Memorable Moments in Black History (1945-2005 *)

Ebony, February 2006 | Go to article overview

Memorable Moments in Black History (1945-2005 *)


OCTOBER 23, 1945--Brooklyn Dodgers sign Jackie Robinson and send him to the team's Montreal farm team. On April 15, 1947, Robinson made his debut at Ebbetts Field and became the first Black in the Major Leagues in modern times.

NOVEMBER 1, 1945--Founding of EBONY magazine marks the beginning of a new era in Black-oriented journalism.

MARCH 21, 1946--Kenny Washington signs with the Los Angeles Rams and becomes the first Black player in professional football in 13 years. Three other Blacks Woody Strode of the Rams and Ben Willis and Marion Motley of the Cleveland Browns signed in the same year.

JUNE 3, 1946--U.S. Supreme Court (Irene Morgan v Commonwealth of Virginia) bans segregation in interstate bus travel.

DECEMBER 5, 1946--President Harry S. Truman creates the landmark Committee on Civil Rights. In October 1947, the committee issued a formal report, "To Secure These Rights," which condemned racism in America.

JULY 26, 1948--In response to widespread Black protests and a threat of civil disobedience, President Truman issues two executive orders ending racial discrimination in federal employment and requiring equal treatment in the armed services.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1950--Ralph J. Bunche, the first Black to win a Nobel Prize, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his successful mediation of the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

NOV. 1, 1951--Publication of first issue of Jet magazine by Johnson Publishing Company marks the beginning of a new era of weekly news coverage in Black America.

MAY 17, 1954--In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court outlaws segregation in the public school system. Landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision sounded death knell for legal segregation in the United States.

MAY 10, 1955--Chuck Berry records "Maybelline," which played major role in development of rock 'n' roll. Berry and other Black stars, notably Muddy Waters and Little Richard, were the major musical influences on the Beatles and other White groups.

DECEMBER 5, 1955--Historic Montgomery Bus Boycott begins in Alabama. Rosa Parks sparked the boycott when she refused (December 1) to give her bus seat to a White man. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was elected president of the boycott organization.

MARCH 6, 1957--Independence celebration of Ghana marks the beginning of the end for colonial rule in Africa.

AUGUST 29, 1957--U.S. Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first federal civil rights legislation since 1875.

SEPT. 25, 1957--Nine Little Rock, Ark., schoolchildren are escorted to Central High School by federal troops, ending efforts to thwart court-ordered integration.

DECEMBER 17, 1959--The founding of Motown Records helps change the understanding, marketing and promotion of Black popular music.

FEBRUARY 1, 1960--Four North Carolina A&T students begin the Sit-in Movement at the lunch counter of a Greensboro, N.C. five-and-dime store.

MAY 4, 1961--Thirteen "Freedom Riders" begin bus trip through the South to test compliance with laws banning segregation in interstate transportation. Black and White riders were bombed and savagely beaten, but their movement exposed segregation in interstate transportation facilities.

OCT. 1, 1962--Escorted by 12,000 federal troops, James Meredith enters the University of Mississippi, ending the state's defiance of federal law.

JUNE 12, 1963--Medgar Evers, NAACP field secretary in Mississippi, is assassinated in front of his home.

AUGUST 28, 1963--250,000 people participate in the March on Washington, the biggest civil rights demonstration ever.

SEPT. 15, 1963--Four Black girls are killed in the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

JULY 2, 1964--Civil Rights Bill, with public accommodations and fair employment sections, is signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

AUGUST 20, 1964--President Johnson signs Economic Opportunity Act, initiating the "war on poverty. …

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