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YearEventssort iconSubjectCountryStateEra
1702The New York Assembly enacts a law which prohibits enslaved Africans from testifying against whites or gathering in groups larger than three on public streets.17021701-1800
1704French colonist Elias Neau opens a school for enslaved African Americans in New York City. 01-011701-1800
1705The Colonial Virginia Assembly defined as slaves all servants brought into the colony who were not Christians in their original countries as well as Indians sold to the colonists by other Native Americans.17051701-1800
1708Africans in South Carolina outnumber Europeans, making it the first English colony with a black majority. 01-011701-1800
1711Great Britain's Queen Anne overrules a Pennsylvania colonial law prohibiting slavery. 01-011701-1800
1711A public slave market opens in New York City at the east end of Wall Street.17111701-1800
1712The New York City slave revolt begins on April 6. Nine whites are killed and an unknown number of blacks die in the uprising. Colonial authorities execute 21 slaves and six commit suicide. 01-011701-1800
1712New York City enacts an ordinance that prevents free blacks from inheriting land.17121701-1800
1713England secures the exclusive right to transport slaves to the Spanish colonies in America. 01-011701-1800
1716The first enslaved Africans arrive in Louisiana.17161701-1800
1718New Orleans is founded by the French. By 1721 the city has more enslaved black men than free white men.17181701-1800
1721South Carolina limits the vote to free white Christian men. 01-011701-1800
1724Boston imposes a curfew on non-whites. 01-021701-1800
1724The French colonial government in Louisiana enacts the Code Noir, the first body of laws that govern both slaves and free blacks in North America. 17241701-1800
1727Enslaved Africans and Native Americans revolt in Middlesex and Gloucester Counties in Virginia. 01-011701-1800
1735South Carolina passes laws requiring enslaved people to wear clothing identifying them as slaves. Freed slaves are required to leave the colony within six months or risk reenslavement. 01-011701-1800
1737An indentured black servant petitions a Massachusetts Court and wins his freedom after the death of his master. 01-011701-1800
1738The first permanent black settlement in what will become the United States is established by fugitive slaves at Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose (Fort Mose), Florida. 17381701-1800
1739The first major South Carolina slave revolt takes place in Stono on September 9. A score of whites and more than twice as many black slaves are killed as the armed slaves try to flee to Florida. 01-011701-1800
1739Nineteen white citizens of Darien, Georgia petition the colonial governor to continue the ban on the importation of Africans into the colony, calling African enslavement morally wrong. 01-021701-1800
1741During the New York Slave Conspiracy Trials, New York City officials execute 34 people for planning to burn down the town. Thirteen African American men are burned at the stake and another 17 black men, two white men and two white women are hanged. Seventy blacks and seven whites are permanently expelled from the city. 01-011701-1800
1741South Carolina's colonial legislature enacts the most extensive slave restrictions in British North America. The laws ban the teaching of enslaved people to read and write, prohibits their assembling in groups or earning money for their activities. The law also permits slaveowners to kill rebellious slaves. 01-021701-1800
1746Lucy Terry, a slave, composes Bars Fight, the first known poem by an African American. A description of an Indian raid on Terry's hometown in Massachusetts, the poem will be passed down orally and published in 1855 01-011701-1800
1750Anthony Benezet persuades fellow Philadelphia Quakers to open the first free school for black children in the colonies.17501701-1800
1752Twenty-one year old Benjamin Banneker of Maryland constructs one of the first clocks in Colonial America, the first of a long line of inventions and innovations until his death in 1806. 01-011701-1800
1758The African Baptist or Bluestone Church is founded on the William Byrd plantation near the Bluestone River, in Mecklenburg, Virginia, becoming the first known black church in North America 01-011701-1800
1758A school for free black children is opened in Philadelphia. 01-021701-1800
1760Briton Hammon publishes A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings and Surprising Deliverance of Briton Hammon in Boston. This is believed to be the first autobiographical work written by an enslaved African living in British North America. 17601701-1800
1761Jupiter Hammon, a Long Island enslaved person, publishes a book of poetry. This is believed to be the first volume of poetry written and published by an African American. 01-011701-1800
1762Virginia restricts voting rights to white men. 01-011701-1800
1770On March 5, Crispus Attucks, an escaped slave of African and Native American ancestry, becomes the first Colonial resident to die for American independence when he is killed by the British in the Boston Massacre. 01-011701-1800
1773

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, written by Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved Bostonian, is published in that city. It is the first book written by an African American woman published in the United States and only the second book in the nation's history authored by a woman to be published.

01-011701-1800
1773The Silver Bluff Baptist Church, the oldest continuously operating black church, is founded in Silver Bluff, South Carolina near Savannah, Georgia. 01-021701-1800
1774A group of enslaved blacks petition the Massachusetts General Court (legislature) insisting they too have a natural right to their freedom. 01-011701-1800
1774First African Baptist Church, one of the earliest black churches in the United States, is founded in Petersburg, Virginia.17741701-1800
1775African Americans participate on the Patriot side in the earliest battles of the Revolution, Concord, Lexington and Bunker Hill. Two of the first of these Patriot soldiers were Peter Salem at the Battle of Concord and Salem Poor at the Battle of Bunker Hill. 01-011701-1800
1775General George Washington reverses his earlier policy of rejecting the services of slaves and free blacks in the army. Five thousand African-Americans serve during the Revolutionary War including two predominantly black units in Massachusetts, one in Connecticut, one in Rhode Island. 01-021701-1800
1775The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully held in Bondage holds the first of four meetings in Philadelphia on April 14. This is the first abolitionist meeting in North America. In 1784 the organization becomes the Pennsylvania Abolition Society with Benjamin Franklin as its first president. 01-031701-1800
1775On Nov. 7, Lord Dunmore, British Governor of Virginia declares all slaves free who come to the defense of the British Crown against the Patriot forces. Dunmore eventually organizes the first regiment of black soldiers to fight under the British flag. 01-041701-1800
1775-1781The American War of Independence. Approximately 450,000 enslaved Africans comprise 20% of the population of the colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence. 01-011701-1800
1776A passage in the Declaration of Independence authored by Thomas Jefferson at the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, condemned the slave trade.  The controversial passage is removed from the Declaration due to pressure from the southern colonies. 01-011701-1800
1776Approximately 100,000 enslaved people flee their masters during the Revolution. 01-021701-1800
1777On July 8, Vermont becomes the first political jurisdiction in the United States to abolish slavery. 01-011701-1800
1778Boston businessman Paul Cuffe and his brother, John, refuse to pay taxes, claiming as blacks not allowed to vote they suffer taxation without representation. 01-011701-1800
1778The 1st Rhode Island Regiment comprised of enslaved and free black men is formed. It is the first and only all-black military unit to fight on the Patriot side in the American Revolution 17781701-1800
1780Massachusetts abolishes slavery and grants African American men the right to vote. 01-011701-1800
1780The Free African Union Society is created in Newport, Rhode Island. It is the first cultural organization established by blacks in North America. 01-021701-1800
1780Pennsylvania adopts first gradual emancipation law. All children of enslaved people born after Nov. 1, 1780 will be free on their 28th birthday. 01-031701-1800
1780Paul Cuffee, a Boston merchant and shipowner, leads six other free blacks in petitioning the Massacusetts to end their taxation without representation. 17801701-1800
1781-1783Twenty thousand black loyalists depart with British Troops from the newly independent United States. Approximately 5,000 African Americans served with Patriot forces. Three times that many served with the British although not all of them leave the new nation. 01-011701-1800
1784Connecticut and Rhode Island adopt gradual emancipation laws. 01-011701-1800
1784Congress rejects Thomas Jefferson's proposal to exclude slavery from all western territories after 1800. 01-021701-1800
1784Prince Hall establishes the first black Masonic lodge in the United States. African Lodge #459 is granted a Masonic charter by the Grand Lodge of England. 17841701-1800
1784The New York African Society, a spiritual and benevolent association, is created by free blacks in New York City.17841701-1800
1785New York frees all slaves who served in the Revolutionary Army. 01-011701-1800
1785The New York Society for the Promoting of the Manumission of Slaves is founded by prominent New Yorkers including John Jay and Alexander Hamilton.17851701-1800
1787On July 13, Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance, which establishes formal procedures for transforming territories into states. It provides for the eventual establishment of three to five states in the area north of the Ohio River, to be considered equal with the original 13. The Ordinance includes a Bill of Rights that guarantees freedom of religion, the right to trial by jury, public education and a ban on slavery in the region. 01-011701-1800
1787The U.S. Constitution is drafted. It provides for the continuation of the slave trade for another 20 years and required states to aid slaveholders in the recovery of fugitive slaves. It also stipulates that a slave counts as three-fifths of a man for purposes of determining representation in the House of Representatives. 01-021701-1800
1787Free blacks in New York City found the African Free School, where future leaders Henry Highland Garnett and Alexander Crummell are educated. 01-031701-1800
1787Richard Allen and Absalom Jones form the Free African Society in Philadelphia. 01-041701-1800
1788In Massachusetts, following an incident in which free blacks were kidnapped and transported to the state from the island of Martinique, the Massachusetts legislature declares the slave trade illegal and provides monetary damages to victims of kidnappings. 01-011701-1800
1790Free African Americans in Charleston form the Brown Fellowship Society. 01-021701-1800
1790Census of 1790 (First Census of the U.S. Population): Total population, 3,929,214, Black Population: 757,208 (19.3%) including 59,150 free African Americans.17901701-1800
1791In February Major Andrew Ellicott hires Benjamin Banneker to assist in a survey of the boundaries of the 100-square-mile federal district that would later become the District of Columbia. 17911701-1800
1792Benjamin Banneker's Almanac is published in Philadelphia. It is the first book of science published by an African American. 17921701-1800
1793The United States Congress enacts the first Fugitive Slave Law. Providing assistance to fugitive slaves is now a criminal offense. 01-011701-1800
1793Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin in Georgia which he patents on March 13.  The development of the cotton gin provides a major boost to the slave-based cotton economy of the South. 01-021701-1800
1794Mother Bethel AME Church is established in Philadelphia by Richard Allen. 01-021701-1800
1794New York adopts a gradual emancipation law. 01-031701-1800
1795Bowdoin College is founded in Maine. It later becomes a center for Abolitionist activity; Gen. Oliver O. Howard (Howard University) graduated from the college; Harriet Beecher Stowe taught there and began to write Uncle Tom's Cabin while there (in 1850) 01-011701-1800
1796On August 23, The African Methodist Episcopal Church is organized in Philadelphia. 01-011701-1800
1798Joshua Johnston of Baltimore, Maryland becomes the first black portrait painter to gain widespread recognition in the United States 17981701-1800
1798Venture Smith's A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, A Native of Africa But Resident Above Sixty Years in the United States of America appears as the first slave narrative written by the person in bondage. Earlier narratives were written by white authors as dictated by enslaved people. 17981701-1800
1800On August 30, Gabriel Prosser attempts a slave rebellion in Richmond, Virginia. 01-021701-1800
1800The United States Congress rejects 85 to 1 an antislavery petition offered by free Philadelphia African Americans. 01-031701-1800
1800Census of 1800, U.S. Population: 5,308,483, Black Population: 1,002,037 (18.9%) including 108,435 free African Americans.18001701-1800
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