is an intern at The Root and senior journalism major at Howard University.
Feb. 1, 1960, four students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, N.C., begin a sit-in at Woolworth's Drug Store.
Oct. 1: James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi, escorted by U.S. marshals by order of President John F. Kennedy. Oct. 24: James Brown and the Famous Flames record Live at the Apollo, ranked 24th by Rolling Stone magazine in 2003 in its list of the 500 greatest albums.
Sidney Poitier wins best actor for Lilies of the Field. Aug. 28: The March on Washington becomes the largest civil rights demonstration in U.S. history, a moment defined by Dr. King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech. James Baldwin publishes The Fire Next Time.
Sept. 15: Four girls — Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, ages 11 to 14 — are murdered when the 16th Street Baptist Church is bombed in Birmingham, Ala.
Feb. 21: Malcolm X is assassinated in Harlem by members of the Nation of Islam. Aug. 6: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act; SNCC activist John Lewis and 600 marchers, protesting denial of black voting rights, are attacked by Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Aug. 11-21: The Watts Riots leave 34 dead, more than 3,500 arrested; birth of the Black Arts Movement, when LeRoi Jones becomes Amiri Baraka.
May: Stokely Carmichael becomes chairman of the SNCC and embraces "black power." The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense is founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, Calif.
Jan. 3, Edward William Brooke III becomes the first black senator (Massachusetts) since Reconstruction. Aug. 31, Thurgood Marshall takes his seat as the first African-American justice of the United States Supreme Court.
April 4, Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.
November: Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
Charles Gordone wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play No Place to Be Somebody.
November, Barbara Jordan of Houston and Andrew Young of Atlanta become the first blacks elected to Congress from the South since 1898.
May 29, Tom Bradley elected mayor of Los Angeles; Oct. 16, Maynard Jackson elected mayor of Atlanta.
April 8, Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron hits his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's longstanding record. Nov. 12, in the Bronx, Clive "Hercules" Campbell, aka "Kool Herc," starts using two turntables and chanting rhymes over the beat, forming the basis of rap.
Arthur Ashe becomes the first African-American male to win the British Men's Singles championship at Wimbledon.
Robert Hayden becomes the first African-American U.S. poet laureate.
Feb. 3, The eighth and final episode of the mini-series, Roots, based on Alex Haley’s novel, airs, receiving the highest ratings for a single program.
Jan. 1: Sugar Hill Gang releases "Rappers Delight." Along with Kurtis "Blow" Walker's "Christmas Rapping" and "The Breaks," which went gold, these recordings will be recalled as the formal birth of the hip-hop movement, which would be the dominant popular cultural form in America for the next three decades.
Nov. 30, 1982, Michael Jackson releases Thriller; with sales of $110 million, it becomes the best-selling recording of all time.
April 12: Harold Washington elected mayor of Chicago; Alice Walker's The Color Purple wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the National Book Award. March 25: Michael Jackson introduces "the Moon Walk" during a rendition of "Billie Jean" at "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever." June 22: The State Legislature of Louisiana repeals the last racial-classification law in the U.S. Aug: 30: Guion "Guy" Bluford Jr. becomes the first black astronaut to fly on the Challenger. Nov. 2: President Ronald Reagan signs the bill establishing a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Carl Lewis wins four gold medals at the L.A. Olympics, matching Jesse Owens' record of 1936.
Jesse Jackson wins one-fourth of the votes cast in the Democratic primaries and caucuses, and one-eighth of the convention delegates in his first presidential bid.
The Oprah Winfrey Show is syndicated in more than 120 American cities.
Jan. 20: First MLK Day celebrated. September: The Oprah Winfrey Show ranked No. 1 talk show and No. 3 in syndication, reaching 10 million viewers daily in 192 cities. Winfrey founds Harpo Productions.
Michael Jackson releases Bad, which sells 30 million copies.
July 20: The Rev. Jesse Jackson receives 1,218 delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention; Florence Griffith Joyner wins four track-and-field medals at the Seoul Olympic Games. Nov. 4: Comedian Bill Cosby announces $20 million donation to Spelman College.
March: Frederick Drew Gregory becomes the first African American to command a space shuttle, the Discovery. Aug. 10: General Colin L. Powell named chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Nov. 7: L. Douglas Wilder elected first black governor of any state (Virginia); David Dinkins elected mayor of New York.
Sharon Pratt Kelley elected mayor of Washington, D.C., the first African-American female to head a major city. August Wilson wins Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson.
Feb. 11, Nelson Mandela is freed after 27 years in prison; August Wilson wins Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson.
March 3, Rodney King brutally beaten in San Fernando Valley by L.A. police officers, sparking riots, an investigation and subsequent trial; Feb. 1, Harvard University commits resources to create major, endowed research center in African and African-American Studies; Oct. 15, Judge Clarence Thomas confirmed by the Senate, by a vote of 52-48, as second black associate justice of the Supreme Court, following bitter testimony of sexual harassment by law professor, Anita Hill.
April 30, The Cosby Show broadcasts final episode of its eight-season run; Sept. 12, Dr. Mae Jemison becomes first black female astronaut; Nov. 3, Carol Moseley Braun is the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate (Illinois).
Oct. 7: Toni Morrison becomes the first African American to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Rita Dove becomes the first black female poet laureate of the U.S.; Dr. Joycelyn Elders becomes the first female, and first black, surgeon general.
Cornel West moves from Princeton to Harvard, joining the "Dream Team" of African-American scholars.
Oct. 16, Million Man March, under the leadership of Minister Louis Farrakhan, held in Washington, D.C.
Oprah Winfrey ranked third on Forbes list of highest-paid entertainers.
DNA evidence strongly suggests that Thomas Jefferson is likely father of Sally Hemings' children.
Michael Jordan retires; during his 13-season career, Jordan wins six NBA championships. November: Encarta Africana released by Microsoft and The Africana Encyclopedia, first conceived by W.E.B. Du Bois, is finally published.
2000-July, Venus Williams becomes the first black woman to win the Women's Singles title at Wimbledon since Althea Gibson in 1957 and 1958; December, President George W. Bush appoints Colin L. Powell as secretary of state, and Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser.
Forbes Magazine lists Oprah Winfrey, with net worth of $900 million, as No. 280 of the 400 richest people in the United States. Ruth Simmons becomes first black president of an Ivy League university.
March 24, Halle Berry becomes the first African-American female to win an Academy Award for Best Actress; Denzel Washington becomes second African-American male to win Best Actor.
Oprah Winfrey becomes billionaire. Dec. 13: President George W. Bush signs legislation to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall.
Four black men — Kenneth Chenault (American Express), Richard Parsons (Time Warner), Franklin Raines (Fannie Mae) and E. Stanley O'Neal (Merrill Lynch) — have become CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
Jan. 26, Condoleezza Rice becomes first black female secretary of state; Aug. 29, Hurricane Katrina hits Louisiana and southern Mississippi, devastating New Orleans.
2005 tragedy memorialized in 2006 by Spike Lee in HBO documentary When the Levees Broke.
Jan. 31: Coretta Scott King dies at age 78.
Deval Patrick is elected governor of Massachusetts.
Nov. 4, U.S. Sen. Barack Hussein Obama becomes the 44th president of the United States.
Jan. 30: Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele becomes chairman of the National Republican Committee, effectively becoming the head of the Republican Party. June 25: Michael Joseph Jackson, the "King of Pop," dies of a drug overdose.
Nov. 10: President Obama delivers his acceptance speech in Stockholm on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
Feb. 2: The U.S. Senate confirms, with a vote of 75 to 21, Eric H. Holder Jr. as attorney general of the United States. Holder is the first African American to serve as attorney general.
Feb. 27: A new visitor center opens in New York City, near the rediscovered 17th- and 18th-century burial grounds of Africans, free and enslaved, who helped create the nation's cultural and commercial capital.
Nov. 24: Democrat Kamala Harris wins election as California's attorney general. In doing so, she becomes the first woman, first African American and first Indian American in California history to be elected state attorney general.
Dec. 8: President Obama signs legislation to pay black farmers and Indian tribes about $4.6 billion to compensate for decades of discrimination suffered at the hands of government entities like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior.