Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20. 2011

Today\s date June 2. 2012

page 233





6-2-12 -  DREAM -  I don't know who I was in this dream, clearly not myself.  I was a rather young, slim woman, wearing brown slacks and a blouse, and I may have been a black woman.  I discovered by reading something I found at home, that I had been kidnapped by the National Federation in 1925.  (I keep wanting to say 1917.

I didn't know anything about the National Federation, so I went to the local library and went up to a blonde woman in her 60's who was sitting at the desk and told her, "I'm going to knock your socks off today."  and smiled.  "I need to find a book about the National Federation .  I was kidnapped by them in 1925".

The woman didn't say a word, but went to an open file and pulled out a sheet of paper that listed various organizations which was much shorter than I thought there would be, and it merely said  NF  on it, which I assume it was known by.

The woman never did say anything to me, and seeing that sheet of paper is the last thing I saw before waking up.

Since I was born in 1938 - I had to have been someone else in this dream.

NOTE FROM DEE:  I did a lot of research trying to figure out who this woman was, without any success, so I meditated to get more clues.  In meditation I heard the words  Ku Klux Klan and saw a frog, which is symbolic for jumping from one place to another.


I don't know exactly where this page is going to end up, but I'm starting with th e Ku Klux Klan in Indiana because taht is the first page that came up that fit the dream.


In 1925, the Indiana KKK was the largest state branch in the Klan's "Invisible Empire." The conviction in November of that year of D. C. Stephenson, the powerful grand dragon of the Indiana Klan, for the murder of Madge Oberholtzer led to a dramatic decline in the organization's membership and political influence. What began as a vicious rape on a night train from Indianapolis to Chicago ended with arrests of Indiana's governor and other high state officials.


On a hot July 4, 1923 in Kokomo Indiana's Melfalfa Park, the new grand dragon addressed the largest Klan rally ever held in the United States. Five years later, in a somewhat fictionalized retelling of the story, the Atlantic Monthly would report that D. C. Stephenson climbed out of a private airplane and told the assembled tens of thousands: "My worthy subjects, citizens of the Invisible Empire, Klansmen all, greetings! It grieves me to be late. The President of the United States kept me unduly long counseling upon vital matters of state." The fact that the Atlantic Monthly's questionable version of events has so often been repeated is testament, as Stephenson biographer William Lutholtz observed, to "bravado and bluff, the incredible audacity, that formed the heart of Stephenson's life." In fact, Stephenson's speech that day was entitled "Back to the Constitution." He denounced political corruption, American imperialism abroad, and called for an end to deficit spending. He ended his hour-long, enthusiastically received talk with the cry, "Where there is no vision, the people perish!" All in all, there was scarcely a phrase in the speech that would embarrass a major party candidate today. There were better places than a huge rally attended by media from several states to deliver the KKK's anti-Catholic, anti-black, anti-Jewish message.

That night, Stephenson, in his newly-won golden orange robe and hood, enjoyed the conclusion of the "Konklave in Kokoma." A Klan parade, with robed high Klan officials on horseback and a dozen floats wound its way through town. "Onward Christian Soldiers" blared from a forty-piece marching band. When the parade was over, the crowd moved to Foster Park and sung hymns such as "The Old Rugged Cross" around a sixty-foot high fiery cross. Fireworks streaked through the nighttime sky. Stephenson soaked it all in. He was, he thought, soon destined to be the most powerful man in Indiana.

Stephenson did become a man to be reckoned with in Indiana politics. (In fact, his reach extended beyond the Hoosier state, as Stephenson served as king kleagle of seven other states as well.) Within a few weeks of his installation as grand dragon, Stephenson was entertaining politicians on his new yacht. Among those who sailed Lake Erie on his yacht were a U. S. senator, congressmen, judges, governors, and several state legislators. In the 1924 elections, Stephenson helped build the Klan into a potent political force. Candidates favored by the KKK--white Protestants all--benefited from the door-to-door campaigning of Klan members, who distributed printed slates of Klan-endorsed candidates with a wooden clothespin attached to each. The perfect candidate, in Stephenson's view, was nervous one who thought he needed the voters that the KKK could bring out, and was willing to promise support for the Klan's agenda in return for that vote. One such candidate, it turned out, was Ed Jackson, the man who would become governor of Indiana.

While his political influence grew, Stephenson's relationship with the KKK's Imperial Wizard Hiram Evans (national head of the organization) soured. The growing feud between the two men over finances and priorities led Stephenson to resign as grand dragon in the fall of 1923, but by May 1924 he reclaimed the title of grand dragon of a new Indiana Klan, largely independent of the national organization. Stephenson's feelings for Evans are aptly demonstrated by his description of the Klan's leader in a letter to a friend: "The present national head is an ignorant, uneducated, uncouth individual who picks his nose at the table and eats peas with his knife. He has neither courage or culture." In a speech to Indiana Klan members, Stephenson predicted great things for his state organization: "We are going to Klux Indiana as she has never been Kluxed before!...And the fiery cross is going to burn at every crossroads in Indiana, as long as there is a white man left in the state!"

D. C. Stephenson

Rumors concerning a dark side of D. C. Stephenson began to emerge. Time and time again, reports surfaced of attempted rapes, sexual assaults, or inappropriate sexual encounters--almost all after he had been drinking. Shortly after the Kokomo knonvocation a woman told police that Stephenson attempted to have sex with her in his car and that he "is a beast when he is drunk." In Ohio, he plead guilty to indecent exposure after a deputy sheriff caught him with his pants down next to a young woman in a parked Cadillac on the side of a highway. In January 1924, Stephenson tried to have forced sex with a manicurist sent to his hotel room, and punched out a bell-boy who attempted to come to the woman's rescue. In the fall of 1924, a young actress attending a party at Stephenson's home told investigators that he had locked her in a room, knocked her down, bit her, and "tried to force himself on me." By early summer of 1924, Hiram Evans saw Stephenson's pattern of intoxication, biting, and attempted rape as a means to rid the Klan of his nemesis for good. He proposed trying Stephenson before a Klan tribunal on several charges, including habitual drunkenness and demonstrating disrespect for virtuous womanhood. In late June, the tribunal found him guilty on six charges, called for his "banishment forever," and published a fifty page report on his misdeeds. Stephenson responded by calling the banishment and the allegations against him the shameful plot of the southern Klan.

Stephenson, taking a lower profile in Indiana Klan activities, turned his attention in the fall of 1924 to getting Ed Jackson elected governor of Indiana. In November, Jackson, a Republican, won the governorship by more than 125,000 votes. With Indiana's U. S. Senator in failing health, Stephenson told friends that he expected Governor Jackson might appoint him to be the Hoosier state's new United States senator. The future for D.C. Stephenson looked very bright.

For Ed Jackson's inauguration on January 12, 1925, event planner Stanley Hill recruited a woman he was dating, a twenty-eight-year-old manager of a reading circle named Madge Oberholtzer, to help with name tags for the banquet hall. Hill placed himself at the same table as Stephenson and during the dinner Hill introduced Madge to the Klan leader. Later, when the orchestra began to play, Stephenson asked Oberholtzer to dance. Over the next couple of months, D.C. and Madge would see each other at another party and dine together on at least a couple of occasions. Stephenson also hired Madge to help write a book that he hoped the new legislature would make required reading in Indiana public schools, a book on nutrition call One Hundred Years of Health.

Stephenson succeeded in pushing through House Bill 287 on March 9, 1925. The bill ordered that public schools teach a course in diet and nutrition. Only one text could meet the specific requirements established in H.B. 287: Stephenson's own One Hundred Years of Health. Sales of the book, which Madge Oberholtzer was busily writing, could net Stephenson a small fortune. When not pushing his legislative schemes, Stephenson entertained. He hosted parties that ranged from respectable black-tie events to Roman orgies in which Stephenson, dressed as a satyr, would lash naked women with a whip as they pranced around the room.

The Crime

On March 15, Madge returned to her home around 10 P.M. after a date. When she arrived, her mother told her that D.C. Stephenson's secretary had called with an important message while she was out, and that she should return the call. Stephenson answered. He told Madge that he was leaving for Chicago and had to see her about something "very important" before he left. Stephenson told her to expect one of his bodyguards to stop by her house shortly to escort her to his house. Madge, wearing a black velvet dress and a coat, walked out the door into the late winter night with a man she had never seen. His name, she would learn later, was Earl Gentry.

Stephenson had been drinking. When Madge declined an invitation to drink, Stephenson and the other men insisted. She drank three glasses of liquor and vomited. Stephenson proposed that she join him and the other men on a trip to Chicago. Later, in a dying declaration recorded by her lawyer, Madge described what happened next:

Stephenson said to me, "I want you to go with me to Chicago." I remember saying I could not and would not. I was very much terrified and did not know what to do. I said to him that I wanted to go home. He said, "No, you cannot go home. Oh, yes! You are going with me to Chi­cago. I love you more than any woman I have ever known." I tried to call my home on the phone but could get no answer....They all took me to the automobile at the rear of Stephenson's yard and we started the trip....I begged of them to drive past my home so I could get my hat, and once inside my home I thought I would be safe from them. They drove me to Union Station in the machine, where they had to get a ticket....

After boarding the train at Union Station, Stephenson and Gentry led at once into a drawing room. Soon after the trained pulled out of Indianapolis, Stephenson grabbed the bottom of Madge's dress and pulled it over her head and she tried unsuccessfully to fight him away. Soon Stephenson stripped her naked and shoved her into the lower berth. He attacked her viciously. He chewed her all over her body; bit her neck and face; chewed her tongue; chewed her breasts until they bled and chewed her back, her legs, and her ankles.

In the early morning, the train pulled into the station at Hammond, Indiana. Gentry shook Madge awake and told her they were leaving the train. Stephenson was flourishing his revolver. Madge repeatedly begged the Klan leader to shoot her, but he put the gun away in his grip. The two men led Madge to the Indiana Hotel, where Stephenson registered for himself and wife under the name of Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Morgan. Once in room 416, Madge pleaded with Stephenson to send a telegram to her mother. Stephenson complied, but dictated the contents.

After a breakfast served in their room, Madge had recovered sufficiently to ask to be driven to a drug store so that she might purchase some rouge. While Stephenson's body guard "Shorty" waited outside in a car, Oberholtzer purchased a box of bichloride of mercury tablets and put them in her coat pocket. Once back at the hotel, Madge waited until Stephenson was asleep. She described what she did next: "I laid out eighteen of the bichloride of mercury tablets and at once took six of them; I only took six because they burnt me so." She laid down on the bed and soon became very ill, vomiting blood. Discovered reeling in pain, Madge admitted taking poison. An alarmed Stephenson first proposed taking her to the hospital to have her stomach pumped, but Madge refused, and the threat of her spilling the beans about the rape caused him to reconsider. Eventually, the men decided to load Madge into the back seat of an automobile and head back to Indianapolis.

Indiana Klan wedding photo

Madge made the journey back in agony, screaming for a doctor or pain relief most of the way. She begged Stephenson to leave her along the road, in the hope that some one would stop and take care of her, but the car just sped on. Stephenson and Gentry spent the road trip drinking, while "Shorty" drove. Stephenson, according to Oberholtzer's account, did not seem overly concerned with his plight, though he remarked, "This takes guts to do this Gentry. She is dying." Stephenson predicted he would escape punishment and that "my word is the law." Upon reaching Indianapolis, they drove straight to Stephenson's house only to find Madge's mother waiting by the front door. After "Shorty" lied about Madge's whereabouts and Mrs. Oberholtzer left, the three men carried Madge to a room above Stephenson's garage.

Madge's condition seemingly improved over night. About noon on Tuesday, March 17 (two days after the rape), a Stephenson bodyguard named Earl Klinck carried her back to her home, but only after she was warned several times to say that her injuries and suffering were the result of "an automobile accident." Stephenson, she said, told her, "You must forget this, what is done has been done. I am the law and the power." Klinck, after telling Eunice Shultz, a roomer in the Oberholtzer house, that Made had been hurt in a car accident, carried Madge into the house and upstairs and placed her on her bed. Leaving quickly, he told Shultz, "My name is Johnson from Kokomo and I must hurry."

Madge on Her Deathbed

Eunice Shultz found Madge pale and groaning on her bed. She bore bruises on her cheek, chest, and breast, stomach, legs, and ankles. The skin on her left breast was open. Madge opened her mouth and spoke: "Oh!, dear mother. Mrs. Shultz, I am dying." Doctor Kingsbury, summoned to the house by Schultz, determined Madge to be in a state of shock. Her body was cold and her pulse rapid. When asked her how she was injured, Madge first replied, "When I get better, I will tell you the whole story." Then, some minutes later, she told the story of the rape by Stephenson on a train and her ingesting of poison the next day. Kingsbury collected a urine sample which, after testing, showed evidence of acute kidney inflammation. Every day, for the next four weeks until her death, Dr. Kingsbury would visit and treat his patient.

On March 28, Dr. Kingsbury concluded Oberholtzer had no chance for recovery. When he told his patient the bad news, Madge took it well: "That is all right doctor, I am ready to die. I understand you doctor. I believe you and I am ready to die." What Kingsbury could not tell Madge is exactly why she was dying, only that it seemed to be a combination of all that had happened to her, the shock, possible infection from the bites, loss of rest, and the action of the poison on her system and her lack of early treatment.

When Asa Smith, an attorney and a friend of the Oberholtzer family, learned that Madge's prospects were grim, he decided to take a statement for use in a possible criminal trial involving Stephenson and other defendants. A statement made in the belief of one's own imminent death is called "a dying declaration" and is generally admissible in court, even though obviously not subject to cross-examination. Oberholtzer told the attorney and from the statements so made by her to him, he prepared and had transcribed a dying statement, which was read to her and in which she made corrections. Madge signed the statement, saying therein that she had no hope of recovery. Two weeks later, on the morning of April 14, 1925, with her parents and a nurse by her side, Madge died.

Getting Ready for Trial

In the first days after the assault, when hope still existed for a full recovery by Madge, Asa Smith approached Stephenson concerning a monetary settlement that would provide some compensation for the Oberholtzers but spare the family the embarrassment of a criminal or civil trial. Smith and attorneys for Stephenson discussed a settlement in the neighborhood of $10,000, but negotiations broke off when word came of Madge's deteriorating condition.

Marion County prosecutor Will Remy prepared a warrant for Stephenson's arrest on kidnapping and assault charges on April 2. At his arraignment four days later, Stephenson was asked by a reporter for a comment on the case. "I refuse to discuss such trivial matters, " Stephenson replied. "How would you like to be fishing right now and watch a red darter spinning in front of a bass?" Pressed further, Stephenson harrumphed, "Nothing to it! I'll never be indicted!"

But attitudes in Indiana towards Stephenson were changing rapidly. Reports concerning the rape on the train appeared in newspapers throughout the state. Public indignation with Stephenson was grew by the day, reaching a fever pitch by the time of Madge's funeral. On that day, Judge James Collins announced that he was rejecting a defense motion to quash the indictment. Stephenson would face trial--and now it would be a murder trial.

In late April, the coroner's office released a report on the autopsy of Madge Oberholtzer. Based on a chemical analysis of Madge's internal organs, the report concluded that her "death was due to mercurial poisoning, self administered." The report complicated the prosecution's efforts as it could now be anticipated that the defense would contend that Stephenson's rape was not the proximate cause of her death and that therefore he could not be convicted of murder. If infections resulting from the rape were not the cause of death, prosecutor Remy might now have to prove that duress from the rape and kidnapping was so closely connected to Madge's decision to ingest the mercury tablets as to make it a foreseeable consequence of the rape--and that would be a difficult task.

Eight days after Stephenson pleaded "not guilty," defense attorney Eph Inman filed a motion for a change of venue, which was granted. The Stephenson trial was headed for Noblesville, Indiana and the courtroom of Judge Fred Hines. Also faces charges for the murder of Oberholtzer were Stephenson's companions on the notorious train trip, Earl Klinck and Earl Gentry.

The defense's first attack was aimed at Madge's dying declaration. In a hearing before Judge Hines, the defense sought to prove that Oberholtzer died of mercurial poisoning, not infection resulting from Stephenson's bites, and that she was not in a sound state of mind at the time she gave her dying declaration. Inman called doctors to the stand, each of which stated his opinion that the mercury tablets were the cause of death. Then he called attorney Asa Smith, who admitted that he--not Madge--wrote the dying declaration. Inman failed, however, to produce any evidence that Madge was not in full possession of her faculties at the time the declaration was prepared. Accepting defeat as inevitable, the defense withdrew its motion to exclude the declaration from the trial.

Meanwhile, news accounts of Oberholtzer's rape and death caused public opinion to swing rapidly against the Klan. Sentiment against Stephenson swung even more dramatically, thanks in part to the efforts of Imperial Wizard Evans, who saw the trial as a way of ridding himself of his trouble-making Klan rival.

Defense attorney Eph Inman and prosecutor Will Remy

The Trial

The Prosecution Case

The trial of D.C. Stephenson, Earl Klinck, and Earl Gentry for the kidnapping and murder of Madge Oberholtzer opened on October 12 before Judge Will Sparks. (Sparks replaced Judge Hines, after Hines accepted the defense's motion for a new judge.) Only after a record 260 potential jurors were interviewed, and the judge's patience with the process finally exhausted, was a jury of twelve men finally seated. Opening arguments were presented on October 29. Charles Cox, for the prosecution, told jurors that the state's star witness, from the grave, would be Madge Oberholtzer:

Clean of soul, but with her bruised, mangled, poisoned and ravished body, standing by her grave's edge, with the shadowy wings of the dark angel of death over her, will tell you...the story of her entrapment, of her being drugged, kidnapped, assaulted, beaten, lacerated with beastly fangs, and finally, as the culmination of indignities and brutalities unheard of in a civilized community before, how she was forced by the loss of all that a good woman holds dear, to take the deadly poison that contributed to her untimely death.

A series of prosecution witnesses described events and Madge's condition in the days after Stephenson's assault. The state's first witness, Matilda Oberhotltzer, Madge's mother, testified that when her daughter was brought home "her breasts had open wounds all over." The boarder at the Oberholtzer's, Eunice Shutltz, testified next and identified defendant Earl Klinck as the man who claimed to be "Mr. Johnson from Kokomo" and that Madge had been "hurt in an automobile accident." Dr.John Kingsbury, the doctor who examined and treated Madge, testified that she told him "she expected and wanted to die." Kingsbury told jurors that a week or so later he came to the conclusion that Madge's condition was deteriorating and was hopeless. Kingsbury testified that the lack of prompt treatment in the first several hours after Madge took the poison most likely ended her chances of recovery. George Oberholtzer, Madge's father, testified next and reported that Madge "begged and begged" her abductors to get her to a doctor, but they refused.

Attorney Asa Smith, the family friend who prepared the dying declaration signed by Madge, presented the testimony that cleared the way for the introduction of Madge's account into evidence. Smith admitted that he wrote the declaration in his office, but testified that it was based on notes from his bedside conversation with the dying woman. The attorney said that he went over each line of the statement with Madge, making any corrections that she suggested. On cross-examination, defense attorney Eph Inman raised questions about the declaration, probing Smith about why he didn't know the name of the notary public who acknowledged Madge's signature and suggesting that the statement was really based more on Smith's imprecise memory than Madge's actual words. When Will Remy tried to enter the dying declaration into evidence, the defense objected on the ground that Madge's death resulted from her suicide, not the actions of any of the defendants. Judge Sparks, however, admitted the declaration and allowed Remy to read it to the jurors.

The next phase of the state's case consisted of a series of witnesses who placed Madge on the train with the other defendants, and then at the Hammond hotel. A black porter on the train testified that he heard Madge say to Stephenson, "Oh dear, put the gun up. I am afraid of it." A night clerk at the hotel testified that he had checked Stephenson and Oberholtzer into room 416 under the name "Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Morgan." A bellboy reported seeing bruises on Madge's cheeks.

Finally, the prosecution presented evidence that the actions of Stephenson and the other defendants led directly to Madge's death. Beatrice Spratley, Madge's nurse, told jurors that a laceration on Madge's left breast became infected and the infection was still visible at the time of her death. Dr. Virgil Moon, who performed the autopsy on Oberholtzer, testified that "the immediate cause of death was an infection carried through the blood stream, localizing in the lung and in the kidney." He expressed his opinion that but for the lacerations received during her assault, Madge would have recovered from her poisoning. Newspaper accounts trumpeted the medical testimony as a severe blow to the defense case.

The Defense Case

In its case, the defense strongly contested the prosecution suggestion that Madge's death resulted from the mercury tablets she voluntarily ingested. Dr. Orvill Smiley and Dr. J. D. Moschelle, both Indianapolis doctors who had treated cases of mercury poisoning, testified that in their opinions the cause of death was "bichloride of mercury," not an infection. Coroner Dr. Paul Robinson, disagreeing with the doctor who performed the autopsy, told jurors that the official verdict of his office on the cause of Madge's death was also mercury poisoning.

After presenting yet another doctor to testify that mercury--not lacerations--killed Madge, the defense called to the stand a witness, Cora Householder, who the defense planned to use to undermine the prosecution's suggestion that Oberholtzer was as pure as the driven snow. Householder would, if permitted, testify that Madge had been having an affair with her estranged husband. Judge Sparks cut the defense questioning off, sustaining a prosecution objection to Householder's testimony as irrelevant and inadmissible. The defense had better luck with dentist Vallery Ailstock, who told jurors he once had Madge ask him for a glass of gin in the company of Stephenson. E. B. Schultze, the wife of a local Klan organizer, testified that Stephenson and Madge had visited her house in November 1923 (two months before Madge said she first met Stephenson) and that Madge called Stephenson "dear" and "Stevie." Ralph Rigdon, a close political friend of Stephenson, provided the most surprising testimony, placing Madge and D. C. together in a hotel suite enjoying gin weeks before the alleged assault. In cross-examination, defense attorney's labeled Rigdon's testimony "a plain lie" and soon a shouting match between attorneys erupted that finally led to Judge Sparks cautioning, "Now gentlemen, ...if you can't conduct yourself properly on both sides, I am going to get somebody that will!" Following more testimony--and more heated exchanges--with Rigdon, the defense produced two more witnesses who also placed Madge and Stephenson together on occasions well before the ill-fated train trip to Hammond.

Summations and Verdict

In his three-hour-long summation, Will Remy told the crowed courtroom that the defendants "destoyed Madge's body, tried to destroy her soul" and over the course of the trial tried to "befoul her character." He called the testimony of various defense witnesses (part of Stephenson's "gang") who tried to tarnish Oberholtzer's reputation nothing but a "maze of lies and artifices." He told jurors they should convict the defendants of murder because their refusal to provide immediate care after Madge's poisoning "hastened her death."

For the defense, Ira Holmes argued that "suicide is not a crime in Indiana" and therefore the defendants cannot be considered accessories. He questioned the accuracy of Madge's dying declaration, telling jurors that the words in the document "originated in the mind of Asa Smith." As for the prosecution's claim of premeditation, Holmes argued that because Stephenson did not "force her to take poison."

Charles Cox, in the state's second summation, described Stephenson as "a sadist and moral degenerate" who "should be killed by the law." Let free, he warned jurors, these perverts would "commit other outrages." But, he told jurors, "You won't let them do it."

Closing next for the defense, Floyd Christian argued that Madge's death was a suicide for which his clients bore no criminal responsibility: "If a man went home and committed suicide because his banker refused to lend him money, you wouldn't hang the banker. It would be a plain case of suicide, as this is. Suicide can't be homicide."

Eph Inman, summing up next, claimed "there is some mysterious power in this state that is back of the persecution of this men." He argued that Madge had several opportunities to escape her "captors," such as when she was in the drug store buying mercury tablets. He said that because of her own actions--failure to flee or seek help, failure to immediately tell Stephenson that she ingested mercury--she, rather than the defendants, bore responsibility for her own death. Inman said that the defendants had already "suffered far too much" and that the jurors have a duty to make sure no "more harm comes to these men."

Finally, wrapping up for the state, Ralph Kane concluded his emotional speech by asking "whether there's a man in this community who would sign a verdict to acquit this hideous monster who preys on the virtuous young daughters of our state!"

On November 14, 1925, after four hours of deliberation, jurors filed into their courtroom to announce their verdicts: Stephenson was found guilty of second degree murder. Klinck and Gentry were acquitted. Stephenson, leaving the courtroom, told a reporter, "Hell, we've only begun to fight!" His attorney, Floyd Christian, added, "Of course we will appeal." One week later, having been sentenced to life, Stephenson heard the gates of Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana slam shut behind him.


Stephenson counted on a pardon from his friend and political ally, Governor Ed Jackson. Political calculations for Jackson, however, were far different than they had been before the Oberholtzer assault. D. C. Stephenson was no longer a popular man in Indiana. No pardon came.

In July 1927, in revenge for not getting his expected pardon, Stephenson released to the press "little black boxes" containing the names and incriminating records of political leaders in Indiana who had been on the Klan payroll. The information led to the indictment of Governor Jackson and other public officials. The resulting publicity also led to a crackdown on the Klan and its influence in the state rapidly declined.

The Stephenson appeal was not decided by the Indiana Supreme Court until 1932. With three justices dissenting, the Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.

Stephenson was paroled in 1950, but arrested again just eight months later and sentenced to another ten-year term. In 1956, Stephenson was discharged from prison a second time. In 1961, in Independence, Missouri, Stephenson was arrested on charges on attempting to sexually molest a sixteen-year-old girl. The man who once said he "was the law in Indiana" died on June 28, 1966 in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Note: The best source for information concerning the D. C. Stephenson case is Grand Dragon: D. C. Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana by M. William Lutholtz (Purdue Univ. Press, 1991.)

D. C. Stephenson Trial Homepage



The Fiery cross is the English language term for a piece of wood, such as a baton, that North Europeans, e.g. Scotsmen and Scandinavians, used to send to rally people for things (assemblies) for defence or rebellion (if beacons were not appropriate).


In Scotland the "fiery cross", known as the Crann Tara was used as a declaration of war, which required all clan members to rally to the defence of the area. The practice is described in the novels and poetry of Sir Walter Scott. A small burning cross or charred piece of wood would be carried from town to town. The most recent known use there was in 1745, during the Jacobite Rising. Crann Tàra – “The gathering beam, a signal formally used on occasion of insult or impending danger, to summon a clan to arms. It was a piece of wood, half burnt and dipped in blood, in token of the revenge by fire and sword awaiting those clansmen who did not immediately answer the summons. It was passed from one permanently appointed messenger to another, and in this manner the alarm was spread across the largest districts in an incredibly short time. In 1745 the crann tàra traversed the wide district of Breadalbane, upwards of 30 miles in three hours.” (Dwelly, E. 1973: 264). [1], the best part of a century before the foundation of the KKK. Although many of the members of the KKK were descended from immigrants from Scotland, there is no evidence to suggest that their ancestors brought this tradition with them to America. The name Crann Tara was used for a Scottish Gaelic current affairs programme on Grampian Television (ITV).[citation needed]

A similar practice existed in the Isle of Man.[citation needed]

The most recent use of the Fiery Cross in Scotland was not during the Forty-Five. In 1820 over 800 fighting men of Clan Grant was gathered, by the passing of the Fiery Cross, to come to the aid of their Clan Lord and his sister in the village of Elgin. See http://www.clangrant-us.org/history.htm


When an enemy had arrived, fiery crosses (Old Swedish: buþkafle (sg.)) were sent in all directions. In Sweden, they consisted of clubs, or just wooden chunks, and they were charred on one end and had a string attached to the other end, as a sign. In Norway, it was an arrow. Olaus Magnus (1555) relates that the one who did not bring the cross to the next village would be hanged and his homestead burnt down.

When the people were assembled to a thing, the object was in the shape of an axe, or if the meeting concerned blasphemy, it was a cross.

The objects were signed with runes or other marks in order to indicate the reason for the assembly (e.g. election of king at the Stone of Mora), and who had sent them. During the Middle Ages, using buþkaflar was the official method of assembling people, and they were only allowed to be carved by certain officials, e.g. governors and sheriffs.

They were especially efficient, however, when they were used to levy people against royal oppression and high taxes. After the great Dance of Dalarna uprising, there were strong checks placed on the use of fiery crosses.

In Sweden, the fiery crosses were standardized during the village reorganizations in 1742, and it was at the village level that they were frequently used. During the 19th and 20th centuries, more specific messages were attached to the clubs or inserted into a hollow space. Still in the early 20th century, there was a paragraph in Swedish law that stated that the fiery cross would be sent between the villages if there was a forest fire.[citation needed]

[edit] References

  • Nationalencyklopedin
  • Dwelly, E., (1973), “The Illustrated Gaelic English Dictionary” 8th Edition, Gairm Publications, Glasgow.
  • Wade, Wyn Craig. The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America. New York: Simon and Schuster (1987).

Logo för Nordisk familjeboks uggleupplaga.png This article contains content from the Owl Edition of Nordisk familjebok, a Swedish encyclopedia published between 1904 and 1926, now in the public domain.



The Truth About The Fiery Cross

and it's relation to the Ku Klux Klan



Let's finally set the record straight on this fiery cross controversy. I went to a Catholic grammar school and Catholic high school. We studied the origins of the fiery cross and its religious symbolism in class. Now here it is contrary to anyone else's propaganda.

According to church doctrine the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine, beheld a vision of a fiery cross in the sky on the eve of a battle. With the fiery cross vision in the sky were the words: "With this sign ye shall conquer." Constantine adopted the fiery cross as his symbol on his shield and won the battle. That's how it all got started and since then the fiery cross has been a religious symbol not only for the Catholic Church, but numerous Protestant churches as well. As a religious symbol these churches use the fiery cross in various ways.


Does it make any difference whether or not the cross is drawn or painted burning, or is actually lighted with fire? Have you ever stopped to think of just how many times God and fire are connected in the Bible? The Bible often uses fire as a symbol of God. In Deuteronomy 4:24 and in Hebrews 12:29, God is referred to as a consuming fire. In Malachi 3:2, the promised Messiah is referred to as a refiner's fire. In Mathew 3:11, John the Baptist speaks of Christ saying, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." In Exodus chapter three, God spoke to Moses out of a burning bush. In chapter 14 of Exodus, God came down as a pillar of fire. In Genesis chapter 19:24-25, Leviticus 10, Second Chronicles 7, and First Kings 18, Second Kings 2, God is again and again symbolized with fire, and fire gives light. Now the cross has been long established as the symbol of Christ and Christ is the Light of the world. The Gospel of John 1:4-5 states: "In Him (Christ) was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness and the darkness grasped it not." Thus, this passage has been symbolized by illuminating a cross with fire at night.


So what's so hard to figure out about that? I wish to point out here, that recently I have seen on TV documentaries several deliberate distortions. I have seen the fiery cross of Constantine's vision being changed to a vision of just a cross, not a flaming or fiery one. I've recently seen the cross being dropped all together and replaced with the cross keys of the church. This is deliberate lying on the part of modern propagandists for the sake of brain washing a gullible public with politically correct rubbish. They are deliberately trying to change every symbol of Christianity into a symbol of racist hate. The Christian religion is being twisted and perverted by the powers of anti-Christ right before our very eyes.

Now, how did the Ku Klux Klan get tied up with all this? As I've said in other sections of this web page, the original KKK did not use the fiery cross. In the 47 volumes that make up the Ku Klux Report to Congress there is not one newspaper, not one eye witness, not one ex-Klansman, not one surviving victim who makes a reference to a fiery cross of any kind during the era of the original KKK. The Klan - fiery cross "link" is the work of fiction writer, Thomas Dixon, in his novel, "The Clansman". When questioned years later as to why he did that, Dixon said that he put the fiery cross into his Klan novel because his Uncle had told him that on one occasion the Klan used a small fiery cross as a signal light. This one use of a small fiery cross by a local Klan unit may not have even happened! However, when D.W. Griffith made the Dixon novel in to the epic motion picture, "The Birth of a Nation", Griffith embellished the fictitious usage of a fiery cross by the Klan. He knew a good movie prop when he saw one.

Then came Col. Simmons who revived the KKK in 1915. He was a former Methodist circuit minister and as you saw above, the fiery cross is a Methodist religious symbol. After he saw Birth of a Nation, he quickly incorporated the fiery cross as a major ceremonial prop in his revived Klan. However, the use of fiery crosses were quickly misinterpreted on one hand and on the other, unauthorized use of fiery crosses by local units led to misuse and then, abuse by renegade Klansmen and pranksters. The revival Klan disbanded in 1944.

The Klan was revived again in 1946 and the fiery cross was kept as a ceremonial prop. But during the violent 1960's Civil Rights era renegade Klans and rabid rednecks truly abused the fiery cross and did use it as an act of intimidation, terror, and lit it in some cases as to make it a part of arson. The modern media, with its beloved yellow journalism, lies, falsehoods, half truths, and distortions (in other words, politically correct brain washing) was always quick to run wild with such incidents for the sake of its self serving sensationalism. (So what else is new?)

So now what? Well, recently various wannabe Klan groups have held their imitation cross lightings against the orders of the police who have cited various newly passed federal, state, or local laws regarding such. They then found themselves on the losing end in court room cases because these amateurs couldn't even defend their use of the fiery cross by proving it a well established religious symbol and thus protected under the First Amendment. Again, establishment media was quick to carry on its anti-Christ propaganda campaign and has all but demonized the ceremony and defamed the symbolism.

But! All these pipsqueak Klans claim to be the direct descendent Klan of the original (hence, true) Ku Klux Klan So why, then, do they need to use the fiery cross at all when the original Klan never used it? If these Klans were to singularly model themselves after the revival Klan and bring back all the ceremonies, degree work, and Klankraft of that Klan as a great fraternal order, then I could see them still using the fiery cross, in private or where public permission had been given (whether that permission had to be obtained after a court battle or not). But these wannabe Klans still consider themselves as a group of regulators as was the original KKK. While the more extreme illegal Klans actually consider themselves in rebellion against our Constitutional Free Republic and seek to impose a dictatorship. To regulate or purge our government of political prostitutes and New World Order traitors is one thing. To advocate the destruction of our Constitution and Freedom is another. But either way why do these "Klans" want to burn a cross when they neither practice, nor even understand its deep religious meaning? Ignorance, that's why. These idiots are now starting to have swastika lightings at the same time at some of their rallies. A pagan symbol being considered the same are Christian symbol? Talk about a contradiction, how dumb can they get? We don't call them illegal Klans for nothing. But contradictions are their stock in trade. I've seen their web pages and literature where they all claim to be a strictly legal, law abiding, moral, Christian fraternal order. Yet, I've gone to their rallies and have dealt with them in person. They break the law like crazy. They are always losing major lawsuits or going to jail. They live drunken, drug abusing immoral lives, and the last thing they ever do is anything fraternal or Christian. They lie, they steal, they slander and stab everyone in the back including themselves. Then they wonder why no normal people want to join their little sham con Klans.

A true copy, by order of the Great Blufustin, GSKKK

The Ku Klux Klan is not a church

and was never intended to be one!

The KKK is not a self declaring belief system. No one is born a Klan
sman or has the rig
ht to call themselves one unless they are an actual member of a legitimate branch of the KKK. The Ku Klux Klan is not something you make up as you go along. The original KKK defined itself, defined its structure, and defined its activities and wrote them all down in the original Prescripts in 1867. They revised and amended the Prescripts in 1868. That was it. There were specific rules and regulations to follow if you were to be a part of the Klan. If anyone takes the time to read the original Prescripts (available from us in our booklets section) you will plainly see that in no way, shape, or form was the KKK intended to be a church, cult, or religion of any kind. What was the original Klan? After it's beginning as a harmless fraternal order it was reorganized under Grand Wizard Forrest to be a protective society of regulators who fought to restore law and order and protect the rights of the disenfranchised militarily conquered South.

When the Klan was revived in 1915, Imperial Wizard Simmons, again, wrote everything down. The rules, regulations, ceremonies, activities, functions, structure and so on were not only written down, but copyrighted and placed on public record for all the world to see. (I refer you to the Kloran, Klan Constitution, Klan in action booklet, Klansman's Manual, and all the other defining books and ceremonies, called Klankraft, available from us in our booklets section.) Imperial Wizards Simmons, Evans, and Colescott made it plain and clear that the KKK was not a religion, church, or political party. It was a Protestant Fraternal Order.

When the Klan was revived in 1946, by Grand Dragon Green (He did not take the title of Grand or Imperial Wizard for technical reasons concerning the IRS and the Klan's prior disbandment.), Green, too, established his Klan as a Fraternal Order. And it was carried through as such right up to the 1990's. Though it occasionally engaged in political activity and other things, whenever a branch of the Klan established itself in a new area, incorporated, or was chartered it always did so as a Fraternal Order in the 20th century.

So, how did this "Klan as a church" nonsense come about. It was the idea of wannabe wizard Ray Larsen (it's an alias he uses, but I won't give his real name here). In the mid 1990's, Imperial Wizard James Venable died and his National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (an authentic Klan organization), which had been fading for years, disbanded. Ray Larsen was quick to claim the name of the National Knights as the name for his own miniscule group of assorted odd personalities. He then told me, at one of his rallies and by phone call a few times, that he was thinking of declaring his Klan a church. For the above stated reasons, I told him that that was an absurd idea and that the original Klansmen would flip in their graves if they heard of it. As usual, these upstarts don't listen to common sense, nor do they follow the rules and established facts of history. So he went off on his wild tangent and declared himself "Reverend" Ray Larsen (who isn't honest enough with you to use his real name), Imperial Wizard of the Church of the National Knights of the KKK. The idea was not an act of zealous faith. It was just a political ploy to attempt to gain better legal protection under the Constitution.

Following in his tracks came the renegade Jeff Berry. Jeff Berry split off from the Liberty Knights of the KKK (who had, themselves, split off from the Templar Knights of the KKK) in the mid 1990's. Berry couldn't figure out what to name his new "Klan". He called me about it and I suggested the name "American Knights" which he liked and adopted for his own. (Keep in mind, this guy's going to save the whole white race, yet he couldn't even figure out what to call his own Klan and had to ask my help.) Shortly afterward, Berry took to Larsen's idea and declared himself, "Reverend" Jeff Berry, Imperial Wizard of the Church of the American Knights of the KKK. Since then a number of tag along "Klans" have done the same. But it is the dumbest thing they could do and it is a complete misuse of the Klan name and misinterpretation of the Klan itself. These Klans don't need enemies when they do such a good job of fouling things up themselves. (Kook Klutz Klowns.)

If anyone takes the time to look past the shabby superficial lip service they pay to Christianity, you'll see nothing religious or Christian about them at all. Ray Larsen openly associates with, and has as speakers at his events, publicly known illegal drug abusers, such as the many times convicted neo-nazi Ted Dunn. "Reverend" Jeff on the other hand is presently serving a seven year prison sentence for threatening a news reporter with a gun. Prior to that, "Rev." Jeff was caught and prosecuted for cheating senior citizens with his fly by night home repair business. He over charged for work he did and charged others for work he did not do. Way to go "Rev." Jeff. A man of God (???) cheating senior citizens. To get himself out of the legal mess he agreed to become an informer for the police. He provided the police with so much information it resulted in 70 arrests. Now, he was not informing on Klan organizations but drug abusers. In that respect he deserves a medal. But, I live a clean life. I don't hang around with the drug using crowd. If I even suspect it, I disassociate with any such individuals because it is illegal and I am a law abiding citizen. It is not a Christian life style. I couldn't even point to anyone and be able to say I even suspect them of using illegal drugs. I have always kept myself separate form all that.

I don't know what kind of low social life Jeff Berry had, but how could a man of God be so steeped into the drug underworld, and so trusted by them, as to be able to provide enough information as to get 70 drug law breakers arrested? Does all this sound like the work of a church to you? How can they even call it a church when at most of their meetings all they do is talk about hanging or shooting somebody? Before he went to prison, Berry's property was shot at several times and since his incarceration his church klan has faded.

The moral of all this is don't fly in the face of God and mock God by declaring something a church when it is not. Don't exploit religion for the sake of politics and don't claim Godliness when you are engaged in criminal activity; unless you want the wrath of God to come down on your head, too. Neither should you claim to honor the memory of the true Klansmen of the past and then mock their memory by distorting the Klans they founded so far out of shape as to make them unrecognizable.

One final note. It is not my intended purpose to stir things up and make others look bad. But, these Klans are public organizations and their leaders are public figures. The public has the right to know the truth. Any Klan built on a foundation of lies is doomed to fail. Anyone wishing to affiliate with any Klan organization must take the time to know and understand the true principles, intentions, and purposes of the KKK. They must look past the mask of the leaders they, in fact, know nothing about. What is their past, it that their real name, what is their occupation and educational level? Are they just con men looking for easy money? Are they engaged in any real activity to attain their claimed goals? Look past the self serving propaganda before you get suckered into an illegal Klan that gets busted by the law for assorted criminal activities. Be warned, if you lie with dogs, you die with dogs.


comments about this fiery cross article should be sentn here:  http://www.kkklan.com/fierycross.htm 






Augustine Oberholtzer (November 10, 1896 – April 14, 1925) was a schoolteacher who worked in the city of Indianapolis, in the United States of America. She was kidnapped and raped repeatedly by D. C. Stephenson, Grand Dragon of the Indiana Ku Klux Klan. She later died of a staph infection from the bite wounds Stepheson inflicted on her. It was at first thought she had died from self-inflicted poisoning, but prosecution in Stephenson's trial proved it had been an infection.[1] In a deathbed statement, she vividly described Stephenson's assaults on her. Her testimony led to his conviction and the subsequent decline of the KKK in Indiana.


Early life

Madge Oberholtzer was born to German American parents in Clay City, Indiana. She grew up in Fulton County, Indiana. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, she taught in a state program for adult literacy. She lived with her parents in the Irvington area of Indianapolis.

[edit] Events of the case

In 1924, Oberholtzer attended a dinner at the Governor's mansion. She met David Curtiss Stephenson, who was instantly attracted to her. She dated Stephenson twice. On their second date, he admitted that he was Grand Dragon (state leader) of the Indiana Branch of the Ku Klux Klan. Oberholtzer immediately broke off the relationship.

On March 27, 1925, Stephenson called her and invited her to his home to discuss a job. When she arrived, he overpowered her and forced her to drink whiskey until she became sick and almost passed out. Two of his bodyguards carried her to his car, where she fainted. She awoke on Stephenson's private train on its way to Chicago. He raped her several times, mutilating her with vicious bites, until she again passed out.

In Hammond, Indiana, Oberholtzer convinced Stephenson to let her go to a drug store to purchase feminine hygiene items. Despite the presence of his bodyguards, she purchased mercuric chloride tablets, and she swallowed six of the potentially poisonous pills. Oberholtzer had earlier threatened Stephenson, saying, “The law will get their hands on you!” He laughed and replied, “I am the law in Indiana.” Stephenson's Klan connections gave him tremendous political power.

That night Oberholtzer began vomiting blood. When she had not recovered by the next day, Stephenson's bodyguards drove her home to Indianapolis. There they were approached by a boarder who asked what was going on. A bodyguard, hiding his face with his hat, said that Oberholtzer had been in a car accident.

Her parents immediately called a doctor, but there was little he could do to save her. She accused Stephenson in a deathbed statement on March 28. Madge Oberholtzer died on April 14, 1925 from a staph infection combined with kidney failure from mercury poisoning.

[edit] Trial

Stephenson was indicted on charges of rape and second-degree murder. At his trial, the doctor who had examined her testified that the injuries she received during her rape would be sufficient alone to kill her. He described her wounds as similar to having been "chewed by a cannibal."

Stephenson's defense was that Oberholtzer had committed suicide. The prosecution demonstrated Oberholtzer vomited so violently that prompt medical attention may have saved her. During closing statements, Stephenson was decried as a “destroyer of virtue and womanhood”. The court found him guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

[edit] Aftermath

Stephenson's assault of Oberholtzer so outraged many members of the Klan that entire lodges left the organization. The scandal destroyed the KKK in Indiana. Within the following two years, the Indiana KKK lost more than 178,000 members, becoming virtually non-existent. Indiana and other states stepped up efforts to publicize Klan members (who had depended on secrecy to hide their activities) and prosecute infractions. By February 1928, Indiana Klan rosters had decreased dramatically from a peak of more than 250,000 members[2] to approximately 4,000.

Stephenson was paroled on March 23, 1950, but violated parole by disappearing on or before September 25, 1950. On December 15, 1950, he was captured in Minneapolis. In 1951, he was directed to serve a further 10 years in prison. On December 22, 1956, Stephenson was paroled again on condition he leave Indiana and never return. In 1961, he was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a sixteen-year-old girl, but the charges were dropped on grounds of insufficient evidence. He died in 1966.

Madge Oberholtzer was buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Indianapolis.

[edit] Legacy in popular culture

Actress Mel Harris portrayed Oberholtzer in the TV mini-series Cross of Fire (1989).

[edit] See also

[editDavid Curtiss "Steve" Stephenson (21 August 1891 – 28 June 1966) was an American Grand Dragon (state leader) of the Ku Klux Klan in the U.S. state of Indiana and 22 other Northern states. He is considered to have been one of the most successful Klan leaders up until his downfall after his conviction for murder. His trial and imprisonment contributed to the end of the second wave of Klan activity in the 1920s.es


David Curtiss "Steve" Stephenson (21 August 1891 – 28 June 1966) was an American Grand Dragon (state leader) of the Ku Klux Klan in the U.S. state of Indiana and 22 other Northern states. He is considered to have been one of the most successful Klan leaders up until his downfall after his conviction for murder. His trial and imprisonment contributed to the end of the second wave of Klan activity in the 1920s.

Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan

Stephenson was born in Houston, Texas, and moved with his family to Maysville, Oklahoma, where he worked as a printer's apprentice and was active in the Socialist Party. In 1920, he moved to Irvington, Indiana, where he became a salesman and joined the Democratic Party and the Ku Klux Klan. In that same year, he ran unsuccessfully for a Democratic Congressional nomination.[1] In November 1922, Stephenson backed Hiram Wesley Evans in his attempt to unseat William J. Simmons as Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan; upon Evans' ascendancy, Stephenson was made Grand Dragon of Indiana and 22 other northern states.

Membership in the states for which he was Grand Dragon grew dramatically. In Indiana alone membership grew to nearly 250,000 or about one third of all white males in the state. Stephenson acquired great wealth and political power. In a speech to the 1923 Fourth of July gathering of the Ku Klux Klan in Kokomo, Indiana, Stephenson began, "My worthy subjects, citizens of the Invisible Empire, Klansmen all, greetings. It grieves me to be late. The President of the United States kept me unduly long counseling on matters of state. Only my plea that this is the time and the place of my coronation obtained for me surcease from his prayers for guidance." Encouraged by his success, in September 1923, Stephenson severed his ties with the existing national organization of the Ku Klux Klan, and formed a rival Ku Klux Klan. Stephenson changed his affiliation from the Democratic to the Republican Party. He notably supported Republican Edward L. Jackson when he ran (successfully) for governor in 1924.

[edit] Convicted of murder

Publicly a Prohibitionist and a defender of "Protestant womanhood," his spectacular 1925 trial for murder led to the downfall of the "Second Wave" of Klan activity. Stephenson was responsible for the abduction, forced intoxication, and rape of Madge Oberholtzer, his secretary (who ran a state program to combat illiteracy), all leading to her suicide attempt and eventual death. Among other atrocities, Stephenson had bitten her so many times that one man who saw her described her condition as having been “chewed by a cannibal.” These actions by Stephenson led to the downfall of the KKK, with membership falling from 5 million in 1925 dramatically to the KKK having practically no members in the subsequent years.[2] The jury convicted Stephenson of second-degree murder on 14 November 1925, on its first ballot. Stephenson was sentenced to life in prison on 16 November 1925.[3]

In vengeful response to his conviction and to the refusal of Governor Jackson to grant clemency or to commute his sentence, on 9 September 1927 Stephenson released lists of public officials who were or had been on the Klan payroll. This publicity and the state's crackdown on Klan activity sped up its decline by the end of the 1920s.

The aftermath was shocking, indictments were filed against Governor Ed Jackson, Marion County Republican chairman George V. "Cap" Coffin, and attorney Robert I. Marsh, charging them with conspiring to bribe former Governor Warren McCray. The mayor of Indianapolis, John Duvall, was convicted and sentenced to jail for 30 days (and barred from political service for four years). Some Republican commissioners of Marion County also resigned from their posts on charges of accepting bribes from the Klan and Stephenson.[4]

On 7 January 1941, the Valparaiso Vidette-Messenger reported that Democratic Governor Townsend was considering granting an early parole application by Stephenson; if so, this application was rejected.

Stephenson was paroled on 23 March 1950, but violated parole by disappearing on or before 25 September 1950. On 15 December 1950, he was captured in Minneapolis, and directed in 1951 to serve a further 10 years in prison. In 1953, he pleaded for release from prison, denying that he had ever been a leader of the Klan. On 22 December 1956, he was paroled again, on condition that he leave Indiana and never return. In 1961, he was arrested on charges of attempting to sexually assault a sixteen-year-old girl, and released after paying a $300 fine.[3] The charges were later dropped on grounds of insufficient evidence.

Stephenson was infamous for having claimed "I am the law in Indiana."[3] He died in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and was buried in Johnson City, Tennessee.

[edit] Cultural reference

The Stephenson period has been somewhat overshadowed by more recent events in the history of the Klan, but references to Stephenson can nonetheless be found in recent popular culture. John Heard portrayed Stephenson in the television miniseries Cross of Fire (1989). In the Daniel Easterman novel K is for Killing he is portrayed as the sinister power behind the throne in an alternate history in which isolationist Senator Charles Lindbergh is elected President of the United States and not Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The predatory sexual behavior of Stephenson in real life was reflected in the novel, in which he was a politically savvy ally of Hitler, yet also clearly unstable.[5]

[edit] References

  1. ^ Gray, Ralph D.; Indiana History: A Book of Readings (1995), p 306. Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32629-X.
  2. ^ "Stephenson Sentenced". Indianapolis News (CHS 1920s Newspaper Project): pp. 1. 1925-11-16. http://web.cathedral-irish.org/sites/teachers/thomas/newspaper/7th_period/front_page.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-13. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c Lutholtz, M. William (1991). Grand Dragon: D. C. Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press. ISBN 1-55753-046-7.
  4. ^ http://www.centerforhistory.org/indiana_history_main7.html
  5. ^ Easterman, Daniel. K is for Killing. London, England: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1997

[edit] Further reading

[edit] External links



Grand Wizard was the title given to the leader of the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan which existed from 1866 to 1871.[1]

In 1915, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was created, initially as a fraternal organization. The highest-ranking leader of the latter organization was the Imperial Wizard. National officers were "Imperial" officers. State or "Realm" officers were "Grand" officers. A "Grand Dragon", for example, was the highest ranking Klansman in a given state.

Following World War II, dozens of people have assumed the "Wizard" title as leaders of the numerous, independent, Klan-oriented organizations that have existed since then, the majority of which lack historical significance.

[edit] Grand or Imperial Wizards
Hiram Wesley Evans, Imperial Wizard of the Second Klan from 1922 to 1939

This list excludes those of post-war, independent factions.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Quarles, Chester L. (1999). "Appendix I". The Ku Klux Klan and related American racialist and antisemitic organizations: a history and analysis. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0647-X. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fhcnmDIQOW8C&pg=PA196#v=onepage&q=&f=false.
  2. ^ Wade, Wyn Craig (1998). The fiery cross: the Ku Klux Klan in America. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0-19-512357-3. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6O_XYBMhNYAC&pg=PA40.
  3. ^ Wade, p.144




Timeline of the Civil Rights Movement

Project Introduction || 1619 − 1949 || 1950 − 2010

The Civil Rights Movement
1619 The White Lion, a damaged ship with a cargo of about twenty African slaves, lands in the Virginia colony.
The struggling colonists bartered with the ship's crew, exchanging food and materials in return for the ship's human cargo.
The colonists originally had no modle for true slavery. The Africans joined poor White people in the colony as indentured servants − working for seven years to gain their freedom.

slaveship video

This "free" labor helped the colonies survive and prosper. As the value of this labor became obvious, true slavery developed and spread quickly.

Most slaves were sold by Africans The vast majority of slaves (acquired through tribal wars and kidnapping) were sold by African rulers, traders and a military aristocracy, who grew wealthy from the business.
1777 Vermont is the first state to abolish slavery.

1787 President Jefferson The Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Following the Constitutional Convention, a great debate took place throughout America over the Constitution that had been proposed.

The ratification process was completed in 1788, with the first persidential election held in 1789.

By the time of the Constitutional Convention, slavery was well established in the United States. In the census of 1790, there were slaves in nearly every state, with only Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine being exceptions. In the entire country 3.8 million people were counted, 700,000 of them, or 18%, were slaves.

In South Carolina, 43% of the population were slaves. In Maryland 32 percent%, and in North Carolina 26%. Virginia had the largest slave population of almost 300,000, or 39% of its population.
The Constitution has provisions protecting slavery − even though it does not contain the words "slave" or "slavery".

Mount Vernon George Washington became a slave owner at age eleven. When his father died, he inherited 10 slaves and 500 acres of land. At age 22, he had a work force of about 36 slaves.

The slave population at Washington's Mt. Vernon plantation grew as more were purchased and slaves raised their own families. By 1799 there were 316 slaves living on the estate.

1792 Atlantic Slave Trade Map The Atlantic slave trade was the enslavement and transportation, primarily of African people, to the colonies of the New World along the Atlantic coast and lasted from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
In England, Portugal, and in some other parts of Europe, opposition developed against the slave trade. Supported by the Quakers, the opposition grew and began to organize protests against the trade.

Denmark, which had been active in the slave trade, was the first country to ban the trade through legislation in 1792, which took effect in 1803.

1793 eagle The Fugitive Slave Act guaranteed the right of a slaveholder to recover an escaped slave.
The act did the following:
  • established the legal mechanism by which escaped slaves could be seized in any state, brought before a magistrate and returned to their masters, giving states the right to demand a slave be returned.
  • made it a crime to assist a fugitive or a slave in escaping, with prison and a fine for helping a fugitive but only a fine for helping a slave.
  • made every escaped slave a fugitive for life (unless manumited by the owner), who could be recaptured at any time anywhere within the territory of the United States, along with any children subsequently born of enslaved mothers.
1797 President Jefferson eagleJohn Adams becomes the second President of the United States.
Adams built up the navy and was responsible for the four Alien and Sedition Acts.
  1. The Naturalization Act extended the duration of residence required for aliens to become citizens of the United States from five years to fourteen years.
  2. The Alien Friends Act authorized the president to deport any resident alien considered "dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States." It was activated June 25, 1798, with a two year expiration date.
  3. The Alien Enemies Act authorized the president to apprehend and deport resident aliens if their home countries were at war with the United States of America. Enacted July 6, 1798, and providing no sunset provision, the act remains intact today.
  4. The Sedition Act made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its officials. It was enacted July 14, 1798, with an expiration date of March 3, 1801 (the day before Adams' presidential term was to end).

Adams owned no slaves. He believed slavery was evil and a threat to the American democratic experiment. But it was his wife, Abigail Smith Adams, who was the true Civil Rights advocate.

eagle She is known for her March 1776 letter to John and the Continental Congress, requesting that they, "...remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors..."


A notable incident occurred in Philadelphia in 1791, where a free black youth came to Abigail's house asking to be taught how to write.
She placed the boy in a local evening school, though not without objections from a neighbor. Adams responded that he was "a Freeman as much as any of the young men and merely because his face is black, is he to be denied instruction? How is he to be qualified to procure a livelihood? ... I have not thought it any disgrace to myself to take him into my parlor and teach him both to read and write."

1800 eagleThomas Jefferson (Democrat-Republican) wins the presidential election.

Jefferson on slavery
President Jefferson Monticello was Jefferson's home and slave plantation. Throughout a period lasting seventy years, Jefferson owned over 600 slaves.

Jefferson actually paid a few of his trusted slaves in important positions. Fragmentary records indicate a rich spiritual life in the Monticello slave quarters, incorporating both Christian and African traditions. Although there is no record that Jefferson provided education, several Monticello slaves could read and write.

scandal Thomas Jefferson's alleged relationship with Sally Hemings was the first presidential sex scandal and prompted a discussion that continues to this day.
Jefferson was charged with having an affair with his slave, Sally Hemings, and in fact fathering her oldest child.

Jefferson denied the charges and remained president for another 7 years, however debate about the affair continued until 1998 when DNA testing proved that "some" Jefferson male "probably" fathered at least one of Hemings' six children.

NOTE: This is an extreme example of "white privilage". White males taking advantage of female slaves was much more common than anyone has ever admitted.
1807 Britain banned the slave trade (but not slavery itself).
The ban made it illegal for British ships to transport slaves. The British Navy immediately established a blockade off the African coast to enforce the ban, called the West Africa Squadron.
Although the ban technically applied only to British ships, other countries supported of the ban and gave the Royal Navy the right to search any of their for slaves. A notable exception was the United States, which refused.
When Britain abolished the slave trade, it not only had to contend with opposition from white slavers but also from African slave-trading classes who had become accustomed to wealth gained from selling slaves.

As long as there was a demand for slaves in America, their lucrative business continued.

slaves for sale slave business slaves on the block

1808 eagleJames Madison (Democrat-Republican) wins the presidential election.
Montpelier President Madison Montpelier was Madison's home and tobacco plantation.

Madison acknowledged that slavery was a great evil, but continued to regard his relatively small number of enslaved laborers as property.

He supported the American Colonization Society's efforts to return freed blacks to Africa, after indemnifying the slave owners.

The United States outlawed the importing of new slaves on January 1.

The U.S. Constitution, Article 1 Section 9 was written to protect the slave trade for twenty years after ratification.
"The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person."
In exchange for a 20-year ban on restrictions on the Atlantic slave trade, southern delegates to the Constitution Convention agreed to remove a clause restricting the national government's power to enact laws requiring goods to be shipped on American vessels (benefiting northeastern shipbuilders and sailors).
By Constitutional Law, no laws could be passed to end the slave trade before 1808.
As soon as the ban expired, Congress passed an Act that technically abolished the intercontinental slave trade. However, the ban was not widely enforced, and many of the slave ships which escaped the British blockade of Africa were destined for the southern United States.

The Act prohibited the "importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States", from and after the first day of January.

The Act also regulated the coastwise slave trade (shiploads of slaves were transported from place to place on the waterways along the eastern coastal areas of North America).
When the African source of new slaves was cut off, slave holders became much more concerned with their slaves producing children. Many came to think of these children as a never-ending source of new slaves.
1816 President Monroe eagleJames Monroe (Democrat-Republican) wins the presidential election.
When his father died in 1774, Monroe (as eldest surviving son) inherited his family's 500-acre tobacco plantation - and its slaves. Throughout his life, Monroe's relationships with slaves revealed a pattern of paternalistic racism.
While he never acknowledged equal rights for the slave population, Monroe sought a gradual end to slavery and advocated re-settling freed slaves in the Carribean or in Africa.

Monroe was humane in the treatment of his slaves. He prevented slave families from being separated from one another, allowed certain slaves a degree of self-determination in work assignments, sought medical treatment for slaves who were ill, and saw that his slaves had access to the basics of food, clothing, and shelter.

The American School for the Deaf is founded in Hartford, Connecticut.
This was the first school for disabled children anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.
deaf icon
1824 President Adams eagleJohn Quincy Adams (Democrat-Republican) wins the presidential election.
Adams was a leading opponent of Slave Power and argued that if a civil war ever broke out, the president could abolish slavery by using his war powers. Deeply troubled by slavery, Adams correctly predicted the break-up of the Union over the issue, though the bloody slave insurrections he foresaw never came to pass.
1828 eagleAndrew Jackson (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
The Hermitage President Jackson The Hermitage was Andrew Jackson's home and plantation.

The plantation eventually grew to 1,050 acres. The primary crop was cotton, grown by slaves. Jackson started with nine slaves in 1804. By 1820, he held as many as 44, and later up to 150 slaves. Throughout his lifetime Jackson may have owned a total of 300 slaves.

Jim Crow is born.

His strange career began as a minstrel show caricature of a black man created by a white man, Thomas "Daddy" Rice, to amuse white audiences.
Jim Crow blackface Blackface makeup was either a layer of burnt cork on a layer of coca butter or black grease paint.

In the early years exaggerated red lips were painted around their mouths, like those of today's circus clowns.

In later years, the lips were usually painted white. Costumes were gaudy combinations of formal wear − swallowtail coats, striped trousers, and large hats.

After 1870, the popularity of the minstrel show declined rapidly. However minstrel show acts continued to be depicted in movies and on television well into the 1950s.

By the 1880s, Jim Crow had become synonymous with a system of racial laws and customs, "Jim Crow Laws", that enabled White society to legally and politically dominate Blacks.

NOTE: Today, negative Black stereotypes are a key part of Black music videos that glorify gangsterism. In Rap music and videos, the minstrel-show plantation has been replaced by the "hood". While the setting has changed from an idyllic plantation to the mean streets of urban America, the process is the same: a Black culture is being marketed for White profit, with Black performers portraying racist stereotypes.

Performers claim that they represent "authentic" Black America. Critics (both Black and White) oppose the glorification of ugly caricatures and its effects on Black (and White) youth.

scandal The "Petticoat Affair" began with the marriage of Jackson's secretary of war, John Henry Eaton, to recently widowed Margaret Timberlake, whose husband had committed suicide.
The marriage proved a great scandal in American high society, with rumors that Eaton had been having an affair with Timberlake which led to her first husband's suicide.

Most of Jackson's cabinet turned against Eaton, but Jackson supported him, and the controversy led to such a conflict that almost Jackson's entire cabinet resigned over the issue.

The scandal led to Jackson's vice president, John C. Calhoun, falling from favor (because of the social ostracism of Mrs. Eaton by Mrs. Calhoun) and being replaced by Martin Van Buren in Jackson's second election campaign.

Van Buren had been the only cabinet member to support the Eatons and thus had gained Jackson's favor.

Nathaniel "Nat" Turner was an American slave who led a slave rebellion in Virginia on August 21, that resulted in 56 deaths among their victims, the largest number of white fatalities to occur in one uprising in the antebellum southern United States.
For his actions, Turner was convicted, sentenced to death, and executed. In the aftermath, the state executed 56 blacks accused of being part of Turner's slave rebellion. Two hundred blacks were also beaten and killed by white militias and mobs reacting with violence.

Many southern states passed laws prohibiting education of slaves and free blacks, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free blacks, and requiring white ministers to be present at black worship services.

Nat Turner's Slave Revolt
1833 Harriet Tubman The American Anti-Slavery Society was established.
Abolitionist sentiment can be traced back to Thomas Paine video and the American Revolution.
Many saw the glaring contradiction in demanding freedom for themselves while holding slaves. video

Although the economic center of slavery was in the South, Northerners also held slaves, as did Native Americans and even Blacks.

Harriet Tubman is perhaps the best known of all the Underground Railroad's "conductors".
During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she "never lost a single passenger." video video
Benjamin Drew, a Boston abolitionist acting in cooperation with officers of the Canadian Anti-Slavery Society, visited various towns in Canada, interviewing scores of refugees from the slave states.
1836 President Van Buren eagleMartin Van Buren (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
He was born in the village of Kinderhook, New York, approximately 25 miles south of Albany. His father, Abraham van Buren was a farmer (the owner of six slaves) and a tavern-keeper in Kinderhook.

Van Buren received a basic education at a poorly lit schoolhouse in his native village and later studied Latin briefly at the Kinderhook Academy. His formal education ended before he reached 14, when he began studying law at the office of Francis Sylvester, a prominent Federalist attorney in Kinderhook. After six years under Sylvester, he spent a final year of apprenticeship in the New York City office of William P. Van Ness, a political lieutenant of Aaron Burr. Van Buren was admitted to the bar in 1803.

Van Buren was the first president to be born an American citizen − his predecessors having been born British subjects before the American Revolution. He was the first American "politician" − his only non-political job being that of a lawyer. He also was the first to use grassroots campaigning in a presidential campaign.

He served as a member of the state constitutional convention, where he opposed granting universal suffrage and tried to maintain property requirements for voting.

Van Buren sided with the Spanish Government in the case of the ship Amistad to return the kidnapped slaves.

He oversaw the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of Native Americans to Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

To help secure Florida, Van Buren pursued the Second Seminole War, which had begun while Jackson was in office. The war, which would prove the costliest of the Indian Wars, was highly unpopular in the free states, where it was seen as an attempt to expand slave territory.

1840 President Harrison eagleWilliam Henry Harrison (Whig) wins the presidential election.
Harrison (February 9, 1773 − April 4, 1841) was: the first U.S. president to die in office, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the United States Declaration of Independence. Harrison died on his thirty-second day in office of complications from a cold − the shortest tenure in United States presidential history.
President Tyler His death sparked a brief constitutional crisis, but that crisis ultimately resolved many questions about presidential succession left unanswered by the Constitution until passage of the 25th Amendment.
1844 President Polk eagleJames K. Polk (Democrat) wins the presidential race. T he 1844 campaign centered upon the annexation of Texas and the re-occupation of Oregon − both of which were "Manifest Destiny" issues that Polk supported.
The territory now known as Texas was part of a disputed boundary between the United States and Mexico. The issue of annexing Texas raised not only the question of war with Mexico, but also the issue of whether Texas would be a free state or slave state.

The Oregon Territory was claimed by both the United States and Great Britain. Polk's campaign slogan of "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!" refers to the latitude coordinates of the Oregon Treaty disputed territory.

PPresident Polk added a vast area to the United States, but its acquisition precipitated a bitter quarrel between the North and the South over expansion of slavery.

1848/ President Taylor eagleZachary Taylor (Whig) wins the presidential electrion.
Taylor was the first President never to have held a previous elected office and the last President to hold slaves while in office.

As president, he angered many Southerners by taking a moderate stance on the issue of slavery. He urged settlers in New Mexico and California to bypass the territorial stage and draft constitutions for statehood, setting the stage for the Compromise of 1850.. 

President Taylor died in office on July 9, 1850. 



The first Women's Rights Convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York.
An estimated three hundred women and men attended the Convention, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Frederick Douglass video Stanton Mott Douglass

After 2 days of discussion and debate, 68 women and 32 men sign a Declaration of Sentiments, which outlines grievances and sets the agenda for the women's rights movement. A set of 12 resolutions is adopted calling for equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women.
institutionalized The Perkins Institution, founded by Samuel Gridley Howe in Boston, Massachusetts, was the first residential institution for people with mental retardation.
Over the next century, hundreds of thousands of developmentally disabled children and adults were institutionalized, many for the rest of their lives.
1852 President Pierce eagleFranklin Pierce (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
The Democratic Convention is deadlocked. None of the four candidates, including James Buchanan and Stephen A. Douglas, were able to win enough votes to gain the presidential nomination. After 34 ballots, delegates from Virginia introduced Franklin Pierce's name in hopes of breaking the deadlock. The Convention quickly embraced the nomination, which Pierce quietly accepted.
The election focused on few issues, for it was believed the Compromise of 1850 had settled the question of slavery. While Pierce favored the Compromise, it was his support of the Fugitive Slave Law (the most controversial part of the Compromise) that won him the South's votes, and an impressive electoral victory.
In the South, fears were high that the western territories would enter the Union as "free" states, giving the North a political advantage. In the North, hatred against European immigrants flared as Pierce defended their rights under the Constitution.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which allowed settlers to choose whether or not to allow slavery, would shatter the nation's stability.
Pierce stood by his party and supported the bill, believing it to be in the spirit of the Constitution. The result was a rush of both sides to settle in Kansas, where armed conflict soon erupted. Pierce was blamed for the bloodshed, which came to be known as Bleeding Kansas.

NOTE: The name Jayhawk comes from this historical era. jayhawk

1856 President Buchanan eagleJames Buchanan (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
In 1853 President Pierce selected Buchanan to be the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. This overseas post allowed him to stay out of the domestic controversies regarding slavery, and to avoid the bitter arguments over the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
While politicians at home were embroiled in controversy, Buchanan came to the Democratic National Convention untarnished by the domestic political controversy. Combined with his record of compromise and respect for the Southern states' positions on slavery, Buchanan became the nation's 15th President − the only bachelor to hold the nation's highest office.
The nation was becoming more and more divided over the issues of slavery, and President Buchanan could not avoid the fallout. Soon after his inauguration, the Supreme Court addressed the Dred Scott case (see Timeline 1857), refusing to hear the case, but issuing a non-binding declaration that basically said the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional by forbidding slavery in new territories or states.
The Court's statements set well with the slave states and angered the abolitionists. The nation continued to grow more divided.
slave and banjo Although Buchanan had managed to stay out of the Kansas-Nebraska Act controversy when he was ambassador to Great Britain, he did not stay clear of it as President. The act provided for residents of Kansas to decide for themselves whether the state would be a "free" or a "slave" state, and both pro- and anti-slavery moved in to influence the vote.
Buchanan backed the pro-slavery forces, and sent Congress a letter urging them to accept Kansas as a slave state. This drew the ire of fellow Democrat Stephen Douglas, who loudly criticized Buchanan. Kansas eventually entered the Union in 1861 as a free state, but Buchanan's image was becoming more tarnished.
John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry added fuel to the fire, and Buchanan was unable to calm the nation as he continued to advocate that states decide the slavery issues themselves. Buchanan served only one term, and left office as the nation was headed toward Civil War.
The Dred Scott Decision was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and could NEVER be U.S. citizens.
The court also held that Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories and that, because slaves were property and not citizens, they could not sue in court.

The majority decision was written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (a slave owner) and contributed to rising tensions between the free states and slave states.

Dred Scott
1858 The Lincoln-Douglas Debates were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois, and incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate.
The main issue discussed in all seven debates was slavery − Lincoln basically against it and Douglas basically for it.

After losing the election, Lincoln edited the texts of all the debates and had them published in a book. The widespread coverage of the original debates, and the subsequent popularity of the book, led to Lincoln's nomination by the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago. video

Lincoln-Douglass Debates President Lincoln, Slaves, Emancipation, and Black Colonization

The Battle to End Slavery video video

The Emancipation Proclamation - January 1, 1863 video video

1859 The last recorded slave ship to land on American soil was the Clotilde, which illegally smuggled a number of Africans into the town of Mobile, Alabama.
The Africans on board were sold as slaves. The last survivor of the voyage was Cudjoe Lewis who died in 1935.
1860 President Lincoln eagleAbraham Lincoln (Republican) wins the presidential election.
The issue of states' rights and slavery finally came to a head, splitting the dominant Democratic Party into Southern and Northern factions and bringing Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party to power without the support of a single Southern state.

Barely a month following Lincoln's election came declarations of secession by South Carolina and other states, which were rejected as illegal by the then-current President, Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln.

1864 The Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind was authorized by the U.S. Congress to grant college degrees.
This was the first college in the World established for people with disabilities.
1865 The Civil War ends. video The 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, is ratified.
Klan Symbol Lincoln and slavery Mr. Lincoln and Freedom

Timeline: Slavery in America

June 19 − "Juneteenth"

Juneteenth Flag

President Johnson black ribbonPresident Lincoln is assassinated on April 14 - just six days after the end of the Civil War.

the life of Frederick Douglass video Frederick Douglass, born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining renown for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing.

Douglass actively supported women's suffrage. Following the Civil War, he worked on behalf of equal rights for freedmen, and held multiple public offices. His classic autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, is one of the best known accounts of American slavery.

Black Codes were laws passed by Southern states to define the legal status of Blacks in society after the Civil War.
The structural transformation of American society brought about by the Civil War dramatically outpaced the changes in Americans' racial attitudes.
NOTE: In many ways, the promise of Emancipation would not begin to be legally recognized for 100 years − until the struggle for African American rights in the 1960s.
Black Codes

scandal The Credit Mobilier scandal was the first major corruption scandal after the Civil War.
Several high-ranking Republican congressmen (all close supporters of soon to be President Ulysses S. Grant), were given and/or purchased at below market prices stock in the Credit Mobilier of America company, which was involved in the funding and construction of the Union Pacific Railroad.

The Congressmen then proceeded to grant a number of public subsidies and other gifts to the company to help line their own pockets. Future president James A. Garfield was also involved.

1868 In May, the Senate came within a single vote of taking the unprecedented step of removing a president from office.
The impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson was ostensibly about a violation of the Tenure of Office Act. However, it was more about Johnson's policies toward Reconstruction and his vetoes of the Freedmen's Bureau Act. The trial was, above all else, a political trial.

President Grant eagleUlysses S. Grant (Republican) wins the presidential election.
The popular vote was close, despite Grant benefiting from many advantages such as massive popularity in the North, freedmen voting in the South, and the disenfranchisement of many Southern whites.

Reconstruction was a hotly debated issue during the election.

Some in the North wanted to carry out a Reconstruction policy which would emphasize peaceful reconciliation with the South.

Grant supported the plans of the Radical Republicans in Congress to punish the South. The Republican platform left the issue of Black Suffrage in the North to the States while emphasizing granting political rights to the freedmen as the basis for the foundation of Republican Parties in the conquered south.

The 14th Amendment, which requires equal protection under the law to all persons, is ratified.
fourteenth amendment video


Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association. video
The primary goal was to achieve voting rights (suffrage) for women by means of a Congressional amendment to the Constitution.
Susan B. Anthony Elizabeth Stanton
scandal Black Friday, September 24, also known as the Fisk/Gould scandal, was a financial panic caused by two speculators' efforts to corner the gold market on the New York Gold Exchange.
During the Reconstruction Era, the U.S. issued a large amount of money that was backed by nothing but credit. After the war ended, people commonly believed that the government would buy back the "greenbacks" with gold.

A group of speculators, headed by James Fisk and Jay Gould, sought to profit off this by buying up gold to drive up its price.

President Grant realized what was happening and tried to counter their move by selling $4 million in government gold. When that gold hit the market, the price of gold plummeted within minutes. Investors scrambled to sell their holdings, and many of them were ruined.

1870 The 15th Amendment, banning racial discrimination in voting, is ratified.

poll tax Poll Tax (see Timeline 1964)
1873 On March 3, Congress passed the Comstock Act.
The statute defined contraceptives as obscene and illicit, making it a federal offense to disseminate birth control through the mail or across state lines. This statute was the first of its kind in the Western world, but at the time, the American public paid little attention to it.
The driving force behind the original anti-birth control statutes was Anthony Comstock. A devout Christian, he was appalled by what he saw in the city's streets. It seemed to him that the town was teeming with prostitutes and pornography. Also offended by explicit advertisements for birth control devices, he soon identified the contraceptive industry as one of his targets. Comstock was certain that the availability of contraceptives alone promoted lust and lewdness in women.

New England residents lived under the most restrictive laws in the country. In Connecticut, using birth control was even prohibited by law. Married couples could be arrested for using birth control in the privacy of their own homes, and subjected to a one-year prison sentence.

These laws remained unchallenged until birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger made it her mission to challenge them. (see Timeline 1916)
scandal The Whiskey Ring scandal involved diversion of tax revenues in a conspiracy among government agents, politicians, whiskey distillers, and distributors.
The Whiskey Ring began in St. Louis but spread to Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Peoria.

Before they were caught, a group of mostly Republican politicians were able to siphon off millions of dollars in federal liquor taxes.

1876 President Hayes eagleRutherford B. Hayes (Republican) wins the presidential election.
Though he lost the popular vote, Hayes was elected President by just one electoral vote in the highly disputed election.
As Northern opposition to the cost of Reconstruction grew, Hayes essentially ended Reconstruction by removing troops from the South. After the removal of the Federal troops, all Southern states soon returned to Democratic control, signaling the start of the Jim Crow South.
Many historians consider this withdrawal of federal troops as a betrayal to African Americans. Without federal protection, African American voters faced discrimination and intimidation at the polls.

Under the Hayes administration "Jim Crow" laws spread around the country, closing the book on racial equality for another 100 years.

1880 eagleJames A. Garfield (Republican) wins the presidential election.

scandal President Garfield While not personally involved, Garfield had to deal with the Star Route Scandal during his six months as president.
This scandal dealt with corruption in the postal service. Private organizations at the time were handling postal routes out west. They would give postal officials a low bid but when the officials would present these bids to Congress they would ask for higher payments. Obviously, they were profiting from this state of affairs.

Garfield dealt with this head on even though many members of his own party were benefiting from the corruption.

black ribbon His presidency was cut short by assassination by Charles J. Guiteau while entering a railroad station in Washington D.C. on July 2, 1881. Following his death, Garfield was succeeded by Vice-President Chester A. Arthur.
President Arthur
scandal During the campaign, information was released that Cleveland had fathered an illegitimate child ten years before.

Cleveland admitted to having sexual relations with Maria Halpin (a white woman) in 1874.

She later gave birth to an infant boy and named Cleveland as the child's father. He had agreed to name the child Oscar Folsom Cleveland after himself and his law partner, who, as it happened, could also have been the responsible party.

When the mother suffered a mental collapse, the child was adopted by a couple living in the western part of the state. Cleveland never again saw the child or the mother.

Chants of "Ma, ma, where's my pa? Off to the White House, ha ha ha!" became popular throughout the country, but it did not stop Cleveland from getting elected (and elected again in 1892).

President Cleveland eagleGrover Cleveland (Gover Cleveland) wins the presidential election.

Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms (1885 − 1889 and 1893 − 1897).

Cleveland saw Reconstruction as a failed experiment, and was reluctant to use federal power to enforce the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed voting rights to African Americans.

He initially appointed no Black Americans to government positions, but did allow Frederick Douglass to continue in his post as "recorder of deeds" in Washington, D.C. When Douglass later resigned, Cleveland appointed another black man to replace him.

Although he had condemned the "outrages" against Chinese immigrants, he believed that Chinese immigrants were unwilling to assimilate into white society. Secretary of State Bayard negotiated an extension to the Chinese Exclusion Act, and Cleveland lobbied the Congress to pass the Scott Act, which would prevent Chinese immigrants who left the United States from returning.

Cleveland viewed Native Americans as wards of the state, saying in his first inaugural address that "this guardianship involves, on our part, efforts for the improvement of their condition and enforcement of their rights."

He encouraged the idea of cultural assimilation, pushing for the passage of the Dawes Act, which provided for distribution of Indian lands to individual members of tribes, rather than having them continued to be held in trust for the tribes by the federal government. Cleveland believed the Dawes Act would lift Native Americans out of poverty and encourage their assimilation into white society, but its ultimate effect was to weaken the tribal governments and allow individual Indians to sell land and keep the money.
1888 President Harrison eagleBenjamin Harrison (Republican) wins the presidential election.
His administration is most remembered for economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Harrison endorsed the proposed Federal Elections Bill, but the bill was defeated in the Senate.

This was to be the last civil rights legislation attempted by Congress until the 1920s. Following the failure to pass the bill, Harrison continued to speak in favor of African American civil rights in addresses to Congress.

Harrison went before Congress and declared, "...the frequent lynching of colored people is without the excuse...that the accused have an undo influence over courts and juries". While Harrison believed the Constitution did not permit him to end the practice of lynching, he did question the states' civil rights records, arguing that if states have the authority over civil rights, then "we have a right to ask whether they are at work upon it".

All black towns originated in Indian Territory after the Civil War when the former slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes settled together for mutual protection and economic security.
When the Land Run of 1889 opened yet more "free" land to non-Indian settlement, African Americans from the Old South rushed to newly created Oklahoma − considering it a kind of "promise land".
Boley Oklahoma
1890 NOTE: This "Indian Wars event" became an important icon for the American Indian Movement (AIM). (see Timeline 1973)
The Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on December 29, near Wounded Knee Creek (Lakota: Cankpe Opi Wakpala) on the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation.

7th Cavalry Troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle - claiming he had paid a lot for it.

A scuffle over Black Coyote's rifle escalated and a shot was fired which resulted in the troops opening firing indiscriminately from all sides, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their own fellow troopers.

The surviving Lakota fled. But the cavalry pursued and killed at least 150 men, women, and children - many of them unarmed.

Wounded Knee

The women's suffrage movement began in Oklahoma Territory with the formation of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
Prohibitionist women wanted the vote so that they could be more effective in their temperance work. video
prohibition WCTU prohibition
1892 President Cleveland eagleGrover Cleveland (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
Shortly after Cleveland's second term began, the Panic of 1893 struck the stock market, and he soon faced an acute economic depression.
After a lengthly debate in Congress, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act was repealed, restoring the Treasury's gold reserves to safe levels. At the time the repeal seemed a minor setback to silverites, but it marked the beginning of the end of silver as a basis for American currency.
1893 Colorado is the first state to adopt an amendment granting women the right to vote.
women's suffrage
  • 1896 - Utah and Idaho
  • 1910 - Washington State
  • 1911 - California
  • 1912 - Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona
  • 1913 - Alaska and Illinois
  • 1914 - Montana and Nevada
  • 1917 - New York
  • 1918 - Michigan, South Dakota, and Oklahoma
Oklahoma women, calling themselves anti-suffragists or "antis," organized in opposition to women's suffrage in 1918 and established the Oklahoma Anti-Suffrage League.

"Antis" opposed suffrage primarily because of their belief in the "Cult of True Womanhood".

"True Women" were to hold these four cardinal virtues: piety, purity, submission, and domesticity. They identified the home as the "proper sphere" for women, who were seen as better suited to parenting.
1895 Booker Taliaferro Washington was born into slavery to a white father and a slave mother in rural Virginia.

Booker T. Washington He received national prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895, attracting the attention of politicians and the public as a popular spokesperson for African American citizens.

Washington titled the speech "Atlanta Compromise". His position about racial equality was summed up by this statement in the speech:

"The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing."

Washington was criticized by the leaders of the new NAACP (1909), especially W. E. B. Du Bois, who demanded a stronger tone of protest for advancement of Civil Rights. Washington replied that confrontation would lead to disaster for the outnumbered Blacks, and that cooperation with supportive Whites was the only way to overcome pervasive racism in the long run.
1896 President Mckinley eagleWilliam McKinley (Republican) wins the presidential election.
The 1896 election is often considered the beginning of the Progressive Era.

McKinley was the last veteran of the American Civil War to be elected to that office.

He promoted pluralism among ethnic groups (smaller groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities, and their values and practices are accepted by the wider culture).

McKinley demanded that Spain end its atrocities in Cuba, which were outraging public opinion. Spain resisted the interference and the Spanish-American War became inevitable in 1898. The war was fast and easy, as the weak Spanish fleets were sunk and both Cuba and the Philippines were captured in 90 days.

At the peace conference, McKinley agreed to purchase the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, and set up a protectorate over Cuba.

McKinley also annexed the independent Republic of Hawaii. In 1889, the Newlands Resolution create the Territory of Hawaii and its residents become full American citizens.

Hawaii would become the 50th U.S. state on August 21, 1959.
black ribbon McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist, in 1901, and succeeded by his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

The Supreme Court approves the "separate but equal" segregation doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson. video

segregation Civil Rights Cases, 1883 - video

Plessy v. Ferguson - video

The rise and fall of Jim Crow

Separate is not equal

Remembering Jim Crow - American Radio Works audio programs

1897 The Colored Agricultural and Normal University (CANU), now Langston University, was established with HB 151.
This was in response to the second Morrill Act in 1890 requiring states with land-grant colleges to either admit African-American students, or provide an alternative school for them to attend as a condition for continuing to receive federal funding.
Langston University
1898 In November, during the state Democratic Party's white supremacy campaign, a race riot occurred in Wilmington, North Carolina.
A white mob burned the offices of a black newspaper and killed at least twenty-five African Americans, then threw the elected Republican government of the city out of town and installed a white Democratic mayor and council in its place.

In August, the newspaper had published an editorial that suggested that:

...white men are not any more particular in the matter of clandestine meetings with colored women than are white women with colored men. Meetings of this kind go on for some time until the woman's infatuation, or the man's boldness, bring attention to them, and the man is lynched for rape. Every Negro lynched is called a "big burly, black brute," when in fact many of those who have thus been dealt with had white men for their fathers, and were not only not "black" and "burly" but were sufficiently attractive for white girls of culture and refinement to fall in love with them as is very well known to all...
1904 President Roosevelt eagleTheodore Roosevelt (Republican) wins the presidential election.
Roosevelt attempted to move the Republican Party in the direction of Progressivism, including trust busting and increased regulation of businesses. Roosevelt coined the phrase "Square Deal" to describe his domestic agenda, emphasizing that the average citizen would get a fair shake under his policies.

Roosevelt was the force behind the completion of the Panama Canal. He negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in any field.

In an 1894 article on immigration, Roosevelt said, "We must Americanize in every way, in speech, in political ideas and principles, and in their way of looking at relations between church and state. We welcome the German and the Irishman who becomes an American. We have no use for the German or Irishman who remains such. He must revere only our flag, not only must it come first, but no other flag should even come second."

In 1886 he said: "I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth." He later became much more favorable.

With regard to African Americans Roosevelt said, "I have not been able to think out any solution of the terrible problem offered by the presence of the Negro on this continent, but of one thing I am sure, and that is that inasmuch as he is here and can neither be killed nor driven away, the only wise and honorable and Christian thing to do is to treat each black man and each white man strictly on his merits as a man, giving him no more and no less that he shows himself worthy to have."

In 1907 eugenicists in many States started the forced sterilization of the sick, unemployed, poor, criminals, prostitutes, and the disabled. Roosevelt said in 1914, "I wish very much that the wrong people could be prevented entirely from breeding; and when the evil nature of these people is sufficiently flagrant, this should be done. Criminals should be sterilized and feeble-minded persons forbidden to leave offspring behind them." (see Timeline 1927)

1908 President Taft eagleWilliam Howard Taft (Republican) wins the presidential election.
Taft is the only person to have served as President of the United States and Chief Justice of the United States.
Taft was reluctant to use federal authority to enforce the 15th amendment, which guaranteed African Americans the right to vote.
As a result, state governments were able to enforce voter registration requirements that prevented African Americans from voting.

Black lynching by Whites was common throughout the South, however, Taft did nothing to stop the practice. Taft publicly endorsed Booker T. Washington's program for uplifting the Black race, advising them to stay out of politics at the time. A supporter of free immigration, Taft vetoed a law passed by Congress that would have restricted admission to the U.S. by imposing a literacy test.

1909 The National Negro Committee convened in New York City (motivated by the Springfield Race Riot of 1908).
This lead to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Ida B. Wells National Negro Committee NAACP logo The NAACP in Oklahoma
1911 Mary Nelson and her Son, L.D. Nelson, were lynched on May 25, in Okemah, Oklahoma.
They were accused of killing Deputy Sheriff George J. Loney to cover up an alleged crime. As consequences for their actions, both were brutally molested and hanged from a bridge outside Okemah - leading to Okemah's Night of Terror on June 23.

lynching of Mary Nelson Lynching in Oklahoma

Lynching in the United States pictures

Lynchings & Hangings of America

Ida Bell Wells - an African-American journalist, civil rights activist, and women's suffrage leader - is best known for her courageous and effective opposition to lynchings.

1912 President Wilson eagleWoodrow Wilson (Democrat) wins the presidential election.

Wilson brought many white Southerners into his administration, and tolerated their expansion of segregation in federal agencies.

When a delegation of blacks protested the discriminatory actions, Wilson told them "segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen".
Wilson's second term centered on World War I. His idealistic internationalism, now referred to as "Wilsonianism", which calls for the United States to enter the world arena to fight for democracy, has been a contentious position in American foreign policy, serving as a model for "idealists" to emulate and "realists" to reject ever since.

bilingual sign New Mexico enters the union as an officially bilingual state, authorizing funds for voting in both Spanish and English, as well as for bilingual education. Article XII of the state constitution also prohibits segregation for children of "Spanish descent."
At the state's constitutional convention six years earlier, Mexican American delegates mandated Spanish and English be used for all state business.

scandal President Wilson's scandal was a simple engagement. His first wife, Ellen Louise Axson, died in August of 1914.
The following spring Wilson met Edith Galt and by May they were engaged.

This quick engagement was seen as scandalous at the time. Rumors began that Wilson had murdered his wife in order to marry Galt (although they had not met until after Ellen had died).

1916 The first successful change to the Comstock Laws came from the arrest of Margaret Sanger for opening the first birth control clinic in America.
She was charged under the New York law against disseminating contraceptive information. On appeal, her conviction was reversed on the grounds that contraceptive devices could legally be promoted for the cure and prevention of disease. This was the first legal ruling to allow birth control to be used for therapeutic purposes.
1918 The Smith-Sears Veterans Rehabilitation Act provided for the promotion of vocational rehabilitation and return to civil employment of disabled persons discharged from U.S. military.

1919 lynch mob Red Summer describes the race riots that occurred in more than 30 U.S. cities during the summer and fall.
In the months following the end of WWI, thousands of American servicemen came home from Europe expecting to reclaim their pre-warjobs. However, during the war employers had come to rely on eastern European immigrants and Southern blacks to keep their factories and mills operating at maximum capacity.

Unemployed whites began blaming working Blacks for their hardships. In the nation's industrial cities, interracial tensions steadily increased until race riots erupted. The largest and most violent of these riots took place in Chicago. The violence claimed the lives of 38 Chicagoans: 23 Blacks and 15 Whites. Additionally, over 500 were injured and hundreds of families lost everything when their homes were torched by rioters.

In September, Cyril Briggs helped form the African Blood Brotherhood to serve as an "armed resistance" movement.

The ABB advocated armed defense against racist assaults and the creation of an independent black socialist commonwealth. It sought to unite Black radicals around the issues of racism, colonialism, black nationalism, and anti-capitalism and, through its merger of class and race consciousness, provided a gateway for Black radicals' entrance into the Communist movement in the early to mid 1920s.
scandal While Warren G. Harding was running for president, his mistress, Carrie Phillips, took $20,000 in hush money from the GOP.
Another mistress, Nan Britton, bore Harding's child in 1919 while he was a senator.

After Harding became president, he continued the affair with Nan Britton, sometimes in a small anteroom just off the Oval Office.

1920 President Harding eagleWarren G. Harding (Republican) wins the presidential election.

scandal The Teapot Dome Scandal was an unprecedented bribery scandal during the administration of United States President Warren G. Harding.
Before the Watergate scandal (see Timeline 1972), it was regarded as the most "sensational" scandal in the history of U.S. politics.

The scandal was a key factor in posthumously destroying the public reputation of Harding, who was extremely popular at the time of his death (heart attack) in office in 1923.

On August 18th, the Tennessee General Assembly, by a one-vote margin, became the thirty-sixth state legislature to ratify the proposed amendment, thereby making it the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The amendment prohibits each state and the federal government from denying any citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's sex.
women get the vote stamp

President Harding signed the Per Centum Act of 1921, severely reduced the amount of immigration into the United States to 3% of their represented population based on the 1910 census. The Act allowed unauthorized immigrants to be deported.

The Ku Klux Klan had its highest membership during its revival in the 1920s, when it expanded membership into urban populations of the Midwest and South who were concerned about job competition and immigration.

Harding advocated civil rights for all Americans, including African Americans. He suggested appointing African Americans to federal positions and was in favor of a national anti-lynching bill.

Harding supported Congressman Leonidas Dyer's federal anti-lynching bill, known as the Dyer Bill, which passed the House of Representatives but was defeated in the Senate by a filibuster.

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. video

Harlem became an African American neighborhood in the early 1900s and grew rapidly during WWI. The migration of laborers from Europe virtually ceased, while the war effort resulted in a massive demand for unskilled industrial labor.
The Great Migration brought hundreds of thousands of African Americans to cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and New York City.
Apollo Theater
1921 The Tulsa race riot - Monday, May 30 to June 1, 1921 - destroyed the Greenwood District of Tulsa.
Dick Rowland, an African American shoe shiner, and Sarah Page, a white elevator operator, set the stage for the tragedy. While it is still uncertain as to precisely what happened in the Drexel Building on May 30, the most common explanation is that Rowland stepped on Page's foot as he entered the elevator, causing her to scream.
The next day, however, the Tulsa Tribune reported that Rowland, who had been picked up by police, had attempted to rape Page.
Tulsa Reparations Tulsa Tribune commission report
By 7:30 p.m. hundreds of whites had gathered outside the Tulsa County Courthouse, demanding that the authorities hand over Dick Rowland for lynching, but the sheriff refused.
Tulsa Race Riot Tulsa Race Riot Tulsa Race Riot

The Immigration Act of 1921 restricts the entry of southern and eastern Europeans.

Agricultural businesses successfully blocked efforts to limit the immigration of Mexicans.
1923 The Rosewood Massacre began on New Year's Day when Fannie Taylor, a young white woman living in Sumner, Florida, claimed that a black man sexually assaulted her in her home.
Spurred by these accusations, white men from nearby towns lynched Sam Carter, a Rosewood resident. When black citizens defended themselves against further attack, several hundred whites combed the countryside hunting for black people and burning almost every structure in Rosewood.

Although state and local authorities were aware of the violence, they made no arrests for the activities in Rosewood. The town was abandoned by black residents during the attacks. None ever returned.

Rosewood Massacre Rosewood Massacre
1924 President Coolidge eagleCalvin Coolidge (Republican) wins the presidential election.

Coolidge spoke out in favor of the civil rights of African Americans and Catholics.

He appointed no known members of Ku Klux Klan to office − indeed the Klan lost most of its influence during his term.

Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, which granted full U.S. citizenship to all American Indians, while permitting them to retain tribal land and cultural rights. However, the act was not clear whether the federal government or the tribal leaders retained tribal sovereignty. Coolidge repeatedly called for anti-lynching laws to be enacted, but most Congressional attempts to pass this legislation were filibustered by Southern Democrats.

On March 20, the Virginia General Assembly passed two laws based on concerns about engenics and race − the Racial Integrity Act and the Sterilization Act.

The Racial Integrity Act required that a racial description of every person be recorded at birth and divided society into only two classifications: White and Colored. One Drop Rule
The Act defined race by the One-Drop Rule, defining as colored, persons with ANY African or Indian ancestry. It criminalized miscegenation, classifying marriage between a white person and a non-white person as a felony.

This Act also included the "Pocahontas exception" − since many influential "First Families of Virginia" claimed descent from Pocahontas, linking them with the original Colonies, the legislature declared that a person could be considered white even if he or she had as much as one-sixteenth Indian ancestry (the great-great grandparent was full blood).

The Sterilization Act provided for compulsory sterilization of persons deemed to be feebleminded, including the "insane, idiotic, imbecile, or epileptic".

Scientists working independently in Japan (1924) and Austria (1927) devise the "Rhythm Method" of birth control.
After figuring out that women are fertile approximately midway through the average menstrual cycle, they conclude that pregnancy can be avoided by abstaining from sex during that fertile period.

The discovery that the pituitary gland functions as a "remote control system in human reproduction" leads directly to the invention of the first pregnancy test in 1926.

1925 In its first national demonstration, the Ku Klux Klan marches on Washington, D.C. video
KKK March on Washington Tulsa's new klavern newspaper headline
scandal Strom Thurmond, Dixiecrat Although Strom Thurmond's actions would not become public until after his death in 2003, his 78 year secret began in 1925.

He would run against Harry Truman as a segregationist "Dixiecrat" in 1948.

He would be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1954 and become the longest-serving Senator in U.S. history, turning 100 while still in office.

He would moderate his position on race, but always defend his early segregationist campaigns on the basis of states' rights in the context of Southern society at the time, never fully renouncing his early viewpoints.

After his death, it was revealed that he (at 22) and his family's Black housekeeper, Carrie Butler (at 16), had a daughter, Essie Mae, in 1925 whom Thurmond had supported financially from childhood into her adult years, but never publicly acknowledged.

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1927 The Buck v. Bell Supreme Court decision ruled that forced sterilization of people with disabilities was NOT a violation of their constitutional rights.
By the 1970s, over 60,000 disabled people were sterilized without their consent.
euginics forced sterilization fit to breed?
The Supreme Court has even sited this case in two later decisions: Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942) and McLaughlin v. Florida (1964).

Nazi Flag The "science" of Eugenics eventually fell out of favor with the exposure
of the Nazi eugenics program and human experimentation after WWII.

1928 President Hoover eagleHerbert Hoover (Republican) wins the presidential election.
Hoover, a trained engineer, deeply believed in the Efficiency Movement, which held that government and the economy were riddled with inefficiency and waste, and could be improved by experts who could identify the problems and solve them.

When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 struck less than eight months after he took office, Hoover tried to combat the ensuing Great Depression with volunteer efforts, none of which produced economic recovery during his term.

Hoover seldom mentioned civil rights while he was President.
He believed that African Americans, and other races, could improve themselves with education and wanted the races assimilated into white culture.

Hoover attempted to appoint John J. Parker to the Supreme Court in 1930 to replace Edward Sanford. The NAACP claimed that Parker made many court decisions against African Americans and fought the nomination. The NAACP was successful in gaining the support of Senator William Borah and the nomination was defeated in the Senate.

First Lady Lou Hoover defied custom and invited an African American Republican, Oscar DePriest, a member in the House of Representatives, to dinner at the White House. Booker T. Washington was the last previous African American to have dined at the White House, with Theodore Roosevelt in 1901.

Charles Curtis, the nation's first Native American Vice President, was from the Kaw tribe of Kansas. Hoover's humanitarian and Quaker reputation, along with Curtis as a vice-president, gave special meaning to his Indian policies.

His Quaker upbringing influenced his views that Native Americans needed to achieve economic self-sufficiency. As President, he appointed Charles J. Rhoads as commissioner of Indian affairs. Hoover supported Rhoads' commitment to Indian assimilation and sought to minimize the federal role in Indian affairs. His goal was to have Indians acting as individuals (not as tribes) and to assume the responsibilities of citizenship granted with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.
1932 President Roosevelt eagleFranklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
In August 1921, while the Roosevelts were vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, Roosevelt contracted an illness diagnosed at the time as polio, which resulted in permanent paralysis from the waist down.
For the rest of his life, Roosevelt refused to accept that he was permanently paralyzed, trying a wide range of therapies. After he became President, he helped to found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now known as the March of Dimes). His leadership in this organization is one reason he is commemorated on the American dime.
The only American president elected to more than two terms, FDR forged a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades.

Starting in his "First Hundred Days" in office, which began March 4, 1933, Roosevelt launched major legislation and a profusion of executive orders that gave form to the New Deal − an interlocking set of programs designed to produce relief (government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (of the economy), and reform (through regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation).

New Deal legislation included the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which set up a national relief agency that employed two million family heads. However, even at the height of WPA employment in 1938, unemployment was still 12.5% according to figures from Michael Darby.[62] The Social Security Act, established Social Security and promised economic security for the elderly, the poor and the sick. Senator Robert Wagner wrote the Wagner Act, which officially became the National Labor Relations Act. The act established the federal rights of workers to organize unions, to engage in collective bargaining, and to take part in strikes.
Roosevelt kept his campaign promise to push for repeal of Prohibition. In April 1933, he issued an Executive Order redefining 3.2% alcohol as the maximum allowed. That order was preceded by Congressional action in the drafting and passage of the 21st Amendment, which was ratified later that year.
scandal Roosevelt had affairs outside his marriage, including one with Eleanor's social secretary Lucy Mercer which began soon after she was hired in early 1914.
When Eleanor discovered the affair 1918, she offered Franklin a divorce so that he could be with the woman he loved, but Lucy, being Catholic, could not bring herself to marry a divorced man with five children.

FDR promised never to see Lucy again. However, Franklin broke his promise. He and Lucy began seeing each other again in 1941 − and probably earlier. Lucy was even given the code name "Mrs. Johnson" by the Secret Service. Indeed, Lucy was with FDR on the day he died. Despite this, FDR's affair was not widely known until the 1960s.

1936 consession stand The Randolph-Sheppard Act mandated a priority to blind persons to operate vending facilities on Federal property.
This meant that people with vision problems got chosen over anyone else who applied to run the booths in places like post offices, government buildings, and federal parks. Even though this was a limited opportunity for people with visual disabilities, it was the government's first attempt at affirmative action − special privileges given as compensation and help for people who have been deprived in other ways.

Today's affirmative action laws for minorities are based on ideas first used in the Randolph-Sheppard Act.

1940 white cane The National Federation of the Blind was formed in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania by Jacobus Broek and others. They advocated for white cane laws, input by blind people for programs for blind clients and other reforms.
The American Federation of the Physically Handicapped, founded by Paul Strachan, was the first cross-disability national political organization to urge an end to job discrimination, lobby for passage of legislation, call for a national Employ the Physically Handicapped Week and other initiatives.
1943 sailors with clubs Los Angeles erupts in the Zoot Suit Riots. For 10 nights, American sailors cruise Mexican American neighborhoods in search of "zoot-suiters" − hip, young Mexican teens dressed in baggy pants and long-tailed coats.
The sailors drag kids, some as young as 12 years old, out of movie theaters and cafes, tearing their clothes off and viciously beating them.
NOTE: The public reaction to zoot suits was similar to today's public reaction to sagging. No other youth fashions have caused more negative reaction to a particular ethnic group.
Howard Rusk began a rehabilitation program for disabled airmen at the U.S. Army Air Force Convalescent Center in Pawling, New York.
Dubbed "Rusk's Folly" by the medical establishment, rehabilitation medicine slowly became a new medical specialty.
disabled vets
1945 Branch Rickey, General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, signed Jackie Robinson in October.
After a year in the minor leagues with the Dodgers' top minor-league affiliate, the Montreal Royals of the International League, Robinson was called up to the Dodgers in 1947 - breaking the baseball color line. He endured epithets and death threats and got off to a slow start. However, his athleticism and skill earned him the first ever Rookie of the Year award, which is now named in his honor.
Less well-known was Larry Doby, who signed with the Cleveland Indians that same year to become the American League's first African-American player. Doby, a more low-key figure than Robinson, suffered many of the same indignities as Robinson. Both men were ultimately elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the merits of their play. Due to their success, teams gradually integrated African-Americans on their rosters.
video Jackie Robinson Robinson and Rickey Branch Rickey

Harvard endocrinologist Fuller Albright publishes a report that will come to be known as "Albright's Prophecy."

As part of an analysis of serious menstrual disorders, he writes that preventing ovulation prevents pregnancy − and explores the possibility of "birth control by hormone therapy."
1948 President Truman eagleHarry S. Truman (Democrat) wins the presidential election.

A report by the Truman administration titled To Secure These Rights presented a detailed ten-point agenda of civil rights reforms.

The president submitted a civil rights agenda to Congress that proposed creating several federal offices devoted to issues such as voting rights and fair employment practices. This provoked a storm of criticism from Southern Democrats, but Truman refused to compromise, saying: "My forebears were Confederates. . . . But my very stomach turned over when I had learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks in Mississippi and beaten."
In retirement however, Truman was less progressive on the issue. He described the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches as silly, stating that the marches would not "accomplish a darned thing."
Instead of addressing civil rights on a case by case need, Truman wanted to address civil rights on a national level. Truman made three executive orders that eventually became a structure for future civil rights legislation.
Executive order 9980 made it illegal to discriminate against persons applying for civil service positions based on race.

Executive order 9981 outlawed segregation in the U.S. military. video

The third executive order, in 1951, established the Committee on Government Contract Compliance (CGCC). This committee ensured that defense contractors to the armed forces could not discriminate against a person on account of race.

Tuskegee Airmen
The National Paraplegia Foundation, founded by members of the Paralyzed Veterans of America as the civilian arm of their growing movement, took a leading role in advocating for disability rights.

scandal Rumors spread during Harry Truman's term of office that senior officials had received payments including deep freezers and fur coats in exchange for favors.
The IRS began an investigation of the corruption that led to the resignation or firing of 166 IRS employees, many of whom were also looking at bribery charges from the Department of Justice. The attorney general even fired the special prosecutor for doing his job too well, though Truman in turn fired the attorney general.

Although Truman was largely uninvolved, there was one instance where his wife received a valuable deep freezer from a businessman who was then given priority by a Truman aide to fly to Europe days after World War II ended to buy perfumes for his business.

The scandal tainted Truman, and the aide was eventually tied to a number of gift-for-favor scandals.


1950 − 2010

The Civil Rights Movement
1950 Social Security Amendments established a federal-state program to aid permanently and totally disabled persons.

1951 Pope Pius XII sanctions the rhythm method as a natural form of birth control.
Previously, the only birth control option approved by Rome was abstinence.
In December, Paul Robeson, an American bass-baritone concert singer, and William Patterson, a leader in the Communist Party USA, submit a petition titled, "We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People" to the United Nations.
This book-length petition documents hundreds of lynching cases and a clear pattern of government inaction or actual complicity. It charges that in the 85 years since the end of slavery more than 10,000 Blacks are known to have been lynched.

With the "Red Scare" and the "Cold War" raging, the U.S. government was able to prevent any discussion of the petition by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

When one of the American delegates to the U.N. criticized Patterson for "attacking your government," Patterson replies, "It's your government. It's my country. I am fighting to save my country's democratic principles."
1952 President Eisenhower eagleDwight D. Eisenhower (Republican) wins the presidential election.
Eisenhower was the last U.S. President to be born in the 19th century.

One of Eisenhower's enduring achievements was championing and signing the bill that authorized the Interstate Highway System in 1956. He justified the project through the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 as essential to American security during the Cold War. It was believed that large cities would be targets in a possible future war, and the highways were designed to evacuate them and allow the military to move in.

The French asked Eisenhower for help in French Indochina against the Communists, supplied from China, who were fighting the First Indochina War. In 1953, Eisenhower sent Lt. General John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel to Vietnam to study and "assess" the French forces.

Chief of Staff Matthew Ridgway persuaded the President not to interfere by presenting a comprehensive estimate of the massive military deployment that would be necessary.

However, later in 1954, Eisenhower did offer military and economic aid to the new nation of South Vietnam. In the years that followed, Eisenhower increased the number of U.S. military advisors in South Vietnam to 900 men.

The Eisenhower administration declared racial discrimination a national security issue − meaning that Communists around the world were using racial discrimination in the U.S. as a point of propaganda attack.

scandal During World War II in Europe, Eisenhower allegedly began an affair with his driver, Kay Summersby. He supposedly planned to divorce his wife Mamie and marry Summersby. His superior, General George Marshall, stopped the plan by threatening to bust Eisenhower out of the army.

The rumor stayed mostly under wraps until 1975, when Summersby wrote a controversial book titled "Past Forgetting: My Love Affair with Dwight D. Eisenhower".

1953 Margaret Sanger realizes Katharine McCormick has the money to fund hormone birth control research and brings her to Shrewsbury to meet Gregory Pincus. McCormick writes Pincus a check for a huge sum − $40,000 − with assurances she will provide him with all the additional funding he will need. The "Pill Project" is started.

1954 The Supreme Court declares school segregation unconstitutional in its ruling on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. video
The day after the Court handed down its decision, President Eisenhower told District of Columbia officials to make Washington a model for the rest of the country in integrating Black and White public school children.
However, there would be massive resistance to school integration, especially in the South, for years to come.
School Segregation Banned McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents (1950)

The Florida murder trial of Ruby McCollum forced a public acknowledgement of the attitude of Paramour Rights.

1955 Rosa Parks is jailed for refusing to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
A boycott follows, and the bus segregation ordinance is declared unconstitutional. The Federal Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation on interstate trains and buses.
A DBQ Lesson for "Riding the Bus".
video Rosa Parks on bus Rosa Parks fingerprinting newspaper headline
picketers In response to requests for relief from the hardships caused by the immediate task of desegregation, in "Brown II", the Supreme Court ruled that school integration should procede with "all deliberate speed".
This language allowed states and individual school districts to delay significant integration for years.

The federal government didn't begin to fully enforce public school desegregation until passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

1957 Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus uses the National Guard to block nine black students from attending Little Rock High School.
With Executive Order 10730, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to allow the black students to enter the school.

video The Little Rock Nine video

President Eisenhower proposed to Congress the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 and signed those acts into law.

The 1957 Act for the first time established a permanent Civil Rights Division inside the Justice Department. Although both Acts were weaker than subsequent civil rights legislation, they constituted the first significant civil rights acts since the Civil Rights Act of 1875, signed by President Ulysses S. Grant.
1958 The Lost Year During the summer, the NAACP pursued integration through the courts while Governor Faubus signed a bill into law that allowed him to close any or all schools in any district of the state that was faced with integration, pending a public vote on the issue.
Two weeks later, the citizens of Little Rock voted against immediate integration of the district's schools. As a result, ALL of Little Rock's high schools were closed for the 1958-1959 school year.
This became known as the "Lost Year". Students either attended school in other communities, moved from the state to continue their education, or did not attend school at all.
In May of 1959, three of six Little Rock School Board members voted to terminate the contracts of 44 teachers and administrators who they felt had supported desegregation at Little Rock Central High School.
This prompted the city's leaders to begin a campaign to recall the three segregationist board members. The group that pushed for this was called by the acronym STOP - Stop This Outrageous Purge. In the fall of 1959, the newly-elected Little Rock School Board members and three original moderate ones re-opened desegregated high schools.
1960 President Kennedy eagleJohn F. Kennedy (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
Kennedy is the first and only Catholic president, the first Irish American president, and is the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize.

Events during his administration include the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African American Civil Rights Movement and early stages of the Vietnam War.

The turbulent end of state-sanctioned racial discrimination was one of the most pressing domestic issues of Kennedy's era.
The United States Supreme Court had ruled in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. However, many schools, especially in southern states, did not obey the Supreme Court's judgment.

Segregation on buses, in restaurants, movie theaters, bathrooms, and other public places continued - despite prohibition by the Court.

Kennedy verbally supported racial integration and civil rights. He even telephoned Coretta Scott King, wife of the then jailed Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., to express his support.

John and Robert Kennedy's intervention secured the early release of King from jail.
President Kennedy initially believed the grass roots movement for civil rights would only anger many Southern whites and make it more difficult to pass civil rights laws through Congress, which was dominated by conservative Southern Democrats, and he distanced himself from it.

He also was more concerned with other issues early in his presidency, e.g. the Bay of Pigs Fiasco and Southeast Asias issues.

As articulated by his brother Robert, the political priority was to keep the president out of "this civil rights mess".

As a result, many civil rights leaders viewed Kennedy as unsupportive of their efforts, especially as concerned the Freedom Riders who were repeatedly met with violence by whites, including some law enforcement - both federal and state.

Kennedy assigned federal marshals to protect the Freedom Riders as an alternative to using federal troops or uncooperative FBI agents.

Robert Kennedy, speaking for the president, urged the Freedom Riders to "get off the buses and leave the matter to peaceful settlement in the courts".

On February 1, four black college students begin sit-ins at the lunch counter of a Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth store where black patrons are not served. video
We Cater to White Trade ONLY Greensboro Lunch Counter sit-ins spread sit-ins spread
The Food and Drug Administration approves birth control pills.
Despite FDA approval, not all US states approve the availability of contraceptives to married women.

John Rock tells the national press that the Pill, since it simply extends a woman's "safe period," should be considered an extension of the Vatican-approved rhythm method.

The Pill video
scandal Always a ladies' man, JFK had many of girlfriends before marrying Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953.
After their marriage, he reportedly continued to see other women, supposedly even sneaking them into the White House. (Mafia moll Judith Exner and actress Marilyn Monroe are two of the wilder alleged partners.)

At first a great secret, such rumors have since gotten wide public airing, and even Kennedy's closest aides seem to have stopped denying many of the tales.

1961 The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C. on May 4, and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17.
Boynton v. Virginia had outlawed racial segregation in the restaurants and waiting rooms in terminals serving buses that crossed state lines. The Freedom Riders used various forms of public transportation to challenge local Jim Crow laws or customs that enforced segregation in the South.
The Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the American Civil Rights Movement and called national attention to the violent disregard for the law that was used to enforce segregation in the southern United States.
Freedom Riders burning bus

The public learns that Thalidomide causes horrible birth defects.

The drug has never received FDA approval, but the age of faith in "wonder drugs" appears to be over. In the wake of the Thalidomide tragedy, the FDA will enact stricter regulations for human drug tests.
1962 President Kennedy sends federal marshals to the University of Mississippi to end riots so that James Meredith, the school's first black student, can attend.
video James Meredith (see Timeline 1966)
The Supreme Court rules that segregation is unconstitutional in all public transportation facilities.

The Department of Defense orders complete integration of military reserve units, excluding the National Guard (which are controlled by the States).

Cuban Missile Crisis Prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis video more than 200,000 of Cuba's wealthiest and most affluent professionals fled to the U.S. fearing reprisals from Fidel Castro's communist regime.

Many believed Castro would be overthrown and they would soon be able to return to Cuba.
(see Timeline 1966)

The U.S. embargo against Cuba is STILL in place.

1963 January 4 − Robert F. Kennedy marks the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
Civil rights leader Medgar Evers is killed by a sniper's bullet on June 12.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech to hundreds of thousands at the March on Washington on August 28. video

A church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, leaves four young black girls dead on September 15. (pictures)

Medgar Evers vspace= I have a dream march on washington
four girls killed in Birmingham
stand in the schoolhouse door To stop desegregation of the University of Alabama by the enrollment of black students Vivian Malone and James Hood, Governor George Wallace read this proclamation in front of Foster Auditorium on June 11.video

This came to be called the "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door". After being confronted by federal marshals and the Alabama National Guard, he stood aside.

Congress passes the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job.
Women and Work in Oklahoma.

Business and Professional Women's Clubs in Oklahoma.

rip-off pay

street people President Kennedy called for a reduction "over a number of years and by hundreds of thousands, (in the number) of persons confined" to residential institutions and asked that methods be found "to retain in and return to the community the mentally ill and mentally retarded, and thereto restore and revitalize their lives through better health programs and strengthened educational and rehabilitation services."

This resulted in deinstitutionalization and increased community services.

While other factors were involved, this lead to an increase in the number of street people.

black ribbonPresident Kennedy is assassinated on November 22. (CHS U.S. History Class)

President Kennedy in Dallas Oswald and Ruby
November 24 − Chief Justice Earl Warren eulogizes President Kennedy
1964 President Johnson eagleLyndon B. Johnson (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, completed Kennedy's term and was elected President in his own right.

As President, was responsible for designing the "Great Society" legislation that included laws that upheld civil rights, Public Broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and his "War on Poverty".

voting rights Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, declaring discrimination based on race illegal. video
The 24th Amendment was ratified on January 23 - abolishing the poll tax, which had been established in the South after Reconstruction to make it difficult for poor blacks to vote.

Three civil rights workers, two white and one black man, disappear in Mississippi. They were found buried six weeks later. (see 2005 below)

murdered civil rights workers

George Wallace George Wallace gives a 4th of July speech in which he announces he will run for President of the United States and calls the Civil Rights Movement a "fraud sham, and hoax".

This would mark the beginning of the Long Hot Summers video ending with the Kerner Commission Report in 1968.

Cassius Clay, winner of the boxing gold medal at the 1960 Olympics, joins the Nation of Islam and becomes Muhammad Ali.

His father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr. was a painter and musician − named after "The Lion of White Hall", an emancipationist from Madison County, Kentucky.

Cassius Clay at the 1960 Olympics Ali standing over Liston

In 1967, Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. military based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges, stripped of his boxing title, and his boxing license was suspended. He was not imprisoned, but did not fight again for nearly four years while his appeal worked its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was successful.

1965 Malcolm X is assassinated at Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom on February 21.
Three gunmen rushed the stage and shot him 15 times at close range. video

The assassins, Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson were convicted of first-degree murder in March 1966. All three were members of the Nation of Islam.

Malcom X photo Malcolm X, a longtime minister of the Nation of Islam, had rejected Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s policies of non-violence.

He preached black pride and economic self-reliance for blacks. video

He eventually became a Muslim and broke with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

the shooting
Selma march A march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, is organized to demand protection for voting rights. video

March pictures from Alabama Archives Bloody Sunday - March 7

How Bloody Sunday Changed America

A DBQ Lesson for the Selma to Montgomery March

A new Voting Rights Act, which made it illegal to force would-be voters to pass literacy tests in order to vote, is signed - August 6 video

Watts riot The Watts Riots began on August 11. video video

Tensions in LA began to rise with the arrest of Marquette Frye, an African-American, by Lee Minikus, a white officer of the California Highway patrol. Accused of driving while intoxicated, Marquette (and his brother and mother) were eventually arrested. As a crowd on onlookers gathered at the scene of Frye's arrest, strained tensions between police officers and the crowd erupted in a violent exchange.

This was the tipping point for already strained racial relations and it kicked off 6 days of deadly riots, largely in the Watts neighborhood of southern LA.

The outbreak of violence that followed Frye's arrest immediately touched off a large-scale riot centered in the commercial section of Watts, a deeply impoverished African American neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles.

For several days, rioters overturned and burned automobiles and looted and damaged grocery stores, liquor stores, department stores, and pawnshops.

Watts riot Watts riot' align=

Many of the targets were white shop owners, businesses, and police officers, who had been perceived as taking advantage of the non-white residents of the area.

Meetings held with community leaders the next day failed to ease tensions, and rioting crowds increased their violence.

By the fourth day of unrest, fires had been set all over the city and over 100 fire brigades were working on the blazes. By midnight on the fourth day, over 13,000 national guardsmen were in the city.

During the riots over 1000 building had been burned, looted, damaged, or destroyed, and 400 arrests had been made.

Over 1000 people were injured and 34 died.

Watts riot watts riot

Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta found the United Farm Workers association, in Delano, Calif. - September 8.
The UFW becomes the largest and most important farm worker union in the nation. Huerta becomes the first woman to lead such a union.
Under their leadership, the UFW joins a strike started by Filipino grape pickers in Delano. The Grape Boycott becomes one of the most significant social justice movements for farm workers in the United States.
Cesar Chavez United Farm Workers Union

Medicare and Medicaid were established through passage of the Social Security Amendments of 1965, providing federally subsidized health care to disabled and elderly Americans covered by the Social Security program.

These amendments changed the definition of disability under Social Security Disability Insurance program from "of long continued and indefinite duration" to "expected to last for not less than 12 months."
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down one of the remaining contraception Comstock laws.
On June 7th, Estelle Griswold and Lee Buxton take their Connecticut case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. By a vote of 7-2 in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Court strikes down the Connecticut law prohibiting the use of birth control as a violation of a couple's right to privacy.
1966 The Black Panther Party For Self Defense founded by Robert George "Bobby" Seale and Huey P. Newton.
On June 6, James Meredith (see Timeline 1962) was shot by a sniper shortly after beginning a lone civil rights march from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi − Known as the "March Against Fear". After hospital treatment Meredith rejoined the march on June 25.
Stokely Carmichael Black Panther Party James Meredity shot
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded by a group of feminists including Betty Friedan.
The largest women's rights group in the U.S., NOW seeks to end sexual discrimination, especially in the workplace, by means of legislative lobbying, litigation, and public demonstrations.
National Organization for Women logo
Congress passed the Cuban American Adjustment Act allowing Cubans who lived in the U.S. for at least one year to become permanent residents.
No other immigrant group has been offered this privilege before, or since.
Thurgood Marshall became the first Black to be appointed to the Supreme Court on October 2.
Justice Marshall's Biography and Timeline
Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924 was declaired unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia.
This ruling overturned Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ended all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.
Thurgood Marshall
Detroit race riot The Detroit race riot began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, when the Detroit police raided of an unlicensed, after-hours bar on the city's Near West Side (a predominantly black neighborhood).

Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into five days of chaos that surpassed the violence and property destruction of Detroit's 1943 riot.

The unrest behind the riot.

Massachusetts liberalizes its birth control laws, but still prohibits the sale of birth control to unmarried women.
The NAACP charges that Planned Parenthood clinics, which provide the Pill and other forms of birth control in low income and minority neighborhoods, are devoted to keeping the Black birth rate as low as possible, using birth control as an instrument of racial genocide.
1968 President Nixon eagleRichard Nixon (Republican) wins the presidential election.
His most immediate task was a resolution of the Vietnam War. He initially escalated the conflict, overseeing incursions into neighboring countries, though American military personnel were gradually withdrawn and he successfully negotiated a ceasefire with North Vietnam in 1973, effectively ending American involvement in the war.

He implemented the concept of New Federalism, transferring power from the federal government to the states, new economic policies which called for wage and price control and the abolition of the gold standard, sweeping environmental reforms - including the Clean Air Act and creation of the EPA, the launch of the War on Drugs, reforms empowering women - including Title IX; and the desegregation of schools in the deep South.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee - April 4.
James Earl Ray pleaded guilty of the crime in March 1969 and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
Robert F. Kennedy announces the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis TN


MLK assassination MLK assassination

April 11, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.

Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated on June 5. video

Gold and Bronze medalists sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos display a black-gloved, clenched-fist Black Power protest during their medal awards ceremony in the 1968 Olympics.

Professor Harry Edwards of San Jose State, lead a movement for Black athletes to boycott the Games completely because of the readmission of South Africa to the Olympics Games.

Black-Power at the 1968 Olympics

March 3 - More than 1000 students peacefully walk out of Abraham Lincoln High School in L.A. with Lincoln High Teacher, Sal Castro, joining the group of students, in protest of school conditions.
The student strike known as the East L.A. Blowouts would grow to over 10,000 high school students in several states by the end of the week.
To this day, the event remains the largest student strike at the high school level in the history of the United States.
High School Walkout

The Architectural Barriers Act prohibited architectural barriers in all federally owned or leased buildings. handicap accessible

The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago. Special Olympics
Pope Paul VI reveals his decision on the Pill in an encyclical titled Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life).
To the dismay of Catholics around the world − and ignoring the recommendations of the Papal Commission on Birth Control − the Pope states unequivocally that the Church remains opposed to all forms of birth control except the rhythm method.
Libertarian Party logo The formation of the Libertarian Party was prompted by price controls and the end of the Gold Standard, implemented by President Richard Nixon. The Libertarian Party viewed the dominant Republican and Democratic parties as having diverged from what they viewed as the libertarian principles of the American Founding Fathers.
On May 15, Alabama Govenor George Wallace was shot four times by Arthur Bremer.
Although he survived the shooting, Wallace was paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.
George Wallace in wheelchair

Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sex discrimination in schools.
It states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

As a result of Title IX, the scholarships for women in athletics programs and professional schools increased dramatically.

This lead to an increased opportunities for women in professional sports.

The Women's Tennis Association, formed in 1973 by Billie Jean King (known for the "Battle of the Sexes" - a match against Bobby Riggs), is the principal organizing body of women's professional tennis.

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), founded in 1996, began league play in 1997.

scholarship equality for women

Billy Jean and Bobby

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Eisenstadt v. Baird that a state cannot stand in the way of distribution of birth control to a single person, striking down Massachusetts law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives to unmarried women.

Paralyzed Veterans of America, National Paraplegia Foundation and Richard Heddinger file suit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to incorporate accessibility into their design for a new, multibillion-dollar subway system in Washington, D.C.

Their victory was a landmark in the struggle for accessible public mass transit.
1973 The Wounded Knee Incident began on February 27, when the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota was seized by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM). audio
The occupiers controlled the town for 71 days audio - demanding hearings on the Treaty of Fort Laramie and the removal of corrupt BIA officials - while the US Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies cordoned off the town. Supporters protest in the streets of many U.S cities and public attention keeps the Pentagon from launching a full-scale military offensive.
occupation of Wounded Knee
AIM Incident at Oglala
Free Leonard Peltier
Occupation of Wounded Knee

As a result of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court establishes a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion, overriding the anti-abortion laws of many states.

Newspaper Headline Row v. Wade Pro-Choice


The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was passed − prohibiting discrimination in federal programs and services and all other programs or services receiving federal funds.

Key language in the Rehabilitation Act, found in Section 504, states "No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States, shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
1974 English Language Learners In Lau v. Nichols, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirms a 1970 memorandum, ruling students' access to, or participation in, an educational program cannot be denied because of their inability to speak or understand English.
The lawsuit began as a class action by Chinese-speaking students against the school district in San Francisco, although the decision benefited other immigrant groups, as well.

Congress passes the Equal Educational Opportunity Act to make bilingual education more widely available in public schools.

scandal No political scandal in U.S. history has had more public impact than the Watergate scandal during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon.
I am not a crook Beginning with a break-in at the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. by five members of Nixon's re-election campaign. Although not initially involved, when Nixon found out about the break-in he did everything he could to cover up the scandal. When he was ultimately found out the news shocked the nation and led to a disillusionment with the American political system.
Nixon secretely taped every conversation that took place in the Oval Office. When these recordings was exposed, those related to the break-in and cover-up came to be called the "Watergate tapes". audio
The fact that significant portions of the tapes had been erased before they were confiscated by law enforcement officers only made things worse for Nixon.

President Ford Facing impeachment for his role in the scandal, Nixon resigned his office on August 9.

He was later pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford, for any federal crimes he may have committed.

1975 After non-English speakers testify about the discrimination they face at the polls, Congress votes to expand the U.S. Voting Rights Act to require language assistance at polling stations. bilingual voting
Native Americans, Asian Americans, Alaska Natives and Latinos benefit most from this provision.

The original Act, passed in 1965, applied only to blacks and Puerto Ricans. The Voting Rights Act leads to the increasing political representation of Latinos in U.S. politics.

The Education of All Handicapped Children Act required free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive setting.
This Act was later renamed the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
No Smokiing The state of Minnesota enacted the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, making it the first state to ban smoking in most public spaces.
At first, restaurants were required to have No Smoking sections, and bars were exempt from the Act.

By October 1, 2007, Minnesota had banned smoking in all restaurants and bars statewide with the Freedom to Breathe Act.

In 1990, the city of San Luis Obispo, California, became the first city in the World to ban indoor smoking at all public places, including bars and restaurants.

The success of the ban enacted by the state of California in 1998 encouraged other states, such as New York to implement bans.

A 2007 Gallup poll found that 54% of Americans favored a complete ban inside of restaurants, 34% favored a ban in all hotel rooms, and 29% favored a ban inside of bars.

As of April 2009:

  • California and New York have the strictest public smoking bans in the country.
  • More than 20 cities in California enacted outside smoking bans in parks and beaches.
  • 37 states had some type of public smoking ban.
  • In California, entire cities were smoke-free, which would include every place except residential homes.
  • There was a punitive federal tax on all tobacco products, essentially doubling their cost.
The rationale for smoke-free laws is based on the fact that smoking is optional and breathing is not. Therefore, smoking bans exist to protect breathing people from the effects of second-hand smoke, which include an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and other diseases.

Medical and scientific evidence, without question, proves that smoking is a health hazard. But the same is true for alcohol. Will a backlash develop against anti-smoking legislation, as it did against anti-alcohol legislation? Is this type of legislation a "freedoms" issue? Is it a tolerance issue? Is it a courtesy issue?

Has the success of the anti-smoking movement encouraged the movement against soft drinks because they contribute to obesity? If this ban is successful, what will be banned next?

1976 President Carter eagleJimmy Carter (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
Throughout his career, Carter strongly emphasized human rights.

He took office during a period of international stagflation, which persisted throughout his term. The final year of his presidency was marked by the 1979 Iran hostage crisis video an unsuccessful rescue attempt to free the hostages, and the 1979 energy crisis.

During the Iran hostage crisis, the yellow ribbon was used a symbol of support for the hostages held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. This symbolism began in December 1979, when Penelope Laingen, wife of the most senior foreign service officer being held hostage, tied a yellow ribbon around a tree on the lawn of her Maryland home. (inspired by this 1973 song)
The ribbon primarily symbolized the resolve of the American people to win the hostages' safe release, and it featured prominently in the celebrations of their return home in January 1981.
The popularity of these yellow ribbons marked the beginning of using ribbons (like those in the logo of this Project) to symbolize a cause.
yellow ribbon
Negro History Week becomes Black History Month. video
Black History Month Black History Month

The Supreme Court rules, in a well-known reverse discrimination case (University of California v. Bakke), that medical school admission programs that allow for positions based on race are unconstitutional.
college admissions
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act bans employment discrimination against pregnant women.
Under the Act, a woman cannot be fired or denied a job or a promotion because she is or may become pregnant, nor can she be forced to take a pregnancy leave if she is willing and able to work.
woman and child
1980 President Reagan eagleRonald Reagan (Republican) wins the presidential election.
Reagan began a career as an actor, first in films and later television, appearing in over fifty movie productions.

As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics", advocated controlling the money supply to reduce inflation, and spurring economic growth by reducing tax rates and government regulation of the economy.

During his first term, he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against labor unions, and ordered military actions in Grenada.

His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, such as the ending of the Cold War and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. Publicly describing the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", he supported anti-Communist movements worldwide and spent his first term forgoing the strategy of detente by ordering a massive military buildup in an arms race with the USSR.

Reagan reshaped the Republican party, led the modern conservative movement, and altered the political dynamic of the United States. More men voted Republican under Reagan, and Reagan tapped into religious voters. The so-called "Reagan Democrats" were a result of his presidency.

Mariel boatlift Fidel Castro, reacting to negative worldwide press, announces that anyone who wants to leave Cuba should go to the Peruvian embassy there.
Ten thousand Cubans descend upon the embassy and receive exit visas.

Cuban Americans in Florida organize a fleet of boats to pick up the Cuban exiles at Mariel Harbor. The Mariel Boatlift continues from April through September.

By year end, more than 125,000 "Marielitos" migrate to the United States.

The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act authorized the U.S. Justice Department to file civil suits on behalf of residents of institutions whose rights were being violated. mental institution

1981 An attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan occured on March 30 - just 69 days into his presidency.
Reagan suffered a punctured lung, but prompt medical attention allowed him to recover quickly.
1983 The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday is established - January 21 (Dr. King's birthday).
Dr. King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement.
The campaign for a federal holiday in his honor began soon after his assassination.

President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed in 1986.

NOTE: At first, some states resisted recognizing the holiday, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was not officially observed in all 50 states until 2000. Color prejudice in this country has been slowly reduced during those intervening 17 years.
video Life Magazine MLK Day MLK Day Life Magazine video
1986 On November 6, Congress approves the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), providing legalization for certain undocumented workers, including agricultural workers.
The Act also sets employer sanctions in place, making it illegal for employers to hire undocumented workers.
social security card migrant workers
scandal The Iran-Contra affair came to light in November 1986.
President Ronald Reagan and other senior officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, even though Iran was under a U.S. arms embargo. At least some members of the administration also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras.

The affair began as an operation to improve US-Iranian relations. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to a relatively moderate, politically influential group of Iranians, and then the U.S. would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of six U.S. hostages, who were being held by the Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah, who in turn were unknowingly connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.

The plan deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages.

Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.

While President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of the Contra cause, no conclusive evidence has been found showing that he authorized the diversion of the money raised by the Iranian arms sales to the Contras.

Evidence also indicated the Contras were involved in cocaine trafficking in the U.S.

The political result of the scandal was felt at home and abroad.

1988 President Bush 41 eagleGeorge H. W. Bush (Republican) wins the presidential election.
Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency; military operations were conducted in Panama and the Persian Gulf at a time of world change; the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union dissolved two years later.

The Democratically controlled Congress overrides a presidential veto to pass the Civil Rights Restoration Act.
President Ronald Reagan vetoed the law saying it gave the federal government overreaching powers.

Traveling is a right for all The Air Carrier Access Act was passed prohibiting airlines from refusing to serve people simply because they are disabled, and from charging people with disabilities more for airfare than non-disabled travelers.

In Honig v. Doe, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the "stay-put" rule established under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.

School authorities cannot expel or suspend or otherwise remove disabled children from the setting agreed upon in the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) without a due process hearing.
1990 President George H.W. Bush vetoes a civil rights bill that he says would impose quotas for employers.
A civil rights bill without racial quotas was passed in 1991.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed by George W. Bush.

wheelchair ramp logo The Act provided comprehensive civil rights protection for people with disabilities. Closely modeled after the Civil Rights Act and Section 504, the law was the most sweeping disability rights legislation in history.
It mandated that local, state and federal governments and programs be accessible, that businesses with more than 15 employees make "reasonable accommodations" for disabled workers and that public accommodations such as restaurants and stores make "reasonable modifications" to ensure access for disabled members of the public. The act also mandated access in public transportation, communication, and in other areas of public life.
1991 Rodney Glen King, a black motorest, was brutally beaten by the Los Angeles Police Department on March 3
Footage of the arrest was aired by news agencies around the world, causing public outrage that raised tensions between the Black community and the LAPD and increased anger over police brutality and social inequalities in Los Angeles.

Rodney King video
Four LAPD officers were tried in a state court for the beating, but were acquitted, even though a video of the incident was introduced in court.
Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley said, "the jury's verdict will not blind us to what we saw on that videotape. The men who beat Rodney King do not deserve to wear the uniform of the LAPD.
scandal Toward the end of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, allegations by Anita Hill, a law school professor who had previously worked with Thomas, were leaked to the media from a confidential FBI report.
The allegations led to a media frenzy and further investigations. Televised hearings were re-opened and held by the Senate Judiciary Committee before the nomination was moved to the full Senate for a vote. Through all the testimony and debate, this turned into a classic case of "She said, He said".

The controversy increased national awareness about sexual harrassment in the workplace.

1992 President Clinton eagleBill Clinton (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
Clinton has been described as a New Democrat. Some of his policies, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and welfare reform, have been attributed to a centrist philosophy of governance, while on other issues his stance was left of center.

Clinton presided over the continuation of the longest period of peace-time economic expansion in American history. The Congressional Budget Office reported a budget surplus in 2000, the last full year of Clinton's presidency.

An assassination attempt was foiled on a Clinton trip to Manila, when secret service officers intercepted a message suggesting that an attack was imminent. Hiw motorcade was re-routed and the US agents later discovered a bomb planted under a bridge on the motorcade's original route. The report said the subsequent U.S. investigation into the plot "revealed that it was masterminded by a Saudi terrorist living in Afghanistan named Osama bin Laden".

scandal President Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the Paula Jones lawsuit. This made him only the second U.S. president to be impeached − the first was Andrew Johnson. Clinton was subsequently acquitted by the U.S. Senate.
Throughout his career, Clinton has been subject to various allegations of sexual misconduct, though only his extramarital sexual relationships with Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers have been admitted by him.
In 2000 the Arkansas Supreme Court's Committee on Professional Conduct called for Clinton's disbarment, saying he lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
In January 2001 Clinton reached an agreement under which he was ordered to pay $25,000 in fines to Arkansas state's bar officials and his Arkansas law license was suspended for five years. The agreement came on the condition that Whitewater prosecutors would not pursue federal perjury charges against him. Clinton was suspended by the Supreme Court in October 2001, and, facing disbarment, Clinton resigned from the Arkansas Supreme Court bar in November.

The announcement of the acquittals in the Rodney King Case sparked the April 29 Los Angeles riots.
58 people died and thousands were injured during the hours of chaos. Because his attack was seen live on TV, Reginald Denny became the most widely known victim.
LA riot Reginald Denny
A 1993 federal trial for violations of Rodney King's civil rights ended with two of the officers found guilty and sent to prison and the other two officers acquitted.
Constitution Party logo The Constitution Party's goal as stated in its own words is "to restore our government to its Constitutional limits and our law to its Biblical foundations."

1995 We The People The Supreme Court rules that federal programs using race as a category for hiring must have "compelling government interest" to do so.
The Supreme Court ruled that the consideration of race in creating congressional districts is unconstitutional.
2000 President Bush 43 eagleGeorge W. Bush (Republican) wins the presidential election.
Bush promoted policies on the economy, health care, education, and social security reform. He signed into law broad tax cuts, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. His tenure saw national debates on immigration and Social Security.
2001 911 attacks
Eight months after President Bush took office, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred.
In response, Bush announced a global War on Terrorism, ordered the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Green Party logo The Green Party is a voluntary association of state parties. The party emphasizes environmentalism, non-hierarchical, participatory democracy, social justice, respect for diversity, peace and nonviolence.
2005 Edgar Ray Killen, the leader of the Mississippi murders (1964), is convicted of manslaughter on the 41st anniversary of the crimes.
Edgar Ray Killen bodies discovered burned car
2008 President Obama eagleBarack Obama (Democrat) wins the presidential election.
The 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary saw the first Black man and the first Woman trying to win the nomination.

President Obama is the first African American to hold the office.

As president, Obama signed economic stimulus legislation in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009.

Other domestic policy initiatives include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a major piece of health care reform legislation which he signed into law in March 2010, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, forming part of his financial regulatory reform efforts, which he signed in July 2010.

Tea Party logo The Tea Party Movement is a populist political movement that emerged through a series of locally and nationally-coordinated protests. The protests were in response to several Federal laws: the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and a series of health care reform bills.
On October 8, President Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
2010 U.S. Border Patrol Arizona passed the nation's toughest bill on illegal immigration.
Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants.
The law would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

Arizona's controversial law gives local authorities the power to enforce federal immigration laws.

Arizona poster political opinions fix our broken immigration system now






Pre-17th century

(Information in this section primarily taken from Slavery in Colonial United States.)


[edit] 17th century







[edit] 18th century









1776–1783 American Revolution





1790–1810 Manumission of slaves




[edit] 19th century

[edit] 1800–1859

Early 19th century



























First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation –

 Lincoln edit] 1860–1874



1863–1877 Reconstruction












[edit] 1875–1899


















[edit] 20th century

[edit] 1900–1924






















[edit] 1925–1949










Jesse Owens wins gold medals in front of Hitler.





1940s to 1970






1945–1975 Second Reconstruction/American Civil Rights Movement





[edit] 1950–1959

For more detail during this period, see Freedom Riders website chronology







Rosa Parks pictured in 1955





[edit] 1960–1969

For more detail during this period, see Freedom Riders website chronology











[edit] 1970–2000


























[edit] 21st century








2011 January 14 - Michael Steele, the first African-American Chairman of the RNC lost his bid for re-election; Reince Priebus was the winner of the election.

[edit] See also

[edit] Other books

[edit] Government

[edit] Other people

[edit] Authors and artists

[edit] Athletes

[edit] Performers

[edit] Activists and organizers

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ http://international.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/awlaw3/slavery.html
  2. ^ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/experience/responses/spotlight.html
  3. ^ "The American Revolution and Slavery", Digital History accessed 5 March 2008
  4. ^ Peter Kolchin, American Slavery: 1619–1877, New York: Hill and Wang, pp.78 and 81
  5. ^ PBS documentary
  6. ^ The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself: Electronic Edition. [1] page58
  7. ^ Wormley, G. Smith."Prudence Crandall", The Journal of Negro History Vol. 8, No. 1, Jan. 1923.
  8. ^ "Connecticut's "Black Law" (1833)". Citizens All (project). Yale University. http://www.yale.edu/glc/citizens/stories/module4/documents/black_law.html. Retrieved 2012-03-19. "Lacking no legal means to prevent Prudence Crandall from opening her school, Andrew Judson, a local politician, pushed legislation through the Connecticut Assembly outlawing the establishment of schools 'for the instruction of colored persons belonging to other states and countries.'"
  9. ^ "Morehouse Legacy". www.morehouse.edu. Morehouse College. http://www.morehouse.edu/about/legacy.html. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  10. ^ John C. Willis, Forgotten Time: The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta after the Civil War, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2000
  11. ^ James D.Anderson, Black Education in the South, 1860–1935, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1988, pp.244–245
  12. ^ Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 41. ISBN 0-465-04195-7.
  13. ^ Wolgemuth, Kathleen L. (April 1959). "Woodrow Wilson and Federal Segregation". The Journal of Negro History (Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, Inc.) 44 (2): 158–173. DOI:10.2307/2716036. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2716036?seq=1.
  14. ^ Blumenthal, Henry (January 1963). "Woodrow Wilson and the Race Question". The Journal of Negro History (Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, Inc.) 48 (1): 1–21. DOI:10.2307/2716642. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2716642?seq=1.
  15. ^ Angela Y. Davis,Women, Race & Class. New York: Vintage Books, 1983, pp.194–195
  16. ^ "America's First Sit-Down Strike: The 1939 Alexandria Library Sit-In". City of Alexandria. http://oha.alexandriava.gov/bhrc/lessons/bh-lesson2_reading2.html. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  17. ^ "DIVINE'S FOLLOWERS GIVE AID TO STRIKERS; With Evangelist's Sanction They 'Sit Down' in Restaurant". New York Times (US). 1939-09-23. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0A17FA3B54107A93C1AB1782D85F4D8385F9. Retrieved 2010-07-20. "[The workers] are seeking wage increases, shorter hours, a closed shop and cessation of what they charge has been racial discrimination."
  18. ^ Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944)
  19. ^ Morgan v. Virginia, 1946
  20. ^ David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009, pp.154-55.
  21. ^ The Virginia Center for Digital History
  22. ^ Clayborne Carson (1998). The autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Grand Central Publishing. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-446-52412-4. http://books.google.com/?id=GvuO5Yr1W_sC&pg=PA141&q.
  23. ^ a b c d The King Center, The Chronology of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. "1961". Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071013062550/http://www.thekingcenter.org/mlk/chronology.html. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
  24. ^ Arsenault, Raymond (2006). Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. Oxford Univ. Press. p. 439. ISBN 0-19-513674-8.
  25. ^ a b c d Branch, Taylor (1988). Parting the Waters: America in the King Years. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. pp. 527–530. ISBN 978-0-671-68742-7.
  26. ^ Branch, pp.533–535
  27. ^ Branch, pp. 555–556
  28. ^ Branch, pp. 756–765
  29. ^ Branch, pp. 786–791
  30. ^ UNITED STATES of America and Interstate Commerce Commission v. The CITY OF JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, Allen Thompson, Douglas L. Lucky and Thomas B. Marshall, Commissioners of the City of Jackson, and W.D. Rayfield, Chief of Police of the City of Jackson, United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit, May 13, 1963.
  31. ^ Medgar Evers.
  32. ^ Proposed Civil Rights Act.
  33. ^ March on Washington.
  34. ^ a b Loevy, Robert. "A Brief History of the Civil Rights Act of 1964". http://faculty1.coloradocollege.edu/~bloevy/CivilRightsActOf1964. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
  35. ^ a b Civil Rights Act of 1964
  36. ^ Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
  37. ^ a b c Gavin, Philip. "The History PlaceTM, Great Speeches Collection, Lyndon B. Johnson, "We Shall Overcome"". http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/johnson.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
  38. ^ When Harry Met Petula
  39. ^ James Ralph, Northern Protest: Martin Luther King, Jr., Chicago, and the Civil Rights Movement (1993) Harvard University Press ISBN 0-674-62687-7
  40. ^ Patrick D. Jones (2009). The Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee. Harvard University Press. pp. 1–6, 169ff. ISBN 978-0-674-03135-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=Wk2NylFxF4sC&pg=PA1.
  41. ^ http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/fall/channels-2.html
  42. ^ Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983)
  43. ^ CNN: Bob Jones University ends ban on interracial dating
  44. ^ CNN: Obama: I will be the Democratic nominee

[edit] External links

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2011 INDEX
INDEX - 2012
INDEX 2012