Time Line of African American History, 1901-1925

The following works were valuable sources in the compilation of this Time Line: Lerone Bennett's Before the Mayflower (Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 1982), W. Augustus Low and Virgil A. Clift's Encyclopedia of Black America (New York: Da Capo Press, 1984), and Harry A. Ploski and Warren Marr's The Negro Almanac (New York: Bellwether Co., 1976).


Timeline: 1852-1880
Timeline: 1881-1900


1901

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

President McKinley assassinated. President McKinley died of an assassin's bullet on September 14, a week after being shot in Buffalo, New York. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him as president.

Washington dines at the White House. On October 16, after an afternoon meeting at the White House with Booker T. Washington, President Theodore Roosevelt informally invited Washington to remain and eat dinner with him, making Washington the first black American to dine at the White House with the president. A furor arose over the social implications of Roosevelt's casual act.

Lynchings. One hundred and five black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1901.

1902

Lynchings. Eighty-five black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1902.

1903

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

Lynchings.Eighty-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1903.

1904

College founded. Educator Mary McCleod Bethune founds a college in Daytona Beach, Florida, known today as Bethune-Cookman College.

Lynchings. Seventy-six black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1904.

1905

The Niagara Movement. On July 11-13, African-American intellectuals and activists, led by W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter, began the Niagara Movement.

Lynchings. Fifty-seven black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1905.

1906

Soldiers riot. In Brownsville, Texas on August 13, black troops rioted against segregation. On November 6, President Theodore Roosevelt discharged three companies of black soldiers involved in the riot.

A race riot. On September 22-24, in a race riot in Atlanta, ten blacks and two whites were killed.

Lynchings. Sixty-two black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1906.

1908

Thurgood Marshall born. Born in Baltimore on July 2, Thurgood Marshall, was the attorney for the NAACP in the famous case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), in which the Supreme Court found segregated schools to be inherently unequal. He later became the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court.

A race riot. Many were killed and wounded in a race riot on August 14-19, in Abraham Lincoln's home town of Springfield, Illinois.

Taft elected president. On November 3, William Howard Taft (Republican) was elected president.

Lynchings. Eighty-nine black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1908.

1909

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

The North Pole is reached. On April 6, Admiral Peary and African-American Matthew Henson, accompanied by four Eskimos, became the first men known to have reached the North Pole.

Lynchings. Sixty-nine black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1909.

1910

Census of 1910.

   U.S. population:  93,402,151
   Black population:  9,827,763 (10.7%)

Crisis debuts. The first issue of Crisis, a publication sponsored by the NAACP and edited by W. E.B. Du Bois, appeared on November 1.

Segregated neighborhoods. On December 19, the City Council of Baltimore approved the first city ordinance designating the boundaries of black and white neighborhoods. This ordinance was followed by similar ones in Dallas, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, Norfolk, Virginia, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Richmond, Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia, and St. Louis, Missouri. The Supreme Court declared the Louisville ordinance to be unconstitutional in 1917.

Lynchings. Sixty-seven black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1910.

1911

The National Urban League begins. In October, the National Urban League was organized to help African-Americans secure equal employment. Professor Kelly Miller was a founding member.

Lynchings. Sixty black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1911.

1912

Wilson elected president. Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) was elected president on November 5.

Lynchings. Sixty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1912.

1913

Jubilee year. The fiftieth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was celebrated throughout the year.

Harriet Tubman dies. Harriet Tubman -- former slave, abolitionist, and freedom fighter -- died on March 10.

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

Lynchings. Fifty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1913.

1914

Lynchings. Fifty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1914.

World War I. World War I began in Europe.

1915

Booker T. Washington dies. Renowned African-American spokesman Booker T. Washington died on November 14.

Lynchings. Fifty-six black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1915.

1916

Lynchings. Fifty black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1916.

1917

World War I. America entered World War I on April 6. 370,000 African-Americans were in military service -- more than half in the French war zone.

A race riot. One of the bloodiest race riots in the nation's history took place in East St. Louis, Illinois, on July 1-3. A Congressional committee reported that 40 to 200 people were killed, hundreds more injured, and 6,000 driven from their homes.

NAACP protest. Thousands of African-Americans marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on July 28, protesting lynchings, race riots, and the denial of rights.

A race riot. On August 23, a riot erupted in Houston between black soldiers and white citizens; 2 blacks and 11 whites were killed. 18 black soldiers were hanged for participation in the riot.

The Supreme Court acts. On November 5, the Supreme Court struck down the Louisville, Kentucky ordinance mandating segregated neighborhoods.

Lynchings. Thirty-six black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1917.

1918

A race riot. On July 25-28, a race riot occurred in Chester, Pennsylvania. 3 blacks and 2 whites were killed.

A race riot. On July 26-29, a race riot occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 3 blacks and 1 white were killed.

World War I ends. The Armistice took effect on November 11, ending World War I. The northern migration of African-Americans began in earnest during the war. By 1930 there were 1,035,000 more black Americans in the North, and 1,143,000 fewer black Americans in the South than in 1910.

Lynchings. Sixty black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1918.

1919

"Red Summer." This was the year of the "Red Summer," with 26 race riots between the months of April and October. These included disturbances in the following areas:

   May 10                                   Charleston, South Carolina.
   July 13                                   Gregg and Longview counties, Texas.
   July 19-23                               Washington, D. C.
   July 27                                   Chicago.
   October 1-3                             Elaine, Arkansas.

Lynchings. Seventy-six black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1919.

1920

Census of 1920.

               U.S. population:  105,710,620
               Black population:  10,463,131 (9.9%)

The Harlem Renaissance. The decade of the Twenties witnessed the Harlem Renaissance, a remarkable period of creativity for black writers, poets, and artists, including these authors:

   Claude McKay,        Harlem Shadows, 1922
   Jean Toomer,           Cane, 1923
   Alaine Locke,           The New Negro, 1925
   Countee Cullen,        Color, 1925

The rise of Marcus Garvey. On August 1, Marcus Garvey's Universal Improvement Association held its national convention in Harlem, the traditionally black neighborhood in New York City. Garvey's African nationalist movement was the first black American mass movement, and at its height it claimed hundreds of thousands of supporters.

Harding elected president. On November 3, Warren G. Harding (Republican) was elected president.

Lynchings. Fifty-three black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1920.

1921

A race riot. On May 31-June 1, in a race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 21 whites and 60 blacks were killed. The violence destroyed a thriving African American neighborhood and business district.