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The first African slaves arrive in Virginia.
Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin greatly increases the demand for slave labor.
The Missouri Compromise bans slavery north of the southern boundary of Missouri.
The Confederacy is founded when the deep South secedes, and the Civil War begins.
President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring "that all persons held as slaves" within the Confederate states "are, and henceforward shall be free."
Civil war ends
Lincoln is assassinated
Slavery in the United States is effectively ended when 250,000 slaves in Texas finally receive the news that the Civil War had ended two months earlier.
Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, giving blacks the right to vote.
Supreme Court decision holds that racial segregation is constitutional, paving the way for the repressive Jim Crow laws in the South.
Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the "colored section" of a bus to a white passenger (Dec.1). In response to her arrest Montgomery's black community launch a successful year-long bus boycott. Montgomery's buses are desegregated on Dec. 21, 1956.
Martin Luther King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black female U.S. Representative.
Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.
Barack Obama, becomes the first African American to be elected president of the United States
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