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Black Film Festival: African American History, 1600 - current

Film festival for month of Feburary for ECC student, faculty and staff.

Important Events

Any exclusion of certain events is only for brevity purpose and does not decrease significance of event.  Click on link for additional information.


1619 - Twenty Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, aboard a Dutch ship. They were the first blacks to be forcibly settled as involuntary laborers in the North American British Colonies. 

1739 - The Cato revolt, also known as the Stono Rebellion, was the first serious disturbance among slaves. After killing more than 25 whites, most of the rebels, led by a slave named Cato, were rounded up as they tried to escape to Florida. More than 30 blacks were executed as participants. 

1777 - George Washington reversed previous policy and allowed the recruitment of blacks as soldiers. Some 5,000 would participate on the American side before the end of the Revolution. 

1829 - The first National Negro Convention met in Philadelphia. 

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. 

1865 - 13th Amendment, abolition of slavery, was passed by Congress.

1868 - 14th Amendment was passed extending liberties and rights granted by the Bill of Rights to former slaves.

1896 - In Plessy v. Ferguson the Supreme Court upheld a Louisiana state law that allowed for "equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races."

1918 - The First Pan-African Congress met in Paris, France, under the guidance of W. E. B. Du Bois.  

1922 - 1929 - These are the years usually assigned to the Harlem Renaissance

1937 - Joe Louis defeated James J. Braddock to become heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

1947 - Jackie Robinson became the first black to play major league baseball. 

1954 - In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court completed overturning legal school segregation at all levels.

1955 - Rosa Parks refused to change seats in a Montgomery, Alabama, bus. On December 5 blacks began a boycott of the bus system which continued until shortly after December 13, 1956, when the United States Supreme Court outlawed bus segregation in the city. 

1963 - The March on Washington was the largest civil rights demonstration ever. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

1964 - Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal. This document was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

1965 - Voting Rights Act outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.

1965 -  Malcolm X assassinated in Harlem by members of the Nation of Islam. 

1968 -  Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In the following week riots occurred in at least 125 places throughout the country. 

1969 - The Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools had to end at once and that unitary school systems were required. 

1972 - The infamous Tuskegee Syphilis experiment ends. Begun in 1932, the U.S. Public Health Service's 40-year experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis has been described as an experiment that "used human beings as laboratory animals in a long and inefficient study of how long it takes syphilis to kill someone." 

1978  - The Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action, but imposed limitations on it to ensure that providing greater opportunities for minorities did not come at the expense of the rights of the majority. 

1992 - The first race riots in decades erupt in south-central Los Angeles after a jury acquits four white police officers for the videotaped beating of African-American Rodney King. 

2003 - In Grutter v. Bollinger, the most important affirmative action decision since the 1978 Bakke case, the Supreme Court (5–4) upholds the University of Michigan Law School's policy, ruling that race can be one of many factors considered by colleges when selecting their students because it furthers "a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body."

2006 - In Parents v. Seattle and Meredith v. Jefferson, affirmative action suffers a setback when a bitterly divided court rules, 5 to 4, that programs in Seattle and Louisville, Ky., which tried to maintain diversity in schools by considering race when assigning students to schools, are unconstitutional.  

2009 - Barack Obama, Democrat from Chicago, becomes the first African-American president and the country's 44th president. 

2009 - On February 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.

2013 - The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter first appeared on Twitter on July 13, 2013 and spread widely as high-profile cases involving the deaths of Black civilians provoked renewed outrage.  George Zimmerman acquitted, provoking nationwide protests. The Black Lives Matter movement is created by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, in response to the ongoing racial profiling of and police brutality against young black men. 

2015 - Nine African Americans are killed in the Charleston Church Shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, S.C.

2015 - Marley Dias launched a campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks in November 2015.

2018 - Black Panther- The first movie to make over $1 billion at the box office with a predominately Black cast.

2018 - Dr. Patrice Harris will become the 174th president of the American Medical Association, the first Black woman to do so.

2020 - Former pro basketball player Kobe Bryant won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers while establishing himself as one of the game's all-time greats. He died tragically in a helicopter crash on January 26.

2020 - George Floyd Protests - The movement swelled to a critical juncture on May 25, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic when 46-year-old George Floyd died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by police officer Derek Chauvin. 

2020 - A statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee presented by Virginia is removed from the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol. It is slated to be replaced by a statue of civil rights activist Barbara Rose Johns. 

2021- Kamala Harris is inaugurated as vice president of the United States on January 20, she’ll be making history as the first female, first Black and first South Asian to hold the office.

2021 - Juneteenth signed as a Federal Holiday.

2021 - Amanda Gorman became the first poet to perform at the Super Bowl, when she delivered her poem "Chorus of the Captains" at Super Bowl LV

2021 - Tishaura Jones became the first Black woman to be elected mayor of St. Louis.

2021 - Zaila Avant-garde, a 14-year-old from Louisiana, became the first Black American contestant to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee