Chronography of Racial Equality
Page last modified 4 October 2023
See also History of Slavery
Source, This Day in Automotive History, p.62, Brian Corey, 2017
7 October 1993, Toni Morrison became the first Black woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature.
1958, The term Afro-Caribbean came into use as a synonym for Black.
1935, First known use of the pejorative term �Banana Republic�. It denoted a small State, especially in Central America, whose economy was dependent on fruit exports, and whose government was unstable, undemocratic, and prone to frequent coups.
1935, First known use of the term �affirmative action�, to take positive steps to advantage a minority group, as opposed to simple neutral non-discrimmination. The term did not become widely used until the 1960s in the USA. See 1967.
21 December 1934, Josephine Baker became the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture, �Zouzou�, in Paris.
1905, First recorded use of the term �colour prejudice�, by William Baucke, to describe racial prejudice against the Maoris.
20 February 1965, In Australia, Freedom Ride participants, including Charles Perkins, were ejected from the municipal swimming baths at Moree, New South Wales, after protesting against its segregationist policy of not admitting indigenous Australians.
3 August 2009, Bolivia became the first country in South America to grant self-government to its indigenous peoples.
7 June 2020, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol Docks.
25 November 2015, The first Asian woman to become a High Court Judge in Britain, Mrs Cheena-Grubb, 49, from Derby, was sworn in. There were now 22 female High Court Judges, compared with just 10 in 2005.
6 October 2006, In the UK, Jack Straw MP was accused of racism after reports that he asked Muslim women to remove their veils at his surgery.
24 June 2004, In Thetford, Norfolk, a mob of 200 local youths laid siege to the Portuguese run Red Lion pub, hurling paving slabs and other missiles. 40 Portuguese workers and their families were trapped inside for two hours until police could bring in sufficient reinforcements to quell the disturbance. Eight people were injured, and ten people subsequently arrested. The event was initially linked to Portugal having beaten the English football team out of the Euro 2004 tournament. However there was also a strong racist element, with the town having suffered major job losses to its agricultural food processing industries and local wages being depressed.
27 September 2001. The UK Home Secretary, David Blunkett, condemned as offensive remarks by the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi had said that Western civilisation was superior to Islamic society.
22 August 2001, Robertsons announced it would replace its Golly logo with drawings of Roald Dahl characters by Quentin Blake.
7 June 1991, Bill Morris became the General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, the first Black leader of a UK trade union.
2 January 1987. The traditional golliwogs in Enid Blyton�s Noddy books were replaced by neutral gnomes to remove any taint of racism.
30 April 1985, Britain�s first Black bishop, Wilfrid Wood, was appointed.
29 November 1978, Viv Anderson, of Nottingham Forest, became the first Black footballer to play for England.
30 January 1978, Mrs Thatcher said many in Britain feared �being swamped� by people with a different culture.
11 November 1977, The UK�s Anti-Nazi League was formed.
8 June 1977. In Britain the Race Relations Commission began work. In 1996 it registered 1,750 calls for assistance with racial discrimination and handled 142 court cases in this area. In 1997 asimilar Commission was established in Northern Ireland.
1976, In Britain the Race Relations Commission was set up, by an amendment to the 1965 Race Relations Act.
1973, In the UK, the TUC changed its traditional pro-immigration-control stance and became very much anti-racist and pro-equal-opportunity,
9 August 1970. Police and Black protestors clashed in Notting Hill, London.
9 April 1969, Sikh bus drivers in Wolverhampton won the right to wear turbans.
1 January 1969. Sir Learie
7 February 1967, In Britain the Far Right anti-immigration National Front party was formed. It was founded by A.K.Chesterton, cousin of the famous author.
14 March 1966, Britain�s first Asian policeman, Muhammad Yusuf, was sworn in to the Coventry force
31 May 1965. Within a day of moving into a semi detached house on a Staffordshire housing estate a Jamaican family was approached by the resident� association with an offer to buy them out. �We are not against coloured people� said the chairman, �but we are concerned about maintaining the value of our house� said the residents..
1962, Wilston Samuel Jackson became the UK�s first Black train driver. Born in Jamaica he arrived in Britain in 1952 and initially worked in maintenance jobs. He faced an attempted boycott in 1962 by some colleagues who urged others not to work with him but went on to a successful career, later teaching train drivers in Zambia. He died in 2018 aged 91.
18 November 1962. Birmingham Corporation, UK,� revoked a ban on turbaned Sikhs working as bus conductors and drivers.
24 May 1959, Empire day was renamed Commonwealth Day.
8 September 1958. Race riots in Notting Hill, London. White youths attacked five Black people, leading to 150 arrests and gang fights involving up to 2,000 people.
31 August 1958, Fighting between Black and White youths in Notting Hill, London.
8 March 1955, In West Bromwich, Birmingham, UK, bus drivers re-imposed a colour bar, which had already led to strikes.
27 June 1925, Michael Dummett, British campaigner for racial equality, was born (died 2011).
13 January 1919. Satyendra Prasano Sinha became the first Indian peer of Britain and so the first Indian member of the House of Lords.
10 November 1913, In Battersea, London, Britain�s first Black mayor was elected.
6 July 1892, Dadabhai Naoroji became Britain�s first non-White MP. He was elected Liberal representative for Central Finsbury, London, by a majority of 3 votes over his Unionist rival.
30 April 1517, This evening the Evil May Day riots began in London; one of the earliest race riots recorded. Riots were directed against foreigners, whom they claimed were protected by their nations�s ambassadors from punishment for crimes that English citizens would be penalised for. In fact, London was suffering an economic downturn after a poor harvest the previous autumn. Prices were rising and wages being cut. Hanseatic merchants and foreign bankers were targeted, also foreign courtiers.
17 December 1996, Kofi Annan from Ghana became the first Black African UN Secretary General.
21 December 1965, The United Nations General Assembly voted 106 to 0 to adopt the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. After ratification by 27 nations, it would come into effect on 4 January 1969.
24 November 2014, In Missouri, the Prosecutor�s Office announced it would not press charges against a policeman, Mr Wilson, for shooting dead a Black teenager, Michael Brown (see 9 August 2014). Several nights rioting followed.
9 August 2014, A Black man, Mr Brown, was shot dead by a White policeman, Mr Darren Wilson, in the suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, USA. Several nights of racial-based rioting followed.
24 October 2005, Rosa Parks, who in 1955 refused to give up her bus seat to a White passenger, so starting the civil rights movement, died aged 92.
26 January 2005, Condoleezza Rice was confirmed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 85-13 to become the first African-American woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State.
24 March 2002, Halle Berry, US actress, became the first Black woman to win an Oscar.
2 January 1991, Sharon Pratt Dixon was sworn in as Mayor of Washington DC, becoming the first Black woman to lead such a major US city.
24 November 1990, White extremists attacked 300 Black children in a park in Louis Trichardt.
8 November 1989, In Virginia, Douglas Wilder became the first Black Governor in the USA.
6 November 1989, David Dinkins became the first African-American mayor of New York City.
5 May 1988, In the US, Eugene Antonio became the country�s first Black Roman Catholic Archbishop.
17 September 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first African-American Miss America
12 April 1983. Chicago got its first Black mayor.
27 August 1981. Moira Stuart was appointed the BBC�s first Black female newsreader.
27 June 1979, Brian Weber lost a reverse discrimination case against his union (US Supreme Court, United Steel Workers v Weber), which had recruited Black and White workers in equal numbers to a training programme, although White workers outnumbered Black ones.
1978, The case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. A Whute engineering graduate, Alan Bakke, had applied to the American University of California (Davis) Medical School, but was not offered a place, despite his having higher qualifications than most of the Black students admitted. Of the 100 places available, 16 were reserved for Black students. The US Supreme Court ruled that, although the University had violated the 14th Amendment and Bakke had suffered discrimination, and was entitled to a place, it was nevertheless reasonable for the University to consider racial background in admittance decisions. This rather confused decision opened the way to further cases over �reverse discrimmination�.
16 October 1974, In the USA the 82nd airborne division was put on alert as race riots in Boston continued. President Ford was reluctant to send in troops.
10 October 1974, Widespread race rioting in Boston, USA,� in protest at the bussing of black schoolchildren to maintain a racial balance in the city�s schools.
3 August 1971, US President Nixon ordered that the bussing of schoolchildren, to achieve racially desegregated schools, be limited �to the minimum required by law�.
5 November 1968 The first Black woman was elected to the US House of Representatives.
1967, The term positive discrimination was first used, meaning to make active efforts to favour a disadvantaged group, see affirmative action (1935).
2 October 1967, US Jurist Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American Justice of the US Supreme Court.
17 August 1967, West-Indian born civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael rejected the non-violent principles of Martin Luther King Jr, and called on African-Americans to mount an armed revolution.
13 June 1967, Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall was nominated as the first Black American Justice of the US Supreme Court, He served until 1991.
1966, The Black Power movement got underway, campaigning for better civil rights for Black people.
1966, The Black Panther Party was founded by two Black people from Oakland California; Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The aim of the Party was to secure better economic and civil rights for Black people in the USA.
8 November 1966. Edward Brooke became the USA�s first black senator.
2 September 1966, Governor George Wallace of Georgia, USA, forbade the State�s schools from complying with Federal US desegregation requirements.
13 January 1966, Robert C Weaver became the first Black person selected for Cabinet office by US President Lyndon Johnson (Housing and Urban Development)
6 December 1965.. The Governor of California received a report on the necessity of stimulating employment and education among the Black population as a means of avoiding race riots.
19 October 1965, In the USA, the Un-American Activities Committee of the House of Representatives began a public hearing on the Klu Klux Klan.
6 August 1965, US Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, outlawing racial discrimination in voting procedures. This discrimination had included literacy tests, where Black people mhad had less educational opportunities.
7 March 1965, US State Troopers and police attacked some 600 Civil Rights marchers with clubs, whips, and tear gas on the Selma Freedom March from Selma, Alabama, to the State capital, Alabama. 17 marchers were hospitalised and scores more injured.
21 February 1965. American Black leader Malcolm X was shot dead whilst addressing a meeting in New York. He was shot 15 times at point-blank range by three gunmen, and was dead on arrival at hospital. Born on 19 May 1925 in Nebraska, Malcolm X was the son of a Baptist minister, Earl Little, who was a supporter of the Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Little received death threats and in 1931 his body was found, mutilated. Malcolm dropped out of school and by 1942 was involved in the criminal gangs of Harlem, New York. He was imprisoned for burglary in 1946 and in the same year converted to an Islamic sect led by Elijah Mohammed. Malcolm changed his surname to X because he viewed Little as a slave name. Out on parole in 1952, Malcolm preached for the sect, supporting Black separatism and violence. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964 and then changed his views to supporting all races. He founded the Organisation of Afro-American Unity and toured many countries before he was assassinated.
7 December 1964, The US Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional, a Florida law that prohibited cohabitation between a white man and a black woman, or a black man and a white woman, noting that Florida did not prohibit cohabitation between the same conduct by persons of the same race. The case of McLaughlin v. Florida arose when Dewey McLaughlin, a black man, and Connie Hoffman, a white woman, had been sentenced to 30 days in jail after living together in Miami. The Court avoided commenting on state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
2 August 1964, US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act 1964.
2 July 1964. President Johnson of the USA signed the Civil Rights Bill prohibiting racial discrimination.
15 September 1963, During race violence in the US, an African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama, was blown up.
27 August 1963, Du Bois, fighter for Black equality (born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 23 February 1868), died in Accra, Ghana. He founded the Niagara Movement, an association of Black intellectuals, in 1905, which became part of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) in 1909. Du Bois also participated on the conferences that led to the founding of the United Nations, moving to Ghana in 1961. During World War Two, membership rose from 50,000 to 400,000. In 1987 the NAACP had around 500,000 members, noth Black and White.
12 June 1963, Civil Rights lawyer Medgar Evers was murdered by White� segregationists in Mississippi.
10 May 1963, African-Americans were finally allowed to use the shops and public services in Birmingham, Alabama, after the �Birmingham Campaign� led by Martin Luther King.
2 April 1963, A Black Civil Rights campaign began in the USA.
13 September 1962, In the US, President Kennedy condemner the burning of Black churches which was being done to discourage Black voter registration.
29 January 1962, The USA enacted a positive discrimination law, that firms with large government contracts must have a 15% Black workforce. The proportion of the US population that was Black was then 11%.
25 May 1961, Klu Klux Klan marchers clashed with civil rights �Freedom Riders� in Montgomery, Alabama.
13 November 1960, African-American entertainer and actor Sammy Davis Jr married Swedish actress May Britt. At that time inter-racial marriage was illegal in 31 US States and the couple became the target of racist jibes and death threats.
8 November 1960, Former Massachusetts Attorney-General Edward Brooke became the first Black Senator in the US. He was born in Washington DC in 1919.
13 September 1960, In Washington, D.C., charges were filed against a Tennessee bank and 27 individuals said to have used economic pressure to prevent black people from voting.
6 May 1960, US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, against prolonged obstruction by Senators. This Act enabled Federal Authorities to act against any obstruction of Black voting rights. The first Federal action under this Act was brought on 13 September 1960 in Tennessee.
25 April 1960, Race riots in Mississippi, ten Blacks were shot dead. Extremist Whites in the State disliked the 1954 US Supreme Court ruling that racially segregated schools were unconstitutional.���������������������������������������������� �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
10 April 1960. The US Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill.
2 February 1960. Black protestors began a lunch-counter sit-in campaign in the USA. They were protesting against racial segregation at the local Woolworth�s canteen, also at other �Whites-only� restaurants in Sumter, South Carolina. Black citizens also organised �Freedom rides� on buses that were segregated for Whites only.
10 November 1959. The UN condemned apartheid and racism.
25 May 1959, The US Supreme Court ruled that Alabama�s ban on boxing matches between Black and White contestants was unconstitutional.
7 January 1955, Marian Anderson became the first African-American to appear in the Metropolitan Opera�s production of Verdi�s Masked Ball.
27 October 1954, Benjamin O Davis Jr. became the first Black American General in the US Air Force.
8 June 1953, The US Supreme Court ruled that restaurants in the District of Columbia could not refuse to serve African-Americans.
3 June 1949, Wesley Anthony Brown became the first African-American to graduate from the US Naval Academy.
26 July 1948, By executive order, US President Harry S Truman ended racial segregation in the US armed forces.
3 May 1948, The US Supreme Court ruled that private acts of discrimination, such as refusing to sell a house to a member of a certain racial group, could not be enforced in law.
2 January 1948, US President Truman presented a civic rights package to Congress, calling for an end to segregated schools and workplace discrimination. On 12 February the Southern Democrats responded calling on �all true White Jeffersonian Democrats� to unite in opposition to Truman�s proposals.
1942, The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded in the USA.� It was involved in campaigns against racial segregation on public transport and in increasing the registration of Black voters in the US South.
26 June 1938, James Weldon Johnson, Black civil rights leader, died.
1 September 1933, U.S. Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes issued an order forbidding racial discrimination in hiring on any Public Works Administration funded projects.
19 May 1925, Malcolm X,
6 February 1924. The
7 January 1923, A White mob destroyed the mainly Black settlement of Rosewood, Florida.
31 May 1921, A mob of White thugs attacked the Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a thriving Black business district existed.
9 April 1921, Mary Jackson, first female Black engineer at NASA, was born.
27 July 1919. Large scale race riots in Chicago. Violent interracial clashes resulted in 38 dead, 537 injured, and 1,000 rendered homeless. The spark for these riots had been a trivial incident when a Black person swam into a part of Lake Michigan that White people had claimed as �their� preserve.
6 October 1917, Fannie Lou Hamer, US Equal Rights activist, chief organizer of Freedom Summer, was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi (died 1977)
2 July 1916. Hundreds died in race riots in
14 November 1915, Death of Booker T Washington, first principal of the Tuskegee Institute (Alabama) for Blacks.
4 February 1913, Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, USA.
1 May 1910, The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) was launched. It was an organisation of African-American Liberals; it published Crisis, edited by W E B Du Bois.
22 June 1908, Six Black people accused of murder were lynched in the USA.
8 April 1908. In the US, President Roosevelt issued an injunction allowing Black people to use the same train carriages as Whites in the South.
13 July 1905, The Niagara Movement was founded in Ontario. It was a US Black organisation calling for more civil rights.
5 May 1905, The Chicago Defender, the first major African-American newspaper, began publication
7 January 1905, The US Senate approved the first government appointment of a Black man, as head of South Carolina Customs Services.
7 August 1904, Ralph Johnson Bunche, who became the first Black person to hold an important position at the US State Department, was born. He helped found the United Nations and won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the 1949 Arab-Israeli truce.
2 January 1903. President
closed a Post Office in
28 October 1901, Race riots in America over the Presidential dinner on 21 October 1901. The event was condemned by racist Whites as �a breach of etiquette�. In 1900 Mr Washington had formed the �National Negro Business League� to promote entrepreneurialism amongst Black people.
16 October 1901, A Black teacher, Booker T Washington, dined with President Roosevelt at the White House.� See 28 October 1901.
25 July 1900, In New Orleans, violence that became known as the Robert Charles riots broke out as White rioters began attacking Black residents at random in response to the killing of two policemen by Robert Charles the previous day
28 January 1889, Prudence Crandall,� campaigner for education for Black people in the US, died (born 3 September 1803)
20 January 1895, Frederick Douglass, US campaigner for Black Equality, died.
1887, The USA passed the Dawes Allotment Act. It was an attempt to �assimilate� the Indigenous Americans into the US economy by giving them each a free 160 acres of farmland and farm equipment.
26 November 1886, Sojourner Truth, campaigner for racial equality, died.
1885, Anti-Chinese migrant violence broke out in Rock Springs, Wyoming. 28 Chinese were murdered.
15 June 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper became the first Black American to graduate from the US military Academy. Four years later as a Leiutenant he was court-martialled on embezzlement charges that were later found to be trumped-up.
1 March 1875. The US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, giving equal rights to all races in transport, theatres, inns, and juries.
17 June 1871, James Weldon Johnson, Black civil rights leader, was born in Jacksonville, Florida.
12 May 1871, In the USA, the Louisville District Court ruled that streetcars in Kentucky can no longer be segregated by race.
12 December 1870. Joseph H Rainey became the first Black member of the House of Representatives in the USA. The Reverend Hiram H Revels became the first Black member of the Senate in February 1871.
3 February 1870, In the US, the Fifteenth Amendment gave every US citizen, regardless of race, the right to vote.
9 July 1868, The US passed the Fourteenth Amendment, during the period of �reconstruction� following the conclusion of the Civil War. It guaranteed equality before the law for Blacks and Whites alike, specifically including ex-slaves here, and prohibited any State from �abridging their privileges� or� denying them �equal protection of the laws�. However, due to the fact that corporations are also �persons� before the law, the 14th Amendment began to be used for purposes it was not intended for. The 14th Amendment was used to shield companies from government regulation, and even, before the 1950s, to justify racial discrimination because it contained the words �separate but equal�. Later, in the 1980s, it was still being used to block so-called �positive discrimination in favour of racial minorities.
30 August 1866, Race riots broke out in New Orleans following attempts to allow Black people to vote in Louisiana elections.
10 May 1866, The American Equal Rights Association was founded.
29 June 1864, Samuel Crowther, Bishop of Niger, became the first Black Church of England Bishop.
22 August 1848, Mathieu Louisi became the first Black MP to sit in a European Parliament when he was elected representative for Guadeloupe to the French Parliament. His maiden speech in November calling for more harmonious relations between the races was met with disapproval, and he lost his seat at the next election.
1833, Boston Abolitionist David Lee Child and his31-year-old wife, Lydia Maria Child, proposed that Black people should be educated. This notion caused outrage amongst many, but the Childs also succeeded in converting many to the anti-slavery cause. Meanwhile in Canterbuty, Connecticut, schoolmistress Prudence Crandall was imprisoned for violating an Act of the State legislature forbidding her from admitting Black gilrs to her school.
5/1833, The Connecticut State Legislature passed the infamous Black Law, which prohibited the establishment of any ediucational facility for �non-resident negroes� without the cfonsent of the local authorities. This law was to thwart the effforts of Prudence Crandall in proimoting education for Black children. The Black Law was rfepealed in 1838.
3 September 1803, Prudence Crandall,� campaigner for education for Black people in the US, was born (died 28 January 1889)
5 December 1784, Phillis Wheatley, the first published Black American poet, died in Boston, Massachusetts aged ca.31.
17 October 1711, The first widely publoished Black American poet, Jupiter Hammon, was born in Long Island.