
1939
Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American actor to win an Academy Award, for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.

NPR Learn More: Hattie McDaniel Memorial
From Morning Edition
1400
Singer Marian Anderson is denied permission by the Daughters of the American Revolution to sing at their hall in Washington, D.C., because she is African American. Anderson performs at the Lincoln Memorial instead, before an audience of 75,000.

NPR Learn More: Marian Anderson's Lincoln Memorial Concert
From Weekend Edition

PBS Learn More: Marian Anderson Profile
From American Experience: Eleanor Roosevelt

1400
Richard Wright publishes Native Son, a fierce protest novel about race relations in America that becomes a major bestseller.

PBS Learn More: Richard Wright
From Black Boy

1400
Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., becomes the first African American general in the U.S. Army.

1940-1941
Painter Jacob Lawrence mounts a 60-painting exhibition, "Migration of the Negro," that depicts the migration of southern blacks to northern cities. The paintings will rank as among the greatest works in African American art.

NPR Learn More: Profile of Jacob Lawrence
From Morning Edition

PBS Learn More: Remembering Jacob Lawrence
From The Online NewsHour

1400
The role of African Americans in the military expands as the U.S. enters World War II.

PBS Learn More: One Nation, One Army
From The Online NewsHour

1400
The first training program for African American pilots is established at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen serve heroically in World War II.

NPR Learn More: Tuskegee Airmen Museum
From The Tavis Smiley Show
1400
The interracial Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) is formed in Chicago. It will become famous for organizing the Freedom Rides of 1961.

NPR Learn More: C.O.R.E. Reunion
From All Things Considered
1400
Paul Robeson opens on Broadway in the title role in Shakespeare's "Othello," which will break records for number of consecutive performances.

NPR Learn More: Paul Robeson Remembered
From Fresh Air

PBS Learn More: Paul Robeson
From American Masters

1400
Singer Lena Horne and dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson appear in the all-black musical film Stormy Weather.

PBS Learn More: Lena Horne
From American Masters

1400
Writer Rayford Logan edits What the Negro Wants, an anthology of 14 essays by prominent African Americans demanding racial equality.

1400
Ebony, a magazine about African American life and achievements, is founded and becomes an instant success.

1400
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he will serve 11 consecutive terms.

1947
Baseball great Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American to break the color barrier and be allowed to play in the major leagues

NPR Learn More: The Lords of Baseball, Revisited
From Morning Edition

PBS Learn More: Jackie Robinson: Golden Anniversary
From the Online NewsHour

1400
President Truman issues an executive order that desegregates the military.

NPR Learn More: Integration of the Army
From Talk of the Nation

PBS Learn More: One Nation, One Army
From The Online NewsHour

1400
Ralph J. Bunche wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as a mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East.

NPR Learn More: The Life of Ralph Bunche
The Tavis Smiley Show

PBS Learn More: Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey
A film by William Greaves

1400
Poet Gwendolyn Brooks becomes the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize, which she receives for her poetry collection Annie Allen.

NPR Learn More: Gwendolyn Brooks Obituary
From All Things Considered
1400
Juanita Hall is the first African American to win a Tony award, for her role as Bloody Mary in the musical "South Pacific."

1952
Ralph Ellison publishes his novel Invisible Man, which receives the National Book Award in 1953.

NPR Learn More: Reflections on Invisible Man
From The Tavis Smiley Show

PBS Learn More: Ralph Ellison
From American Masters



Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

printer friendly format feedback privacy policy credits site map pledge