African American History in the American West Timeline

Black & White Gold Miners Near Spanish Flat, CA, 1852 (California State Library, Sacramento)
Black & White Gold Miners Near Spanish Flat, CA, 1852 (California State Library, Sacramento)
Record #YearEventsEraCountryStateSubject
1800 (ca.) BCEEvidence suggests that some African travelers may have come to the ancient Americas before Europeans. One indication is the great stone carvings of the Olmec era in Mexico, bearing African facial features.1492-1600Mexicon. a.Exploration and Discovery
21492-1493A black navigator, Pedro Alonso Niño, travels with Christopher Columbus on his first expedition to the New World.1492-1600The Bahamasn. a.Exploration and Discovery
31494The first Africans arrive in Hispaniola with Christopher Columbus. They are free persons.1492-1600Dominican Republicn.a.The New World
41501The Spanish king allows the introduction of enslaved Africans into Spain's American colonies.1492-1600Dominican Republicn. a.Spanish Slavery
51511The first enslaved Africans arrive in Hispaniola.1492-1600Dominican Republicn. a.Spanish Slavery
61513Thirty Africans accompany Vasco Nunez de Balboa on his trip to the Pacific Ocean.1492-1600Panaman. a.Exploration and Discovery
71517Bishop Bartolome de Las Casas petitions Spain to allow the importation of 12 enslaved Africans for each household immigrating to America's Spanish colonies. De Las Casas later regrets this plea, and becomes a strong opponent of slavery.1492-1600Spainn.a.Spanish Slavery
81519Hernan Cortez begins his conquest of the Aztec Empire. Black Spaniards are among the Conquistadors.1492-1600Mexicon. a.The New World
91520sEnslaved Africans are used as laborers in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico.1492-1600Cuban. a.Spanish Slavery
101522Juan Garrido, a member of the Hernan Cortes expediton that conquered the Aztec Empire, is granted land by the Spanish Crown, becomes a farmer, and produces the first wheat crop in the New World.1492-1600Mexicon.a.Colonial Conquest
111528Esteban, a Morocco-born Muslim slave, is one of four survivors washed ashore near present-day Galveston, Texas. He is the first known person of African ancestry to enter what is now the western United States.1492-1600United StatesTexasExploration and Discovery
121539Esteban is part of an expedition led by Friar Marcos de Niza from Mexico City into the far north of New Spain (Colonial Mexico). Esteban, who moves ahead of the main expedition, is killed at the Zuni town of Hawikuh, just east of the present-day border of Arizona and New Mexico.1492-1600United StatesNew MexicoExploration and Discovery
131541Persons of African ancestry accompany the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado from Mexico City to what is now central Kansas. Some Africans remain behind in Kansas and New Mexico.1492-1600United StatesKansasExploration and Discovery
141542The Spanish Crown abolishes Indian slavery in its colonial possessions.1492-1600Mexicon. a.Spanish Slavery
151570New Spain's (Colonial Mexico) population includes 20,569 blacks and 2,439 mulattoes.1492-1600Mexicon. a.Africans in Colonial New Spain
161571Free and enslaved black or mulatto women can no longer wear gold, silk or pearls unless they are married to a Spaniard.1492-1600Mexicon. a.Africans in Colonial New Spain
171573Professor Bartolome de Albornoz of the University of Mexico writes against the enslavement and sale of Africans.1492-1600Mexicon. a.Spanish Slavery
181598Isabel de Olvera, a free mulatto, accompanies the Juan Guerra de Resa Expedition which colonizes what is now New Mexico.1492-1600United StatesNew MexicoAfricans in Colonial New Spain
191600-1790sPersons of African ancestry are among the founders or early settlers of numerous towns in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California including San Antonio, Laredo, El Paso, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Tucson, San Diego, Monterey and San Francisco.1601-1700United StatesTexasAfricans in Colonial New Spain
201602By Spanish law, mulattoes (people of combined African and European ethnicity), convicts, and idle Africans may be shipped to Latin America and forced to work in the mines there.1601-1700Mexicon. a.Africans in Colonial New Spain
211609Fugitive slaves in Mexico, led by Gaspar Yanga, sign a truce with Spanish colonial authorities and obtain their freedom and a town of their own.1601-1700Mexicon. a.Africans in Colonial New Spain
221617The town of San Lorenzo de los Negros receives a charter from Spanish colonial officials in Mexico and becomes the first officially recognized free settlement for blacks in the New World.1601-1700Mexicon. aAfricans in Colonial New Spain
231619Approximately 20 blacks from a Dutch slaver are purchased as indentured workers for the English settlement of Jamestown. These are the first Africans in the English North American colonies.1601-1700United StatesVirginiaEnglish Slavery
241646New Spain's (Colonial Mexico) population includes 35,089 blacks and 116,529 mulattoes.1601-1700Mexicon. a.Africans in Colonial New Spain
251750The census of Albuquerque reveals that 25 percent of the families have some African ancestry.1701-1800United StatesNew MexicoAfricans in Colonial New Spain
261778A census of San Antonio, Texas shows 759 male residents including 151 blacks and mulattoes but only four are enslaved.1701-1800United StatesTexasAfricans in Colonial New Spain
271781Los Angeles is founded by 44 settlers including 26 who have some African ancestry.1701-1800United StatesCaliforniaAfricans in Colonial New Spain
281793New Spain's (Colonial Mexico) population includes 6,100 blacks and 369,790 mulattoes.1701-1800Mexicon. a.Africans in Colonial New Spain
291803On April 30, Louisiana is purchased from the French. The new territory nearly doubles the size of the United States.1801-1900United StatesLouisianaU.S. Expansion
301804-1806The Lewis and Clark Expedition explores newly purchased Louisiana and the Pacific Northwest. An African American, York, is prominent in the expedition.1801-1900United StatesOregonU.S. Expansion
311806Edward Rose travels up the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains to become the first of dozens of black fur trappers and traders in the region.1801-1900United StatesMontanaMountain Men and Fur Trappers
321820The Compromise of 1820 allows Missouri into the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state. It also sets the boundary between slave and free territory in the West at the 36th parallel.1801-1900United StatesMissouriAntebellum Slavery
331820-1825Free African Americans from the United States settle in Mexican Texas.1801-1900MexicoTexasMexican Texas
341822Bernardo, the first cotton plantation with enslaved people is established in Texas by former Georgia resident Jared E. Groce on the Brazos River.1801-1900MexicoTexasSlavery in Mexican Texas
351824A new Mexican Constitution adopted on October 4 outlaws slavery throughout Mexico including Mexican Texas.1801-1900MexicoTexasSlavery in Mexican Texas
361825James Beckwourth, the most famous of the African American fur trappers and traders, enters the Rocky Mountains for the first time as a member of the William Henry Ashley Fur Trapping Expedition. Beckwourth will operate throughout much of the West from Montana south to New Mexico and west to California for the next 40 years.1801-1900United StatesColoradoMountain Men and Fur Trappers
371825Sixty nine of 1,347 residents of the Austin colony in Mexican Texas are slaveholders. They own 443 enslaved people.1801-1900MexicoTexasSlavery in Mexican Texas
381828The contract labor system is introduced in Texas. It is quickly revealed as a subterfuge to get around Mexico's ban on slavery.1801-1900MexicoTexasMexican Texas
391829On September 15, Mexican President Vicente Ramon Guerrero issues the Guerrero Decree which prohibits slavery in any form in Mexico. Guerrero however issues a subsequent decree on December 2 which exempts Texas from the ban.1801-1900MexicoTexasSlavery in Mexico
401831Pio Pico, a descendant of persons of African ancestry, becomes governor of Mexican California after overthrowing Colonel Manuel Victoria, another person of African ancestry.1801-1900MexicoCaliforniaAfricans in Mexican California
411831-1842The Trail of Tears brings Native Americans and their black slaves, approximately seventy thousand people, from Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida to their new home in the Indian Territory.1801-1900United StatesOklahomaSlavery in Indian Territory
421835At the beginning of the year there are approximately 25,000 English-speaking inhabitants of Mexican Texas including 5,000 enslaved African Americans. The Tejano population is approximately 6,000 and there are 14,500 Indians.1801-1900MexicoTexasSlavery in Mexican Texas
431835On November 7, Anglo-Texans meet at San Felipe de Austin to establish a provisional government in Mexican Texas and elect a general council to govern the area north of the Rio Grande.1801-1900MexicoTexasMexican Texas
441836On March 2, the General Council of Texas declares the province's independence from Mexico.1801-1900MexicoTexasMexican Texas
451836The Alamo is captured by the Mexican Army led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna on March 6. Hundreds of enslaved Texans leave the farms and plantations to join or support the Mexican Army. Far more take advantage of the war of independence to escape south across the Rio Grande, or north across the Red River into the sparsely populated Indian Territory.1801-1900MexicoTexasMexican Texas
461836On April 22, General Santa Anna surrenders to Texan forces led by General Sam Houston.1801-1900MexicoTexasMexican Texas
471839California Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado appoints Allen Light comisario general to patrol California's coastal waters to halt illegal otter hunting. Light, a former New Englander who arrived in Santa Barbara in 1835, is believed to be the first U.S. born-black to serve as a Mexican official.1801-1900MexicoCaliforniaAfricans in Mexican California
481842The largest of three servile uprisings in the Indian Territory begins in early November when 33 fugitive slaves from the Creek, Cherokee and Choctaw Nations attempt to escape to Mexico. On November 26, the Cherokee mounted militia captured 31 of the fugitives about five miles north of the Red River.1801-1900United StatesOklahomaSlaverry in Indian Territory
491844On June 25, the Legislative Committee of the Provisional Government of Oregon enacts the first of a series of black exclusion laws.1801-1900United StatesOregonThe Oregon Country
501844In the summer George Bush, a free African American, travels with a party of Missouri emigrants on the Oregon Trail. When Bush reaches Oregon City in November, he decides to move to the sparsely populated area north of the Columbia to avoid the exclusion law. His decision encourages other settlers to follow. Eventually they petition Congress to create Washington Territory.1801-1900United StatesWashingtonOregon Country
511845Texas is annexed to the United States.1801-1900United StatesTexasU.S. Expansion
521845Pio Pico again serves as Governor of Mexican California. He is the last governor during Mexican rule.1801-1900MexicoTexasAfricans in Mexican California
531846-1848War with Mexico.1801-1900United Statesn. a.U.S Expansion
541847Three African Americans, Green Flake, Oscar Crosby, and Hark Lay, accompany Brigham Young who leads the first Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley. The slaves of Southern Mormons, these men are sent ahead to help prepare for Mormon settlers to follow. Today, their names are inscribed on the Brigham Young monument in downtown Salt Lake City.1801-1900United StatesUtahSlavery in Utah Territory
551847William A. Leidesdorff, who arrived in Yerba Buena (San Francisco) in 1841, is elected to the town council. One year later he becomes treasurer of the town.1801-1900MexicoCaliforniaAfrican Americans in Mexican California
561847Tennessee-born Hiram Young purchases his freedom and settles in Independence, Missouri. His business, making yokes and wagons for the travelers on the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails, is one of the largest in western Missouri by 1860.1801-1900United StatesMissouriAfrican Americans in Antebellum Missouri
571848On February 2, Mexico and the United States sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty transfers control of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah from Mexico to the United States. Mexico also relinquishes its claim to Texas in exchange for $20 million.1801-1900United Statesn. a.U.S. Expansion
581849The California Gold Rush begins. Eventually four thousand African Americans will migrate to California during this period.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaBlacks in Antebellum California
591849Early African American settlers in San Francisco create the first two mutual aid associations for blacks in the far west, the West Indian Benevolent Association and the Mutual Benefit and Relief Society.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaBlacks in Antebellum California
601850The Compromise of 1850 revisits the issue of slavery. California enters the Union as a free state, but the territories of New Mexico and Utah are allowed to decide whether they will enter the Union as slave or free states. The 1850 Compromise also allows passage of a much stricter Fugitive Slave Law. Despite California's status as a nominally free state, approximately 1,000 blacks are in slavery with most of the bondspeople brought in from slaveholding states.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaSlavery in California
611850Coacoochee (Wild Cat), a Seminole Chief, leads a band of 200 Indians and blacks from the Indian Territory into Coahuila, Mexico where they will establish a colony with the support of the Mexican government.1801-1900Mexicon. a.Slavery in Indian Territory
621851Beginning with the defense of a fugitive slave known as Frank in 1851 and ending with the Archy Lee Case in 1857, California's black and white abolitionists use legal challenges to prevent the enslavement or the return to enslavement of various individuals.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaSlavery in Califronia
631851Abner Hunt Francis mounts a successful campaign to prevent his brother, O. H. Francis, a Portland merchant, from being expelled from the Oregon Territory under the provisions of the black exclusion law.1801-1900United StatesOregonThe Oregon Country
641851St. Andrews African Methodist Episcopal Church of Sacramento is the first black church west of Texas.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaBlacks in Antebellum California
651852San Francisco has 464 African Americans, the largest urban black population in the Far West. Sacramento with 338 black residents has the second largest population. Among the black-owned businesses in San Francisco at that point are the New England Soap Factory established by James P. Dyer and Pioneer Boot and Shoe Emporium owned by Mifflin Gibbs and Peter Lester.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaBlacks in Antebellum California
661852The Utah Territorial Legislature passes a slave code called An Act in Relation to Service which governs relations between slaveowners and the enslaved.1801-1900United StatesUtahSlavery in Utah Territory
671852Clement Shattio, a white farmer and his free black wife, Ann Davis Shattio, are the first residents of Topeka, Kansas Territory.1801-1900United StatesKansasBlacks in Antebellum Kansas
681852Brigham Young, the leader of the Church of Latter Day Saints begins to preach the Curse of Cain doctrine which justifies the denial of the priesthood to African American males. Although African Americans had been among the first converts to the Mormon faith, few will join the church during the 126 year priesthood ban.1801-1900United StatesUtahBlacks in Antebellum Utah Territory
691853Elijah Abel, an African American Mormon pioneer, arrives in Salt Lake City. A carpenter by trade, Abel had been an associate of Joseph Smith, the founder and prophet of the LDS Church. He was ordained to the LDS Melchizedek priesthood in 1836, and helped to erect the Nauvoo Temple in the 1840s. Abel and his sons are the last African Americans to hold the priesthood in the church until 1978.1801-1900United StatesUtahBlacks in Antebellum Utah Territory
701853In July, George A. Williams, Chief Justice of the Oregon Territorial Supreme Court, rules in Holmes v. Ford that slavery is illegal in the territory.1801-1900United StatesOregonSlavery in the Oregon Country
711854On May 30, the Kansas-Nebraska Act is passed by Congress. The Act repeals the Missouri Compromise and permits the admission of Kansas and Nebraska Territories to the Union after their populations decide on slavery.1801-1900United Statesn. a.Slavery for the West
721854The Republican Party is formed in the summer in opposition to the extension of slavery into the western territories.1801-1900United StatesMichiganSlavery in the West
731854Bleeding Kansas is an outgrowth of the controversy over the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Between 1854 and 1858 armed groups of pro- and anti-slavery factions, often funded and sponsored by organizations in the North and South, compete for control of Kansas Territory, initiating waves of violence that kill 55 people. Bleeding Kansas becomes a preview of the U.S. Civil War.1801-1900United StatesKansasSlavery in the West
741855Approximately 4,000 escaped slaves live in or near Matamoros, Mexico just south of Brownsville, Texas.1801-1900Mexicon. a.Slavery in the West
751855In October one hundred thirty Texas Rangers illegally enter Mexico in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy Coacoochee's colony. They are thwarted by a combined force of Indians, blacks and Mexicans who drive the Rangers back across the Rio Grande.1801-1900Mexicon. a.Slavery in the West
761855In November forty nine delegates representing ten of California's twenty-seven counties meet at St. Andrews AME Church in Sacramento in the first of four California Colored Conventions. The delegates laud their economic progress in the state but remind white California of their numerous legal and political restrictions.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaBlacks in Antebellum California
771856In January Los Angeles District Court Judge Benjamin Hayes frees Bridget Biddy Mason and her thirteen extended family members.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaBlacks in Antebellum California
781856Mirror of the Times, founded in San Francisco, becomes the first African American newspaper west of St. Louis.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaWestern Blacks and the Media
791857Oregon Territory voters overwhelmingly support a constitution that bans both slavery and the settlement of African Americans in the new state.1801-1900United StatesOregonSlavery in the Oregon Country
801858On Christmas night John Brown leads a group of Jayhawkers (abolitionists) into Missouri to rescue eleven enslaved Missourians. Before and after the Christmas Night Raid, however, fugitive black slaves make their way to freedom in Kansas Territory.1801-1900United StatesMissouriBlacks in Antebellum Kansas
811859New Mexico Territory enacts a slave code.1801-1900United StatesNew MexicoSlavery in Antebellum New Mexico Territory
821860The U.S. Census of 1860 shows Texas with 182,556 black bondspeople, about 30 percent of the state's population. There are only 355 free blacks in the state. Ten Texas counties have more enslaved people than free people. Slavery is also legal in the Indian Territory where 7,000 enslaved people comprise 14 percent of the territory's population and in Utah Territory where 29 of its 59 black inhabitants are enslaved.1801-1900United StatesTexasSlavery in the West
831860On November 6, Abraham Lincoln is elected president.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaThe Civil War in the West
841860On December 20, South Carolina secedes from the Union.1801-1900United StatesSouth CarolinaThe Civil War in the West
851861On March 4, Texas joins Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana in creating the Confederate States of America.1801-1900United StatesTexasThe Civil War in the West
861861The Civil War begins on April 12 when Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter, a federal garrison in the harbor of Charleston1801-1900United StatesSouth CarolinaThe Civil War in the West
871861In August, Kansas Senator and General James H. Lane, commanding Union troops, occupies Springfield, Missouri. As fugitive slaves enter his camp, Lane without authorization from Washington, enlists in his command the able bodied black males and sends the women and children to Kansas. Some of the first slaves liberated during the Civil War are freed by this impetuous and largely symbolic action which also places the first black troops in the Union Army.1801-1900United StatesMissouriThe Civil War in the West
881861By September the Civil War divides three of the nations of the Indian Territory. There are Union and Confederate supporters among the Cherokees, Creeks and Seminoles. The Choctaws and Chickasaws are united in their support of the Confederacy.1801-1900United StatesOklahomaThe Civil War in the West
891861The Cherokees and Creeks organize army regiments for the Union and the Confederacy. By October, the Cherokee and Creek Union regiments welcome black men into their ranks. The First Indian Home Guard, for example, is about 25 percent African American by 1864.1801-1900United Statesn. a.The Civil War in the West
901862San Francisco blacks organize the Franchise League to campaign for voting rights and to end courtroom testimony restrictions.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
911862The Kansas Emancipation League is founded in February by black and white abolitionists meeting at the First Colored Baptist Church in Leavenworth.1801-1900United StatesKansasAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
921862In June Congress abolishes slavery in the territories of the United States.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
931862African Americans are among the first residents of Helena, Montana Territory, established shortly after a gold discovery in August.1801-1900United StatesMontanaAfrican Americans in Montana Territory
941862On October 17, the First Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment is organized at Fort Lincoln in Bourbon County, Kansas.1801-1900United StatesKansasAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
951862In November, Leland Stanford becomes the first Republican Governor of California. Stanford and the Republican dominated legislature begin repealing many of the racially discriminatory laws directed at the state's African American population.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
961863Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation takes effect on January 1, legally freeing slaves in areas of the South in rebellion including Texas and the Indian Territory.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
971863On February 21, the pro-Union Cherokee government meets at Cowskin Prairie, Oklahoma and issues the Cherokee Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery in the Nation. The Cherokees are the only Indian Nation to end slavery before 1865.1801-1900United StatesOklahomaAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
981863On April 17, Charlotte Brown files the first of several lawsuits that challenge black exclusion from San Francisco streetcars. By the late 1860s the streetcar companies end their discriminatory policies.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
991863On July 17, the First Kansas Colored Infantry, fighting with the Cherokee Indian and white Colorado Union regiments, defeat Confederate forces at the Battle of Honey Springs in Oklahoma, the largest military engagement in the Indian Territory during the Civil War.1801-1900United StatesOklahomaAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
1001863In October twenty three delegates representing approximately seven thousand black Kansans gather in Leavenworth for the first Kansas State Colored Convention.1801-1900United StatesKansasAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
1011865San Francisco has two African American newspapers, The Pacific Appeal owned and edited by Peter Anderson and Philip A. Bell's The Elevator.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaWestern Blacks and the Media
1021865Twelve thousand African Americans reside in Kansas, comprising 9 percent of the state's population. Only 627 blacks were in the territory at the time of the Census of 1860.1801-1900United StatesKansasAfrican Americans in the Civil War West
1031865Over the summer former slaves from central and east Texas gather in a section of Houston they will call Freedmantown which will be the nucleus for the African American urban community called Fourth Ward. Similar post-Civil War black communities will emerge in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and other Texas cities.1801-1900United StatesTexasThe Urban West
1041865African Americans from Virginia City, Gold Hill and Silver City, Nevada form the Nevada Executive Committee to petition for the right to vote.1801-1900United StatesNevadaBlack Western Politics
1051865Twenty thousand African American troops are among the 32,000 U.S. soldiers sent to the Rio Grande as a show of force against Emperor Maximilian's French troops occupying Mexico. Some discharged black soldiers join the forces of Mexican resistance leader Benito Juarez.1801-1900Mexicon. a.Black Soldiers in the West
1061865On February 1, 1865, Abraham Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery throughout the United States.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaThe Civil War in the West
1071865On June 19, General Gordon Granger leads Union forces ashore at Galveston, Texas where he issues the Texas Emancipation Proclamation. From that point the freedpeople of Texas and their descendants commemorate that day as Juneteenth.1801-1900United StatesTexasAfrican Americans in The Civil War in the West
1081866Texas enacts a series of black codes designed to limit the freedom of the ex-slaves. They include among other measures, a child apprenticeship law, a contract labor code, a vagrancy act and the convict leasing system.1801-1900United StatesTexasReconstruction in the West
1091866Congress authorizes the strength of the regular (post-Civil War) army at 25,000 men in ten cavalry regiments and twenty five infantry regiments. It also designates four of those units, the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry and Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry as all-black enlisted men led mostly by white officers. These men, eventually called Buffalo Soldiers, will initiate the first period in U.S. history when African American soldiers are a permanent component of the U.S. military.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaBlack Soldiers in the West
1101866Antioch Missionary Baptist Church is organized in Houston. It is the oldest continually operating African American church in the city.1801-1900United StatesTexasThe Urban West
1111866New treaties negotiated between the Federal Government and the Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws and Seminoles let each Nation decide if and in what manner it will incorporate its ex-slaves into tribal society. The Cherokees, Creeks and Seminoles incorporate their ex-slaves. The Choctaws and Chickasaws do not.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaAfrican Americans in Reconstruction Era Indian Territory
1121866In November Mifflin W. Gibbs is elected to the City Council of Victoria, British Columbia He becomes the second African American (after John Mercer Langston) to be elected to public office in North America.1801-1900Canadan. a.Black Western Politics
1131867In November, white male voters in Kansas overwhelmingly reject efforts by both black males and all women to obtain the ballot. Black suffrage fails by 19,421 to 10,438 while women's suffrage is defeated by 19,857 to 10,070.1801-1900United StatesKansasBlacks in Reconstruction Era Kansas
1141867On January 10, Congress passes the Territorial Suffrage Act which allows African Americans in the western territories to vote. The act immediately enfranchises about 800 black male voters in those territories.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaReconstruction in the West
1151867The Reconstruction Acts are passed by Congress on March 2. Congress abolishes civilian government and places Texas in a military district. These acts abolish the state's post-Civil War governments and call for the creation of new governments elected by all of the state's male voters.1801-1900United StatesTexasReconstruction in the West
1161867On July 4, one hundred fifty black and twenty white delegates meet in Houston to form the Texas Republican Party. They select Elisha M. Pease as chairman of the Party. Pease is eventually appointed Governor by General Philip Sheridan, the regional military commander.1801-1900United StatesTexasReconstruction in the West
1171868Beginning with the cattle drive of William G. Butler that summer, African American cowboys will participate for the next two decades in trail drives from central Texas to the railheads at Abilene, Dodge City, Denver, Cheyenne and other central plains towns.1801-1900United StatesKansasBlack Cowboys
1181868On July 21, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, granting citizenship to any person born or naturalized in the United States.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaReconstruction in the West
1191869The transcontinental railroad is joined at Promontory, Utah Territory in 1869. Approximately three hundred African Americans are employed on the Union Pacific's work crews in 1865. Few African American rail construction workers are present at the Last Spike ceremony at Promontory although there are some Buffalo Soldiers on hand as they are transferred from military posts in Kansas to new assignments in California.1801-1900United StatesUtahMigration and Settlement to 1900
1201869After the completion of the transcontinental railroad, a small black community of railroad construction and repair workers emerges in Oakland. Their numbers are dramatically augmented when the Pullman Company decides to require an African American male porter in each of its cars and many of these porters settle in Oakland.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaThe Urban West
1211869Walter Moses Burton is elected sheriff of Fort Bend County, Texas. He becomes the first African American in the West to hold that post.1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Western Politics
1221869On February 26, Congress sends the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution to the states for approval. The amendment guarantees African American males the right to vote.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaReconstruction in the West
1231869In November Matthew Gaines of Washington County and George T. Ruby of Galveston become the first African Americans elected to the Texas State Senate. Twelve other African Americans will serve in the State House of Representatives. By 1898, forty-two black men will have served in the Texas Legislature.1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Western Politics
1241869In November African American women in Wyoming Territory are the first black women in the nation to gain the right to vote.1801-1900United StatesWyomingReconstruction in the West
1251870By the middle of the year forty-six Freedman's Bureau-sponsored schools are operating in Texas for black children. The largest numbers are in Galveston, Houston, San Antonio and Brownsville. The Bureau reports 5,182 black pupils attending these schools in contrast to the 11 black children enrolled in schools in the state in 1860.1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Education in the West
1261870The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified on March 30, granting African American men the right to vote by declaring that the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.1801-1900United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaReconstruction in the West
1271870On June 28, twenty-three-year-old Emanuel Stance of F Troop, Ninth Cavalry becomes the first Buffalo Soldier to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. The award is given for his action against Apache Indians at Kickapoo Springs, Texas on May 20, 1870.1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Soldiers in the West
1281871In November Newton Booth is elected the second Republican governor of California. At the time of his election he resides at the boarding house owned by wealthy black San Francisco businesswoman Mary Ellen Pleasant.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaReconstruction in the West
1291872Bridget Biddy Mason of Los Angeles establishes First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest African American church in the city.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaThe Urban West
1301873Wiley College is founded in Marshall, Texas.  It is the first institution of higher education for African Americans in the West.1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Education in the West
1311874Denver businessman Barney L. Ford builds the Inter-Ocean Hotel, which for a period is the largest hotel in the city.1801-1900United StatesColoradoThe Urban West
1321875On January 8, George Washington and his wife, Mary Jane Washington found the town of Centerville (later Centralia), Washington Territory.1801-1900United StatesWashingtonAfrican Americans in Washington Territory
1331875Bass Reeves is sworn in at Fort Smith, Arkansas as the first black U.S. Deputy Marshal. His jurisdication is the Indian Territory.1801-1900United StatesArkansasPre-1970 Politics
1341876In November Jesse Franklin, a freedperson, is elected to the Creek Tribal Supreme Court. By this point a number of African American men are serving in the tribal governments of the Creek, Cherokee and Seminole Nations. Between 1868 and 1900, sixty-eight black men serve in the tribal legislatures of the three Indian nations.1801-1900United StatesOlahomaBlack Western Politics
1351877On June 15, Henry O. Flipper becomes the first African American to graduate from West Point. He will be followed at the academy by John Hanks Alexander (1887) and Charles Young (1889). Flipper is assigned to the Tenth Cavalry at Fort Concho, Texas, becoming the first black officer to command Buffalo Soldiers.1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Soldiers in the West
1361877Early in the year six African American men led by W.H. Smith and Benjamin Carr found the Nicodemus Town Company which plans an agricultural colony west of the 100th meridian near the Kansas frontier. On July, 30 African American settlers from Kentucky arrive to establish the town of Nicodemus. This is the first of hundreds of all or mostly black western towns.1801-1900United StatesKansasMigration and Settlement to 1900
1371877On December 19, Col. Edward Hatch leads the Ninth Cavalry into El Paso to end the Salt War, a racial and economic conflict between the Latino majority and Anglo minority in the city.1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Soldiers in the West
1381878Edward McCabe, formerly of Chicago, arrives in Nicodemus advertising himself as an attorney and land agent. In April 1880 Kansas Governor John P. St. John appoints McCabe first clerk of newly organized Graham County. In November 1881, he is elected to a full term as county clerk.1801-1900United StatesKansasBlack Western Politics
1391878William L. Eagleson founds the Colored Citizen, the first black newspaper in Topeka.1801-1900United StatesKansasWestern Blacks and the Media
1401878Benjamin Pap Singleton leads his first group of Tennessee emigrants to Kansas. The party of 200 settlers establish the Dunlop Colony on the east bank of the Neosho River in Morris County.1801-1900United StatesKansasMigration and Settlement to 1900
1411879U.S. Attorney General Charles Devens rules that Cherokee freedman Allen Wilson should be allowed to keep his farm near Fort Gibson in the Cherokee Nation despite an earlier tribal decision that Wilson was no longer a citizen.1801-1900United StatesOklahomaReconstruction in the West
1421879African American parents in Topeka begin a campaign to desegregate the local schools. They receive a setback in 1890 when the Kansas Supreme Court in Reynolds v. Board of Education of Topeka decides the state's school segregation law is constitutional. Their multigenerational efforts continue until Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.1801-1900United StatesKansasBlack Education in the West
1431879John J. Neimore founds the Los Angeles Owl which in 1892 becomes the California Eagle. The newspaper will continue in operation until 1966.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaWestern Blacks and the Media
1441879In November William Jefferson Hardin is elected to the Wyoming Territorial Legislature from Cheyenne.1801-1900United StatesWyomingBlack Western Politics
1451879In November L. W. Winn is the first African American elected to the Kansas State Senate.1801-1900United StatesKansasBlack Western Politics
1461879-1880Approximately six thousand African Americans leave Louisiana and Mississippi counties along the Mississippi River for Kansas in what will be known as the Exodus. In response to the Exodus, Kansas Governor John P. St. John creates the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association (KFRA) to provide assistance for the mostly destitute refugees. The Association receives nationwide support including donations from pre-Civil War abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison who leads fundraising efforts in Boston and from Philip D. Armour, the Chicago meat packer.1801-1900United StatesKansasMigration and Settlement to 1900
1471880On May 14, Sgt. George Jordan of the Ninth Cavalry, commanding a detachment of Buffalo Soldiers, leads a successful defense of Tularosa, New Mexico Territory, against Apache Indians. Jordan will later receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.1801-1900United StatesNew MexicoBlack Soldiers in the West
1481881In November John T. Gunnell becomes the first African American to sit in the Colorado Legislature.1801-1900United StatesColoradoBlack Western Politics
1491881Tillotson College is founded in Austin, Texas by the Congregational Church in 1877.  It opens its doors in 1881. 1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Education in the West
1501882Edward P. McCabe of Nicodemus is elected the state auditor of Kansas at the age of thirty-two. He is the first African American elected to a statewide office outside the South.1801-1900United StatesKansasBlack Western Politics
1511882Lt. Henry O. Flipper is court-martialed at Fort Davis, Texas for accounting irregularities as commissary officer. After leaving the Army, Flipper works for the next thirty seven years as a mining engineer in New Mexico and Mexico, becoming the first African American to gain distinction in that profession.1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Soldiers in the West
1521885Former California Governor Pio Pico recruits one hundred African Americans to work for his Pico House hotel.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaAfrican Americans in California
1531886Young George Washington Carver homesteads 160 acres in Ness County, Kansas for two years before leaving the area to continue his education at Iowa State University.1801-1900United StatesKansasMigration and Settlement to 1900
1541886Norris Wright Cuney becomes chairman of the Texas Republican Party. He is the first African American to head a major political party at the state level in U.S. history1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Western Politics
1551887The National Colored Farmers' Alliance is formed in Houston County, Texas.1801-1900United StatesTexasMigration and Settlement to 1900
1561888Helena, Montana Territory blacks under the leadership of Rev. James Hubbard, establish the St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church.1801-1900United StatesMontanaAfrican Americans in Montana Territory
1571888On April 11, Edward Park Duplex was elected mayor of Wheatland, California. He may have been the first African American mayor of a predominately white town in the United States.1801-1900United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
1581889Edward McCabe creates the Oklahoma Immigrant Association, headquartered in Topeka, to encourage African American migration from the South to the new Territory. McCabe and his wife Sarah arrive in Oklahoma in April 1890 and help found Langston City, which they name after Virginia Congressman John Mercer Langston.1801-1900United StatesKansasAfrican Americans in Oklahoma Territory
1591889William Owen Bush becomes the first African American to serve in the Washington State Legislature.1801-1900United StatesWashingtonBlack Western Politics
1601890Green Jacob Currin becomes the first African American to serve in the Oklahoma Territory Legislature.1801-1900United StatesOklahomaBlack Western Politics
1611890The African American community of Five Points emerges in the eastern section of Denver.1801-1900United StatesColoradoThe Urban West
1621890In June, troops of the Ninth Cavalry are sent from Fort Robinson, Nebraska to reestablish order during the Johnson County, Wyoming Range War.1801-1900United StatesWyomingBlack Soldiers in the West
1631891President Benjamin Harrison appoints Topeka attorney and political activist John L. Waller as U.S Consul to Madagascar.1801-1900United StatesKansasAfrican Americans in Kansas
1641892John B. Rayner and Melvin Wade lead many black Republicans into the Populist Party.1801-1900United StatesTexasBlack Western Politics
1651892Dr. Matthew Oliver Ricketts becomes the first African American to sit in the Nebraska Legislature.1801-1900United StatesNebraskaBlack Western Politics
1661892Newspaper editor Roscoe Dunjee arrives in Oklahoma City from Minnesota. After working for various newspapers he founds the Oklahoma City Black Dispatch in 1915. The Dispatch eventually becomes the largest African American newspaper in the state.1801-1900United StatesOklahomaWestern Blacks and the Media
1671892On July 14 three companies of the Twenty-fourth Infantry occupy the Coeur d'Alene Mining District in northern Idaho which has been declared under martial law following a violent strike by silver miners. They remain for four months.1801-1900United StatesIdahoBlack Soldiers in the West
1681893The Texas Freeman is established in Houston by Charles and Lilla Love. It eventually evolves into the Houston Informer which is the oldest continuously operating black newspaper in Texas.1801-1900United StatesTexasWestern Blacks and the Media
1691894Montana's first black newspaper, the Colored Citizen is founded by Ohio-born photographer J.P. Ball, Jr.1801-1900United StatesMontanaWestern Blacks and the Media
1701895The African American population of Salt Lake City supports two black newspapers, The Utah Plain Dealer, edited by William W. Taylor and the Broad Ax, managed by Julius F. Taylor.1801-1900United StatesUtahWestern Blacks and the Media
1711895The Kansas Industrial and Educational Institute is founded as a kindergarten, sewing school and reading room by Elizabeth Reddick and Edward Stephens, two African American elementary school teachers in Topeka. The Institute will eventually become, after the endorsement of Booker T. Washington and a substantial donation from Andrew Carnegie, a major facility for the teaching of industrial arts and scientific agriculture to black Kansans. In 1919 the state of Kansas assumes control of the facility and renames it the Kansas Vocational Institute.1801-1900United StatesKansasBlack Education in the West
1721899In May, the Twenty-fourth Infantry returns to occupy the Coeur d'Alene Mining District in northern Idaho after violence again erupts.1801-1900United StatesIdahoBlack Soldiers in the West
1731900Taking advantage of the various federal land openings in Oklahoma Territory, through the 1890s, approximately eight thousand African Americans acquire 1.5 million acres of land in the Territory valued at $11 million dollars.1801-1900United StatesOklahomaAfrican Americans in Oklahoma Territory
1741900Black women's clubs in Kansas create the first statewide federation in the west. By 1925, similar federations exist in Colorado (1903), Texas and Nebraska (1905), California (1906), Oklahoma (1910), Oregon and Montana (1912), Arizona (1915), Washington (1917), New Mexico (1923) and Wyoming (1925).1801-1900United StatesKansasBlack Women in the West
1751900Buffalo Soldiers are among the U.S. military forces sent to suppress the Boxer Rebellion in Peking, China.1801-1900Chinan. a.Black Soldiers in the West
1761903Los Angeles minister, J. E. Edwards, newspaper editor Jefferson Lewis Edmondsand attorney Frederick M. Roberts create a local civil rights organization called the Forum. Three years later the Forum gives its first scholarship to Ruth Temple who becomes the first black woman physician in Southern California.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaThe Urban West
1771903Watts is founded as a racially integrated suburban community of blacks, whites and Latinos seven miles south of downtown Los Angeles.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaThe Urban West
1781904The town of Boley, the most famous of the all-black communities in the Indian Territory, is founded in the Creek Nation by two white entrepreneurs, William Boley and Lake Moore. By 1907 Boley has over 1,000 residents.1901-2000United StatesOklahomaAfrican Americans in Indian Territory
1791904Shortly after the enactment of the Kinkaid Homestead Act of 1904, two hundred African Americans settle in the Sand Hills district of north-central Nebraska, claiming nearly 40,000 acres. They create the town of Dewitty which they later rename Audacious.1901-2000United StatesNebraskaMigration and Settlement to 1920
1801904Oscar Micheaux moves from Chicago to homestead land in South Dakota near the Rosebud Indian Reservation. In 1913 he publishes The Conquest, the first of three novels depicting his life of high plains farming.1901-2000United StatesSouth DakotaMigration and Settlement to 1920
1811905Los Angeles businessman Robert C. Owens, grandson of Bridget Biddy Mason, constructs a six-story, $250,000 building on the Mason homestead in Los Angeles. The building is the largest black-owned structure west of the Mississippi River.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaThe Urban West
1821906The Azusa Street Revival begins in Los Angeles in a former African Methodist Episcopal Church building at 312 Azusa Street in April. The revival, led by black evangelist William J. Seymour, is considered the beginning of the worldwide Pentecostal Movement.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Religion in the West
1831906On August 13 in Brownsville, Texas, approximately a dozen black troops riot against segregation and in the process kill a local citizen in an incident that will be called the Brownsville Affray. When the identity of the killer cannot be determined President Theodore Roosevelt discharges three companies of black soldiers on November 6.1901-2000United StatesTexasBlack Soldiers in the West
1841907Madame C.J. Walker of Denver develops and markets her hair straightening method and creates one of the most successful cosmetics firms in the nation.1901-2000United StatesColoradoThe Urban West
1851907On November 16, the twin territories, Indian Territory and Oklahoma, are admitted to the Union as the state of Oklahoma. The Democratic-dominated state legislature quickly disfranchises black voters and segregates public schools and accommodations.1901-2000United StatesOklahomaAfrican Americans in Oklahoma
1861908On December 26, Jack Johnson of Galveston, Texas, defeats Canadian Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia to become the first African American heavyweight boxing champion of the world.1901-2000Australian. a.Black Athletes in the West
1871909The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is formed on February 12 in New York City.1901-2000United StatesNew YorkThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
1881910Ohio-born Oliver Toussaint Jackson and his wife Minerva file a desert claim for 320 acres in Weld County, Colorado where they establish the Dearfield Colony for African Americans.1901-2000United StatesColoradoMigration and Settlement to 1920
1891913A west coast tour by W.E.B. DuBois prompts the creation of NAACP chapters in Los Angeles, Oakland-San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. By 1919 NAACP branches also exist in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.1901-2000United Statesn. a.The Civil Rights Movement in the West
1901915Throughout the summer NAACP Chapters in Seattle, Portland, Oakland-San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Topeka and Wichita protested the film, The Birth of a Nation.1901-2000United Statesn. a.The Civil Rights Movement in the West
1911915George and Noble Johnson found the Lincoln Motion Picture Company in Omaha to produce black films. In less than a year they relocate to Los Angeles.1901-2000United StatesNebraskaBlack Hollywood
1921915On June 21, the U.S. Supreme Court in Guinn v. United States overturns the Oklahoma Grandfather Clause.1901-2000United StatesDistrrict of ColumbiaThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
1931916In March the Tenth Cavalry is one of two cavalry units under the command of General John J. Pershing given the assignment to capture Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa. The Seventh Cavalry is the other. They are unsuccessful.1901-2000Mexicon. a.Black Soldiers in the West
1941917On August 23, a riot erupts in Houston between black soldiers and white citizens; two blacks and 11 whites are killed. Twenty nine black soldiers are executed for participation in what will be known as the Houston Mutiny.1901-2000United StatesTexasBlack Soldiers in the West
1951918In November, attorney and newspaper editor Frederick M. Roberts (Republican) of Los Angeles becomes the first African American elected to the California Assembly.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
1961919The twenty five race riots that take place throughout the nation prompting the term, Red Summer, including clashes on July 13 in Longview, Texas, and September 28 in Omaha.1901-2000United StatesNebraskaThe Urban West
1971919South Dakota resident Oscar Micheaux releases his first film, The Homesteader, in Chicago. Over the next four decades Micheaux will produce and direct 24 silent films and 19 sound films, making him the most prolific black filmmaker of the 20th Century.1901-2000United StatesIllinoisBlack Hollywood
1981920On August 26, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified giving all women the right to vote. Black women already have the right to vote in Wyoming, Washington, Colorado, California and other western states.1901-2000United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaBlack Women in the West
1991921On May 31-June 1, at least 60 blacks and 21 whites are killed in the Tulsa Race Riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The violence destroys a thriving African American neighborhood and business district called Deep Greenwood.1901-2000United StatesOklahomaThe Urban West
2001921Bessie Coleman of Atlanta, Texas, the first black female pilot, also becomes the first woman to receive an international pilot's license when she graduates from the Federation Aeronautique International in France.1901-2000United StatesTexasBlack Women in the West
2011921The one thousand member Los Angeles division (chapter) of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), led by Noah Thompson and Charlotta Bass, is the largest in the nation west of Chicago.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Power in the West
2021924On July 26, El Paso dentist Lawrence Aaron Nixon attempts to vote in the Texas Democratic Primary. He is denied a ballot because of his race. Nixon initiates an NAACP-supported lawsuit, and a twenty year campaign, to test the constitutionality of the state statute that bans African Americans from voting in the primary.1901-2000United StatesTexasThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2031925Authors Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman and Arna Bontemps write and publish in Los Angeles before going on to greater fame in the Harlem Renaissance.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Literature
2041925Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas) becomes the center of a black jazz network that will stretch throughout the West and eventually include Shanghai, Hong Kong and Manila.1901-2000United StatesMissouriBlack Music in the West
2051928The Hotel Somerville (later renamed the Dunbar) opens in Los Angeles in 1928 to hosts the first NAACP national convention held in the West.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Urban History
2061928The first National Urban League affiliate in the West is established in Omaha.1901-2000United StatesNebraskaThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2071933The Los Angeles Sentinel is founded by Leon H. Washington.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaWestern Blacks and the Media
2081934California Republican Assemblyman Frederick Roberts is defeated by 27 year-old Democrat Augustus Hawkins who will continue to hold this assembly seat until he is elected to the U.S. Congress in 1962.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2091936Dallas political leaders Rev. Maynard H. Jackson, Sr. and Antonio Maceo Smithorganize the Progressive Citizens' League which is soon renamed the Progressive Voters' League. The League initially challenges restrictions on African American voting in the city and eventually becomes one of the most effective black political organizations in Texas.1901-2000United StatesTexasBlack Western Politics
2101939Dancer and actor Bill Bojangles Robinson of Los Angeles serves as the first honorary president of the Negro Actors Guild of America.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Hollywood
2111940On February 29, Hattie McDaniel receives an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Gone With the Wind. She becomes the first black actor to win an Academy Award.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Hollywood
2121941Rev. Clayton Russell forms the Negro Victory Committee in Los Angeles to use mass civil disobedience tactics to challenge racial discrimination.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2131941On June 25, Executive Order 8802 desegregates war production plants throughout the West and creates the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC).1901-2000United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2141941On December 8, the United States enters World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Doris "Dorie" Miller of Waco is awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism during that battle.1901-2000United StatesHawaiiWorld War II in the West
2151941-1945The desperate need for factory labor to build the war machine needed to win World War II led to an unprecedented migration of African Americans from the South to the West. This migration transforms politics, particularly in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington as blacks increasingly vote in their new homes and put pressure on Congress to protect civil rights throughout the nation. Their activism lays much of the foundation for the national Civil Rights Movement a decade later.1901-2000United Statesn. a.World War II in the West
2161942Three African American soldiers are killed in Phoenix, Arizona during the Thanksgiving Day Riot against what local residents and black military personnel term brutality by the Phoenix police force.1901-2000United StatesArizonaBlack Soldiers in the West
2171942Los Angeles newspaper editor Charlotta Bass, California Assemblyman Augustus Hawkins and the actors Hattie McDaniel and Lena Horne join the Citizens' Committee for the Defense of Mexican American Youth formed by actor Anthony Quinn and Josephine Fierro de Bright of the Spanish-Speaking People's Congress. The organization is created to defend eight Mexican American men charged with the murder of Jose Diaz.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaWorld War II in the West
2181943The Zoot Suit Riot begins on June 3 in Los Angeles when white sailors, soldiers and marines attack local youth who wear Zoot Suits. The riot continues for four days. Most of those assaulted are young Mexican American men but some African American and Filipino American men are attacked as well. Only nine white sailors were arrested by authorities in comparison to several hundred Zoot Suiters, some of whom die in jail of injuries sustained during the assaults.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaWorld War II in the West
2191943On June 15, a false story of a rape of the wife of a white shipyard worker prompts the Beaumont Race Riot, an attack by nearly 2,000 European American shipyard workers in Beaumont, Texas against their African American counterparts. When the riot ends 24 hours later three black workers and one white worker are dead and over four hundred are injured.1901-2000United StatesTexasWorld War II in the West
2201943By summer fourteen thousand African American soldiers of the 93rd Infantry Division and the 32nd and 33rd companies of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps(approximately 300 women) are stationed in the Arizona desert at Fort Huachuca for training. They are the largest concentration of black military personnel in the history of the nation.1901-2000United StatesArizonaBlack Soldiers in the West
2211943The recently formed Denver chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality organizes one of the West's first successful protest demonstrations when it pickets a Denver movie theater that segregates its black and white patrons.1901-2000United StatesColoradoThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2221944On April 3, the U.S. Supreme Court in Smith v. Allwright, a case from Houston, Texas, declares that state's white only political primary unconstitutional.1901-2000United StatesTexasThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2231944The Port Chicago Mutiny evolves after an horrendous explosion on an ammunition ship docked at the Port Chicago Naval Base on San Francisco Bay. The explosion on July 17 kills 320 men including 202 African American sailors who comprise half of the black personnel at the naval facility. When 50 black sailors refuse to return to the ships until their safety concerns are addressed, the Navy court-martials them for mutiny. All are convicted and sentenced to prison. After World War II ended, most of the convicted sailors are quietly released.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Soldiers in the West
2241944On August 14, African American soldiers initiate the Ft. Lawton Riot in a military base in Seattle because they believe Italian POW's are receiving better treatment and facilities. One Italian POW is lynched during the riot prompting an investigation that results in the court martial and conviction of 23 black soldiers.1901-2000United StatesWashingtonBlack Soldiers in the West
2251944The California Supreme Court in James v. Marinship rules that the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers can no longer maintain a segregated auxiliary for African American workers in the state's shipyards.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2261945World War II ends with the Japanese surrender on September 2. The demobilization of both the civilian and military populations which began before the war ended is now intensified. Thousands of African American soldiers who are discharged from the armed forces, and tens of thousands of black defense workers who are laid off, nonetheless choose to remain in the West.1901-2000United Statesn. a.World War II in the West
2271947On April 10, longtime Pasadena, California resident Jackie Robinson joins the Brooklyn Dodgers and becomes the first African American to play major league baseball in the 20th Century.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Athletes in the West
2281947In September black, white and Latino students at the University of New Mexico led by George Long, an African American undergraduate, began a boycott of local restaurants that discriminate against black patrons. The campaign eventually leads to the Albuquerque civil rights ordinance enacted on February 12, 1952 and a state wide law created three years later.1901-2000United StatesNew MexicoThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2291948On July 26, President Harry Truman issues Executive Order 9981 directing the desegregation of the armed forces.1901-2000United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaBlack Soldiers in the West
2301948On October 1, the California Supreme Court voids the law banning interracial marriages in the state.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2311949The state of Washington will enact the Washington State Law Against Discrimination, the first fair employment practices law in the West. Over the next decade Oregon, New Mexico and California will pass similar legislation.1901-2000United StatesWashingtonThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2321950Beginning in the Spring of 1950, the De Porres Club, an interracial organization of students at Creighton University in Omaha, will over the next decade mount a series of non-violent direct action protests against housing segregation and employment discrimination in the Omaha area. Their goals and tactics foreshadowed the efforts of civil rights activists throughout the nation in the 1960s.1901-2000United StatesNebraskaThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2331950On September 22, Ralph Bunche of Pasadena, California becomes first African American recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize because of his mediation of a settlement between Arabs and Israelis in the 1947-48 Mideast Crisis.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Internationalism
2341951On February 28, thirteen African American families in Topeka, Kansas file a lawsuit against the local school board for its policies that permit racially segregated schools. The case will eventually be known as Brown v. Board of Education.1901-2000United StatesKansasBlack Education in the West
2351952Maricopa County (Arizona) Court Judge Frederic C. Struckmeyer, Jr. rules against school segregation in Phoenix in response to a lawsuit brought on behalf of three black high school students, Robert B. Phillips, Jr., Tolly Williams, and David Clark.1901-2000United StatesArizonaBlack Education in the West
2361952Los Angeles newspaper editor Charlotta Bass receives the Progressive Party nomination for Vice President.  She is the first African American woman to be placed on a national party ticket.  1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Politics
2371954On May 17, the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education declares segregation in all public schools in the United States unconstitutional, nullifying the earlier judicial doctrine of separate but equal.1901-2000United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaBlack Education in the West
2381958On July 19, Ronald Walters, a Wichita State College freshman and president of the Wichita NAACP Youth Council, leads the city's first sit-in demonstration. The group protests Dockum Drugstore's ban on black customers using the lunch counter. The protest ends a few days later when the drugstore officials promise to end the discriminatory policy.1901-2000United StatesKansasThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2391958On August 19, Clara Luper, advisor to the Oklahoma City Youth Council, initiates a similar protest at Katz's Drugstore in that city. This effort evolves into a six year campaign against segregated facilities throughout the city that includes dozens of protest marches and hundreds of demonstrations. Finally on June 6, 1964, the Oklahoma City Council enacts an ordinance that outlaws racial discrimination in public accommodations.1901-2000United StatesOklahomaThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2401960For the next five years dozens of civil rights demonstrations will take place in cities throughout the West including Denver, Los Angeles, Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Reno, Seattle, San Diego, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.1901-2000United Statesn. a.The Civil Rights Movement in the West
2411960On September 8, first grader Tyronne Raymond Day takes his seat with twenty-nine white classmates to become the first African American to attend a desegregated school in Houston.1901-2000United StatesTexasBlack Education in the West
2421962In November California Assemblyman Augustus Hawkins become the first African American elected to Congress from the West.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2431963On August 28, the same day as the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech, the Seattle Public School District becomes the first major school system in the country to initiate a voluntary desegregation plan.1901-2000United StatesWashingtonBlack Education in the West
2441964In February Sidney Poitier wins the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film Lilies of the Field.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Hollywood
2451964In March eighteen-year-old Tracy Simms, a Berkeley High School student, leads 1,500 demonstrators in a protest against the hiring policies of San Francisco's Sheraton Palace, in what is to that point the largest non-violent protest in the West. Eventually the Sheraton Palace and other major San Francisco hotels agree to hire personnel on a non racially-discriminatory basis. One of the arrested demonstrators, Mario Savio, will within six months become the leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaThe Civil Rights Movement in the West
2461964In September the Berkeley Public School System begins the first voluntary busing plan to promote school desegregation.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Education in the West
2471965The Watts Uprising occurs in the Los Angeles South Central neighborhood of Watts on August 11-16. Thirty four people are killed and one thousand are injured in the five day confrontation.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Power in the West
2481965Maulana Karenga founds the black nationalist group, US, in Los Angeles following the Watts Uprising.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Power in the West
2491966On October 15, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton form the Black Panther Party in Oakland.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Power in the West
2501966Maulana Karenga creates the Pan-African and African American holiday, Kwanzaa, in Los Angeles.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Holidays and Celebrations
2511967The mistaken entrance of armed Black Panthers into the California State Assembly chamber in front of news reporters and photographers on May 2 gives the young organization world wide publicity and prompts a surge of membership growth. Twenty six Panthers are arrested at the state capitol including co-founder Bobby Seale.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Power in the West
2521968On March 16, the Black Panther Party and the Peace and Freedom Party announce a political coalition. The Peace and Freedom Party slate of candidates includes Black Panthers Kathleen Cleaver who is nominated to run in California's 18th Assembly District (San Francisco) and Bobby Seale, a candidate for the 17th Assembly District seat (Oakland). This will be the first of a decade long effort by various Panthers to will electoral office.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Power in the West
2531968In September San Francisco State University establishes the nation's first Black Studies Program.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Education in the West
2541968The Black Panther Party announces its "serve the people" program which includes a free breakfast for children on welfare.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Power in the West
2551969On January 17, a confrontation between Black Panthers and members of the US organization on the UCLA campus erupts into a gun battle which leaves two Panthers, Alprentice (Bunchy) Carter and John Huggins dead.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Power in the West
2561969Robert Chrisman and Nathan Hare of San Francisco publish the first issue of The Black Scholar in November.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Education in the West
2571970On February 18, Bobby Seale and six other six defendants (popularly known as the Chicago Seven) are acquitted of the charge of conspiring to disrupt the 1968 Democratic National Convention.1901-2000United StatesIllinoisBlack Power in the West
2581970The San Rafael, California courthouse shooting on August 7 results in the death of Judge Harold Haley and three others including Jonathan Jackson, the younger brother of imprisoned Black Panther George Jackson. UCLA Philosophy Professor Angela Davis is implicated in the shooting and becomes the subject of a nationwide FBI-led search. Davis is captured and brought to trial. She is acquitted of all charges on June 4, 1972.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Power in the West
2591972In November Yvonne Brathwaite Burke of Los Angeles is elected to Congress from California.  She and Barbara Jordan of Texas become the first African American elected to Congress from the West.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2601973Black Panthers Elaine Brown and Bobby Seale run campaigns for the Oakland City Council and for Oakland Mayor respectively. Both are defeated.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2611973On May 29, Thomas Bradley is elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles in the modern era. Bradley is reelected four times, thus holding the post longer than any other mayor. He retires from office in 1993.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2621974On November 5, Mervyn Dymally is elected Lieutenant Governor of California. He and George Brown who is elected on the same day in Colorado, become the first African Americans to hold these posts anywhere in the nation in the 20th century.1901-2000United StatesColoradoBlack Western Politics
2631977Judge Lionel Wilson is elected the first African American mayor of Oakland.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2641978The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) drops it 126 year old ban on African American men in the priesthood.1901-2000United StatesUtahBlack Religion in the West
2651978On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke narrowly uphold affirmative action as a legal strategy for addressing past discrimination.1901-2000United StatesDistrict of ColumbiaAffirmative Action in the West
2661978In September Seattle becomes the largest city in the United States to institute a program of mandatory busing to desegregate its public schools without a court order. Nearly 25 percent of the district's students are bused as part of the Seattle Plan to promote school desegregation. The school district ends the mandatory busing program in October 1997.1901-2000United StatesWashingtonBlack Education in the West
2671979Robert C. Maynard is named editor of the Oakland Tribune. He is the first African American to hold the position at a major daily newspaper in the West.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaWestern Blacks and the Media
2681980In January Willie Lewis Brown, Jr. becomes the first African American Speaker in a state legislature when he is selected for the post in the California Assembly. Brown holds the Speakership until 1995 when he is elected Mayor of San Francisco.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2691982In November California Attorney General George Deukmejian narrowly defeats Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley for governor of the state of California. Bradley, then a three term mayor of the largest city in the state, had hoped to become the first African American popularly elected chief executive of a state.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2701983Robert C. Maynard and his wife, Nancy, purchase the Oakland Tribune. The Maynards are the first African Americans to own a major daily newspaper.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaWestern Blacks and the Media
2711984In August Carl Lewis of Houston wins four Gold Medals at the Olympics in Los Angeles, matching the record set by Jesse Owens in 1936.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Athletes in the West
2721984In September The Cosby Show makes its television debut. The show runs for eight seasons and will become the most successful series in television history featuring a mostly African American cast.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaWestern Blacks and the Media
2731986Filmmaker Spike Lee releases his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It, initiating a new wave of interest in black films and African American filmmakers.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Hollywood
2741986William A. Hilliard becomes editor of the Portland Oregonian.1901-2000United StatesOregonWestern Blacks and the Media
2751986The 1986 California gubernatorial election is a rematch of the 1982 campaign although now Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley opposes the incumbent governor, George Deukmejian. In this contest Governor Deukmejian wins by a 61 percent to 37 percent margin.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2761989Houston, Texas Congressman George Thomas "Mickey" Leland is killed in a plane crash near Gambela, Ethiopia on August 7.1901-2000EthiopiaTexasBlackj Western Politics
2771989On November 7, Norm Rice is elected the first African American mayor of Seattle.1901-2000United StatesWashingtonBlack Western Politics
2781989Martinique-born Euzhan Palcy directs the anti-apartheid film, A Dry White Season. In doing so she becomes the first woman of African descent to direct a Hollywood studio movie.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Hollywood
2791990Seattle playwright August Wilson wins a Pulitzer Prize for the play, The Piano Lesson.1901-2000United StatesWashingtonArt and Literature
2801991Julie Dash releases Daughters of the Dust, the first feature film by an African American woman.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Hollywood
2811991On March 3, Los Angeles police use force to arrest Rodney King after a San Fernando Valley traffic stop. The beating of King is captured on videotape and broadcast widely, prompting an investigation and subsequent trial of three officers.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaCrime and Punishment
2821991On June 18, Wellington Webb becomes the first African American mayor of Denver, Colorado.1901-2000United StatesColoradoBlack Western Politics
2831992On April 29, a Simi Valley, California Jury acquits the three officers accused of beating Rodney King. The verdict triggers a three day uprising in Los Angeles called the Rodney King Riot that results in over 50 people killed, over 2,000 injured and 8,000 arrested.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaCrime and Punishment
2841992In November Pearl Stewart is named editor of the Oakland Tribute. She is the first black woman to hold that post in a major daily newspaper.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaWestern Blacks and the Media
2851994On June 12, O.J. Simpson's former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman are found stabbed to death. Simpson, a leading sports and film celebrity, emerges as the leading suspect and is subsequently arrested on June 17 after a two hour low speed pursuit of Simpson and his friend, Al Cowlings, which is seen on television by an estimated 95 million people.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaCrime and Punishment
2861995On October 3, after an eight month televised trial, O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the charges of murder in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaCrime and Punishment
2871995Ronald "Ron" Kirk is elected the first African American mayor of Dallas, Texas.1901-2000United StatesTexasBlack Western Politics
2881996On November 5, California voters pass Proposition 209 which outlaws affirmative action throughout the state.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaAffirmative Action in the West
2891996Willie Brown, Jr. is elected the first African American mayor of San Francisco.1901-2000United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics
2901997Lee P. Brown is elected as the first African American mayor of Houston.1901-2000United StatesTexasBlack Western Politics
2911998On November 4, Washington voters pass Initiative 200, which like the California measure, effectively ends government-sponsored affirmative action programs in the state.1901-2000United StatesWashingtonAffirmative Action in the West
2922002In March, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington win Oscars for best actress and best actor for their portrayals in Monster’s Ball and Training Day respectively.2001-United StatesCaliforniaBlack Hollywood
2932003Significant population shifts and reduced resistance to residential integration result in more African Americans living in the suburbs of Los Angeles and Seattle than in their city limits.2001-United StatesWashingtonThe Urban West
2942007Carl Brewer becomes the first African American elected mayor of Wichita, Kansas.2001-United StatesKansasBlack Western Politics
2952008Former NBA basketball player Kevin M. Johnson is elected the first African American mayor of Sacramento.2001-United StatesCaliforniaBlack Western Politics