- January 1, 1808
The federal law prohibiting the importation of African slaves went into effect. It was largely circumvented.
- January 1, 1863
The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln; it declares free all slaves in the Confederate states (except Tennessee, southern Louisiana, and parts of Virginia) and announces the Union's intention to enlist black soldiers and sailors. By late spring, recruitment is under way throughout the North and in all the Union-occupied Confederate states except Tennessee.
- January 1 - 7, 1923
Rosewood massacre: Six African Americans and two whites die in a week of violence when a white woman in Rosewood, Florida, claims she was beaten and raped by a black man.
- January 2, 1905
The Russians surrendered to the Japanese after the Battle of Port Arthur during the Russian-Japanese War. A peace conference was later held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with President Theodore Roosevelt serving as a mediator. In September of 1905, the Russians agreed to the Treaty of Portsmouth yielding Port Arthur and the Liaodong Peninsula to Japan. Russia also agreed to evacuate Manchuria and recognize Japan's interests in Korea.
- January 3, 1924
British Egyptologist Howard Carter found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor after several years of searching.
- January 5, 1804
The Ohio legislature passed "Black Laws" designed to restrict the legal rights of free blacks. These laws were part of the trend to increasingly severe restrictions on all blacks in both North and South before the Civil War.
- January 10, 1966
NAACP local chapter president Vernon Dahmer is injured by a bomb in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He dies the next day.
- January 11, 1865
Missouri state constitutional convention abolishes slavery.
- January 12, 1865
General William T. Sherman and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton meet with twenty black leaders in Savannah, Georgia, to discuss the future of the ex-slaves.
- January 16, 1865
General Sherman issues Special Field Order 15 setting aside part of coastal South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida for settlement exclusively by black people, settlers to receive “possessory title” to forty-acre plots.
- January 16, 1956
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover writes a rare open letter of complaint directed to civil rights leader Dr. T.R.M. Howard after Howard charged in a speech that the "FBI can pick up pieces of a fallen airplane on the slopes of a Colorado mountain and find the man who caused the crash, but they can't find a white man when he kills a Negro in the South."
- January 31, 1865
The United States Congress passes the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery and submits it to the states for ratification.
- February 4, 1861
Convention of seceded states (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana) meets in Montgomery, Alabama, adopts provisional constitution of the Confederate States of America (Feb. 8), and elects Jefferson Davis provisional president (Feb. 9); on March 2, the provisional Congress admits Texas to the Confederacy .
- February 12, 1793
Congress passed the first Fugitive Slave Law.
- February 18, 1688
The Quakers of Germantown, Pennsylvania, passed the first formal antislavery resolution.
- February 19-21, 1918
The First Pan-African Congress met in Paris, France, under the guidance of W. E. B. Du Bois.
- February 21, 1965
Malcolm X is shot to death in the Audubon Ballroom Manhattan, New York.
- February 22, 1865
Amendment to Tennessee state constitution abolishes slavery.
- March 1, 1875
Congress passed a Civil Rights Bill which banned discrimination in places of public accommodation. The Supreme Court overturned the bill in 1883. 1881. ennessee passed a law requiring segregation in railroad cars. By 1907 all Southern states had passed similar laws.
- March 2, 1861
U.S. Congress adopts and sends to the states a constitutional amendment (which ultimately failed of ratification) forbidding any subsequent amendment to “abolish or interfere . . . with the domestic institutions” of the states.
- March 3, 1865
Congress approves a joint resolution liberating the wives and children of black soldiers. Congress establishes Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (Freedmen's Bureau) to oversee the transition from slavery to freedom.
- March 6, 1857
The Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court denied that blacks were citizens of the United States and denied the power of Congress to restrict slavery in any federal territory.
- March 13, 1862
Congress adopts an additional article of war forbidding members of the army and navy to return fugitive slaves to their owners.
- March 13, 1865
Confederate Congress authorizes President Jefferson Davis to recruit slave men as soldiers, with the permission of their owners; Confederate War Department issues order governing the enlistment on March 23.
- March 16, 1863
American Freedmen's Inquiry Commission appointed by Secretary of War Stanton to investigate the condition of former slaves and recommend measures for their employment and welfare.
- March 16, 1864
New Arkansas state constitution, which abolishes slavery, is ratified by pro-Union voters.
- March 30, 1870
The Fifteenth Amendment, which outlawed the denial of the right to vote, was ratified.
- April 3, 1862
General David Hunter, Union commander in the South Carolina Sea Islands, requests permission to arm black men for military service; receiving no response, he begins recruiting on his own authority in early May, but the War Department refuses to pay or equip the regiment and Hunter is therefore compelled to disband it.
- April 7, 1712
A slave insurrection occurred in New York City, resulting in the execution of 21 African Americans.
- April 8, 1864
Senate approves constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.
- April 9, 1865
Surrender of the army of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
- April 10, 1862
At Lincoln's request, Congress pledges financial aid to any state that undertakes gradual emancipation with compensation to owners.
- April 12, 1861
Civil War begins with Confederate attack on federal garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
- April 12, 1864
Confederate troops under General Nathan B. Forrest massacre black soldiers captured at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.
- April 14, 1865
President Lincoln assassinated; Vice-President Andrew Johnson succeeds to the presidency.
- April 15, 1861
President Lincoln issues proclamation calling for troops to put down the rebellion.
- April 16, 1862
Congress abolishes slavery in the District of Columbia, with compensation to loyal owners, and appropriates money for the voluntary removal (“colonization”) of former slaves to Haiti, Liberia, or other countries.
- April 19, 1775
Free blacks fight with the Minutemen in the initial skirmishes of the Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
- April 6, 1931
Nine young blacks were accused of raping two white women in a boxcar. They were tried for their lives in Scottsboro, Alabama, and hastily convicted. The case attracted national attention.
- Month of May
The month of May is Afrikan Liberation Month.
- May 9, 1862
General David Hunter declares free all slaves in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
- May 18, 1896
In Plessy v. Ferguson the Supreme Court give legal backing to the concept of separate but equal public facilities for blacks.
- May 19, 1862
President Lincoln issues a proclamation nullifying General Hunter's emancipation edict and urging the border states (Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware) to embrace gradual, compensated emancipation.
- May 20, 1861
Following Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia into the Confederacy, North Carolina becomes the last state to secede.
- May 22, 1863
Bureau of Colored Troops created within the War Department.
- May 24, 1861
Fugitive slaves at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, are received and put to work by Union general Benjamin F. Butler, who declares them “contraband of war”.
- May 27, 1863
Black soldiers play important role in failed assault on Port Hudson, Louisiana.
- May 30, 1822
The Denmark Vesey conspiracy was betrayed in Charleston, South Carolina. It is claimed that some 5,000 blacks were prepared to rise in July.
- June 2, 1863
Black soldiers repel Confederate attack at Milliken's Bend, Louisiana.
- June 7, 1863
Enlistment in Kentucky opened to slave men irrespective of their owners' consent, with compensation to loyal owners.
- June 8, 1675
Three Wampanoag Indians were hanged in Plymouth, Massachusetts. On the testimony of a Native American witness, Plymouth Colony arrested three Wampanoags, including a counselor to Metacom, a Pokanoket sachem. A jury among whom were some Indian members convicted them of the recent murder of John Sassamon, an advisor to Metacom.
- June 10, 1940
Marcus Garvey (b.1887), Jamaica-born US black leader (Back to Africa Movement), died in London. In 1964 his remains were transferred to Jamaica, where he was proclaimed Jamaica’s first national hero. In 2008 Colin Grant authored “Negro With a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey.”
- June 13, 1980
Walter Rodney at the age of thirty-eight was killed by a bomb in his car, a month after returning from the independence celebrations in Zimbabwe and during a period of intense political activism.
- June 15, 1607
Colonists in North America completed James Fort in Jamestown. Hostilities with the Indians ended as ambassadors said their emperor, Powhatan, had commanded local chiefs to live in peace with the English.
- June 15, 1864
Congress makes pay of black soldiers (which had been $10 per month for all ranks) equal to that of white soldiers ($13 per month for privates, larger amounts for higher ranks); the change is retroactive to January 1, 1864, or, for men who were free before the war, to the time of enlistment.
- June 16, 1833
Lucie (Ruthy) Blackburn (30), a fugitive slave, escaped from jail in Detroit and made her way to Canada. The next day a riot erupted, “The Blackburn Riots,” as her husband, Thornton Blackburn (21), was escorted for return to slavery. Thornton escaped to Canada to join his wife. The first extradition case between the US and Canada over the issue of fugitive slaves soon followed. Canada ruled it could not extradite people to a jurisdiction that imposed harsher penalties then they would have received for the same offense in Canada and the Blackburns remained in Ontario.
- June 19, 1862
Congress prohibits slavery in the territories.
- June 20, 1675
King Philip’s War began when Indians--retaliating for the execution of three of their people who had been charged with murder by the English--massacred colonists at Swansea, Plymouth colony. Abenaki, Massachusetts, Mohegan & Wampanoag Indians formed an anti English front. Wampanoag warriors attacked livestock and looted farms.
- June 20, 1864
Congress increases the pay of all privates, black and white, to $16 per month, with corresponding increases for higher ranks.
- June 22, 1983
The state legislature of Louisiana repealed the last racial classification law in the United States. The criterion for being classified as black was having 1/32nd Negro blood.
- June 23, 1675
An English youth shot a Marauding Wampanoag warrior.
- June 24, 1675
King Philip’s War began when Indians--retaliating for the execution of three of their people who had been charged with murder by the English--massacred colonists at Swansee, Plymouth colony.
- June 26, 1604
French explorer Samuel de Champlain, Pierre Dugua and 77 others landed on the island of St. Croix and made friends with the native Passamaquoddy Indians. It later became part of Maine on the US-Canadian border.
- June 26, 1980
In Syria there was an assassination attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood on Pres. Assad. Syrian security forces retaliated by killing hundreds of Islamist inmates at the Tadmur prison. The Syrian public did not find out about this until January 1981.
- June 30, 1834
Congress passed the final Indian Intercourse Act. In addition to regulating relations between Indians living on Indian land and non-Indians, this final act identified an area known as "Indian country". This land was described as being "…all that part of the United States west of the Mississippi and not within the states of Missouri and Louisiana, or the territory of Arkansas…" This is the land that became known as Indian Territory. Oklahoma was declared Indian Territory.
- July 1 - 3, 1863
Confederate offensive into Maryland and Pennsylvania repulsed at Gettysburg.
- July 1, 1878
Treaty of Berlin divided Africa for colonization.
- July 2, 1917
Race riots erupted in East St. Louis, Illinois. The official death toll was put at 48, but as many as 200 were believed killed. In 1964 Elliott M. Rudwick authored Race Riot at East St. Louis, July 2, 1917.” In 2008 Harper Barnes authored “Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked the Civil Rights Movement.”
- July 3, 1799
In Saint-Domingue (later Haiti) Gen. Toussaint L’Ouverture formally declared Gen. Andre Rigaud, the leader of a revolutionary army in the south and west of Saint-Domingue, a rebel.
- July 4, 1863
Confederate surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
- July 5, 1969
Tom Mboya (b.1930) of Kenya’s Luo tribe was assassinated in Nairobi. He was the expected successor to Pres. Jomo Kenyatta (1894-1978).
- July 6, 1813
Granville Sharp (b.1735), biblical scholar and English abolitionist, died.
- July 7, 1893
In Bardwell, Ky., C.J. Miller, a black man accused of murdering two white girls, was mutilated, torched and left hanging from a telegraph pole. Ida Wells (1862-1931) was commissioned to investigate the story by the Chicago Inter-Ocean newspaper and published her findings under the title “History Is a Weapon.”
- July 8, 1863
Confederate surrender of Port Hudson clinches Union control over the Mississippi River.
- July 12, 1862
President Lincoln appeals to congressmen from the border states to support gradual, compensated emancipation, with colonization of freed slaves outside the United States, warning that if they do not act soon, slavery in their states “will be extinguished by mere friction and abrasion – by the mere incidents of the war”; two days later, a majority of the congressmen reject Lincoln's appeal.
- July 14, 1520
Hernando Cortes fought the Aztecs at the Battle of Otumba, Mexico.
- July 14, 1938
Italian Premier Mussolini published an anti-Jewish and African manifesto prepared by Italian "scientists."
- July 17, 1862
Second Confiscation Act frees the slaves of persons engaged in or assisting the rebellion and provides for the seizure and sale of other property owned by disloyal citizens; it also forbids army and navy personnel to decide on the validity of any fugitive slave's claim to freedom or to surrender any fugitive to any claimant, and authorizes the president to employ “persons of African descent” in any capacity to suppress the rebellion. Militia Act provides for the employment of “persons of African descent” in “any military or naval service for which they may be found competent,” granting freedom to slaves so employed (and to their families if they belong to disloyal owners).
- July 18, 1863
Black soldiers spearhead failed assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina.
- July 21, 1861
Confederate victory at battle of Bull Run (Manassas) dashes Union hopes of quelling the rebellion quickly and without great loss of life.
- July 21, 1996
In Burundi Hutu rebels killed 320 Tutsis, mostly women and children, at a refugee camp 45 miles north of the capital.
- July 22, 1862
President Lincoln announces to his cabinet his intention to issue a proclamation freeing slaves in the rebel states, but agrees to postpone it until after a suitable military victory.
- July 27, 1996
In Burundi a Tutsi-led army killed at least 30 Hutu rebels in retaliation for an attack on a coffee plantation. Independent sources said that Hutus set fire to the factory and rice plantation in Giheta to justify a retaliatory attack on villages where Hutu rebels were thought to have taken refugees. Villagers said Tutsi soldiers massacred about 1,000 Hutus as they roamed from village to village in Gitega province.
- July 28, 1915
The United States occupation of Haiti began as 330 US Marines landed at Port-au-Prince on the authority of President Woodrow Wilson to safeguard the interests of US corporations. Roger Gaillard (d.2000 at 77), historian, later wrote a multi-volume chronicle of the US Marine occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934.
- July 29, 1800
In Saint-Domingue (later Haiti) Gen. Andre Rigaud, defeated by Gen. Dessalines, set sail for France.
- July 30, 1863
President Lincoln pledges that Union soldiers, black or white, are entitled to equal protection if captured by the enemy and threatens retaliation for Confederate enslavement of black prisoners of war.
- August 4, 1964
The bodies of missing civil rights workers Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James E. Chaney were found buried in an earthen dam in Nashoba County, Mississippi. Schwerner and Goodman were Jewish-Americans from Pelham and New York City respectively and Chaney was a Black from Meridian, Mississippi. The three civil rights workers had disappeared from Philadelphia, Mississippi, on June 21, 1964, not long after they had been held for six hours in the Neshoba County, Mississippi jail on charges of speeding. Their burned car was discovered on June 23rd, prompting a search by the FBI for the three young men. Their story became the basis for the movie Mississippi Burning, starring Gene Hackman, Willem Defoe and Frances McDormand in 1988. In 2005, on the forty-first anniversary of the crime, Edgar Ray Killen (80) an ordained Baptist minister, was found guilty of three counts of manslaughter.
- August 6, 1861
First Confiscation Act nullifies owners' claims to fugitive slaves who had been employed in the Confederate war effort.
- August 13, 2003
Scientists are blaming global warming for falling fish harvests in Africa's Lake Tanganyika, threatening the diets of several poor nations.
- August 14, 1599
Spanish explorer Tristan de Luna entered Pensacola Bay, Florida. 1,500 Spanish settlers sailed from Vera Cruz to found a settlement on Pensacola Bay in Florida, but were repulsed by hostile Indians. The location of the Spanish settlement founded in the area of Pensacola, Fl., remained a mystery until 2016 when amateur archaeologist Tom Garner stumbled upon some shards of 16th century Spanish pottery.
- August 14, 1908
A race war broke out in Springfield, Illinois. Angry over reports that a black man had sexually assaulted a white woman, a white mob wanted to take a recently arrested suspect from the city jail and kill him. Most blacks had fled the city, but as the mob swept through the area, they captured and lynched a black barber, Scott Burton, who had stayed behind to protect his home. Rioting continued the next day leaving a total of two blacks and 5 whites dead and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property destroyed. Some 4,000 state militiamen were required to quell the riot, which helped inspire the creation of the NAACP the following year.
- August 21, 1791
Haitian slaves, led by voodoo priest Boukman Dutty, gathered to plan a revolution.
- August 21, 1998
Samuel Bowers, a 73-year-old former Ku Klux Klan leader, was convicted in Hattiesburg, Miss., of ordering a 1966 firebombing that killed civil rights activist Vernon Dahmer. Bowers died in prison in November 2006 at age 82.
- August 21, 1993
Philippine opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr., ending a self-imposed exile in the United States, was shot dead moments after stepping off a plane at Manila International Airport. Fabian Ver (d.1998 at 78), leader of the Philippine army, was among 20 men later charged in the murder of Aquino. Ver fled to Hawaii in 1986 along with Marcos.
- August 22, 1862
In New Orleans, General Benjamin F. Butler incorporates into Union forces several “Native Guard” units composed of free-black soldiers; soon thereafter he begins recruiting both free-black and ex-slave men for additional regiments.
- August 25, 1862
After having withheld its permission for months, the War Department authorizes recruitment of black soldiers in the South Carolina Sea Islands.
- August 28, 1955
Emmett Till (14), a black teenager from Chicago, was abducted from his uncle's home in Money, Miss., by white men after he had supposedly whistled at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. Till’s beaten body was found three days later. His left eye and an ear were missing, as were most of his teeth. His nose was rushed and there was a hole in his right temple. Eyewitnesses linked Carolyn’s husband Roy Bryant and half-brother J.W. Milam to the murder. Bryant and Milam were indicted Sep 10 for a trial on Sep 19. Both were acquitted by an all-white jury. Bryant and Milan later confessed to the killing in a magazine interview. The area was a cotton-trading center where the white Citizens Councils maintained their regional headquarters. In 2004 the US Justice Dept. opened a criminal investigation into the case. In 2005 the US Senate acknowledged a share in the boy’s death.
- August 30, 1861
Invoking martial law, General John C. Frémont declares free the slaves of disloyal owners in Missouri; President Lincoln asks that he modify his order so as not to exceed congressional laws respecting emancipation.
- September 3, 1906
Joe Gans (1874-1910), born as Joseph Gant, defended his lightweight boxing title against Battling Nelson in Goldfield, Nevada. He was the first African-American World Boxing Champion, reigning continuously as World Lightweight Champion from 1902 to 1908. In 2012 William Gildea authored “The Longest Fight: In the Ring with Joe Gans, Boxing’s First African-American Champion.”
- September 9, 1675
Colonial authorities officially declared war on the Wampanoag Indians. The war soon spread to include the Abenaki, Norwottock, Pocumtuck and Agawam warriors.
- September 18, 1850
The US Congress passed the second Fugitive Slave Bill into law (the first was enacted in 1793) as part of Compromise of 1850. It allowed slave owners to reclaim slaves who had escaped to other states. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 set fines up to $1,000 for facilitating a slave’s flight. The act authorized federal commissioners to receive a $10 fee if they decided for a slaveholder, but only a $5 fee for deciding for a fugitive.
- September 22, 1862
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln; it announces that all slaves in those states or portions of states still in rebellion as of January 1, 1863, will be declared free, pledges monetary aid for slave states not in rebellion that adopt either immediate or gradual emancipation, and reiterates support for the colonization of freed slaves outside the United States.
- October 1, 1991
President Bush strongly condemned the military coup in Haiti, suspending U.S. economic and military aid and demanding the immediate return to power of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
- October 2, 1991
Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide asked the Organization of American States in Washington to send a delegation to his homeland to demand that the newly installed military junta surrender power immediately.
- October 3, 1863
War Department orders full-scale recruitment of black soldiers in Maryland, Missouri, and Tennessee, with compensation to loyal owners.
- October 11, 1861
Confederate Congress exempts from conscription one white man on each plantation with twenty or more slaves.”
- October 15, 1966
The Black Panthers wrote their Ten Point Program at the Office of Economic Development Corp. in Oakland, Ca. It called for adequate housing, jobs, education and an end to police brutality. The Black Panther Party was founded by Merritt College students Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. In 2006 Flores A. Forbes authored “Will You Die With Me: My Life and the Black Panther Party.”
- October 27, 1975
In Oakland, Ca., police made a traffic stop on Black Panther leader Huey Newton (d.1989). In a gun battle Newton was wounded and police officer John Frey was killed. Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter but the conviction was overturned. Gene McKinney (d.2000 at 58) and Newton had driven out for takeout feed following a Black Panther Party fundraiser when they were pulled over. McKinney commandeered a passing car to get Newton to a hospital.
- October 28, 1991
President Bush imposed trade sanctions against Haiti to pressure its new leaders to restore ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power. Bush ordered home all nonessential US government employees and their dependents.
- November 1781
British Capt. Luke Collingwood, commander of the slave ship Zong, in the face of endemic dysentery that had already killed 7 crewmen and 60 of 470 slaves, ordered his crew to throw sick slaves overboard in order to claim insurance money at the end of the voyage. Over 100 slaves were cast overboard. In 2007 Marcus Rediker authored “The Slave Ship,” an account of this and the slave trade from 1700-1808.
- November 1841
Freed African survivors of the slave ship Amistad returned to Sierra Leone, Africa. Abolitionists had raised money to help the freed slaves of the Amistad return home. When Cinque, the leader of the revolt, reached home, he found that his family had been captured and sold into slavery.
- November 5, 1968
Shirley Chisholm (1924-2004) of Brooklyn, New York, became the first black woman elected to serve in the US House of Representatives.
- November 6, 1860
Abraham Lincoln elected president.
- November 8, 1864
Abraham Lincoln is reelected president, defeating George B. McClellant.
- November 12, 1779
A group of 20 slaves who had fought in the war submitted a petition to the New Hampshire General Assembly, while the war was still being fought. Lawmakers decided the time was not right. 6 of the slaves were later freed. In 2013 a state Senate committee recommended that the state posthumously emancipate 14 of the slaves who died in bondage. On June 7, 2013, they were granted posthumous emancipation when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a largely symbolic bill that supporters hope will encourage future generations to pursue social justice.
- November 20, 1695
Zumbi, a Brazilian leader of a hundred-year-old rebel slave group, was killed in an ambush in Palmares. He was later honored by a National Day of Black Consciousness.
- November 26, 2003
The UN Children's Fund warned that AIDS has already orphaned more than 11 million African children under the age of 15, and "the worst is yet to come."
- November 27, 1871
Ku Klux Klan trials began in Federal District Court in Columbia, SC."
- November 27, 1997
In Denver five skinheads beat up a 26-year-old black woman who was shopping at a 7-Eleven. All 5 were captured and arraigned in court.
- November 29, 1729
Natchez Indians massacred most of the 300 French settlers and soldiers at Fort Rosalie, Louisiana.
- December 1993
Wars were in Serbia, Algeria, S. Africa, Morocco, Haiti, Israel, and elsewhere.
- December 1, 1955
Rosa Parks (42), a seamstress and secretary of the Montgomery NAACP, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, as she sat in a section of a bus just behind the area reserved for whites. She refused to move to the back the bus, to accommodate a white male passenger, as ordered by driver James F. Blake (d.2002 at 89) and defied the South’s segregationist laws. This prompted the Dec. 5 bus boycott, a year-long boycott of the buses by blacks, and launched the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Virginia Durr (d.1999 at 95) helped a black civil rights leader bail Parks out of jail. In 1985 Durr wrote her memoir: "Outside the Magic Circle." In 1999 Pres. Clinton authorized a Congressional Gold Medal for Rosa Parks.
- December 5, 1955
The Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott began in an effort to overturn the city’s bus segregation law. It was organized in part by Jo Ann Robinson (1912-1992), Fred D. Grey, E.D. Nixon, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, following the Dec 1 arrest of Rosa Parks, who had refused give up her seat to a white male passenger and move to the back. Black residents chose Mr. King to head The Montgomery Improvement Association, formed to sustain the protest against segregation policies on the municipal buses.
- December 8, 1865
Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction issued by President Lincoln; it offers pardon and restoration of property (except slaves) to Confederates who take an oath of allegiance to the Union and agree to accept emancipation; it also proposes a plan by which loyal voters of a seceded state can begin the process of readmission into the Union.
- December 15, 1967
The US Age Discrimination Employment Act became public law.
- December 18, 1867
- December 20, 1860
South Carolina becomes the first Southern state to secede from the Union.
- December 25, 1957
Ramdane Abane (b.1920), Algerian Berber revolutionary leader, was assassinated in Morocco.
- December 26, 1908
Jack Johnson (1878-1946) of Texas knocked out Tommy Burns in Australia to become the 1st black world heavyweight boxing champion. He was not officially given the title until 1910 when he beat Jim Jeffries in Las Vegas. In 1913 Johnson fled the US because of trumped up charges of violating the Mann Act's stipulations against transporting white women across state lines for prostitution. Johnson held the title until 1915. In 1920 he returned to the US, was arrested and served a one year sentence in Leavenworth in Kansas, where he was appointed athletic director of the prison.
- December 27, 1794
The Portuguese slave ship Sao Jose--Paquete de Africa sank off the coast of South Africa’s Cape Town. Some 400-500 African slaves from Mozambique were on board the vessel bound for Brazil. About half of them perished. Wreckage of the ship was found in 2015.
- December 28, 1831
Samuel Sharp (1801-1832) led a slave uprising that was put down at great cost by the British. The Rebellion lasted for eight days and resulted in the death of around 186 Africans and 14 white planters or overseers. The white vengeance convicted over 750 rebel slaves, of which 138 were sentenced to death.
- December 31, 1755
Teedyuscung, a Lenape Indian, led 30 Lenape Indians on a raid against English plantations along the Delaware River. Over the next few days his band killed 7 men and took 5 prisoners.