|Black History is celebrated each February in the United States. This observance can be
traced back to 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson organized
the first Negro History Week. Over time, this event evolved into Black History Month -- a celebration
of African American history, culture, and heritage.
In honor of this event, you are cordially invited to view Encyclopædia Britannica's new Guide to Black History. Find profiles of notable
personalities and timelines of key events -- plus rich images and powerful media. Visit the Britannica Guide to Black History now!
1770: Crispus Attucks falls at the
Boston Massacre -- the
first casualty in the cause of American independence.
Notable Firsts in Black History
c. 1772: Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable
becomes the first settler in what later becomes the city of Chicago.
1773: Phillis Wheatley becomes the
first notable black woman poet with the publication of her first book.
1799: Richard Allen becomes the
first ordained black minister of the Methodist Episcopal
1853: William Wells Brown -- a
former slave and Abolitionist -- publishes Clotel, the first novel by a black American.
1870: Hiram R. Revels becomes the
first black U.S. senator when he is elected to fill the term of the former Confederate president, Jefferson Davis.
1905: Madame C.J. Walker develops
a line of beauty products and becomes the first black female millionaire in the U.S..
1908: Jack Johnson becomes first
black to hold the heavyweight boxing championship of the
1940: Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr.,
becomes the first black general in the U.S. Army.
1949: Gwendolyn Brooks becomes the
first African American winner of the Pulitzer Prize for
1950: Ralph Bunche wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his
efforts to end the Arab-Israeli War of 1948.
1968: Shirley Chisholm becomes the
first black woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
1992: Mae Jemison becomes the
first African American woman astronaut, orbiting Earth
aboard the Endeavour.
1997: Tiger Woods becomes the
first African American golfer to win the Masters Tournament.
2002: Halle Berry becomes the
first African American winner of the Academy Award for Best