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Ralph Ellison Fact Sheet

10% of U.S. citizens are black.

1900 National Negro Business league founded to promote Negro business.

1901 President Theodore Roosevelt dines at White House with Booker T. Washington, generating bitter Southern comment.

1902 Thomas Dixon, the Leopards’ Spots, generally conceded to be the most extreme of racist novels.

Chinese Exclusion Act broadened to prevent Chinese from entering U.S. from island territories.

1903 W.E.B. Du Bois, the Souls of Black Folk.

1905 In Pacific war, Russia is defeated by Japan. U.S. mediates peace treaty giving certain ports to Japan, making Korea a Japanese protectorate, and freeing Chinese Manchuria of both Russian and Japanese occupation.

1906 Race riots break out in Springfield, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Brownsville, Texas.

1907 NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) formed.

Roosevelt orders exclusion of all Japanese laborers coming from Mexico, Canada, or Hawaii.

1908 Race riots in Springfield, Illinois.

1911 NAACP campaign to arouse public opinion against lynching is begun.

1914 World War 1 breaks out. Mamie Smith makes first blues recording.

1915 D.W Griffith, Birth of a Nation released.

1916 Great migration of Southern Blacks to Northern industrial centres underway; peaks in 1919.

1917 Race riots in East St Louis.

U.S. enters World War 1. Blackamericans inducted into military service encounter discrimination; allowed to serve as menials in Navy; rejected by Air Force; overseas segregation.

Closing of Red Light district in New Orleans increases the migration to Northern cities of blues singers and jazz musicians; the new music becomes popular all over the U.S. and parts of Europe, notably Paris.

1919 Race riots in Chicago and Washington.

Ku Klux Klan reactivated: over 200 appearances in 27 states. Seventy Blackamericans lynched, among them returning soldiers still in uniform. Twenty-five race riots in North and South.

First large all-Black musicians band plays Broadway.

1921 Race riots in Tulsa.

Harlem Renaissance begins as a response to renewed interest in Afro-American culture by Whites. Broadway musicals such as Shuffle Along are great successes. James Weldon Johnson publishes The Book of American Negro Poetry; Benjamin Brawley, A Social History of the American Negro.

1922 Marcus Garvey’s “The Universal Negro Improvement Association,” urging Negroes to return to Africa.

1923 Opportunities: Journal of Negro Life begins publication, supplying a place where Blackamerican writers may publish.

Jean Toomer, Cane.

1925 Garvey imprisoned for fraud.

Carl Van Vechten, Nigger Heaven — the most popular novel depicting Harlem life by a white man; generated many imitations and refutations.

40,000 Ku Klux Klan members parade in Washington.

1926 Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues.

1,000,000 acres in Liberia leased to Firestone Rubber Company.

1927 First sound film, The Jazz Singer, released.

1929 U.S. stock market crash, part of worldwide finacial crisis; worst depression begins.

1930 Wali Farad founds Black Muslim movement in Detroit.

1931 Japan marches into Manchuria; in 1932 attacks Shanghai.

1933 Japan resigns from League of Nations.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt inaugurated president of U.S.

1934 Elijah Muhammad takes leadership of Black Muslim movement, establishing headquarters in Chicago.

1935 Harlem Race riots.

Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess — a musical depicting Blackamerican life in Catfish Row by white musicians and lyricist, taken from a play by white writers. The production ahs travelled all over the world meeting with acclaim everywhere; never accepted by Black community as authentic.

1937 Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God.

1938 Richard Wright, Uncle Tom’s Children.

1940 Roosevelt begins projects for national defense.

Racial violence develops in Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and in the South.

Richard Wright, Native Son.

1941 Executive order bans discrimination in defence industries and government.

Japanese attack Pearl harbour. U.S. entry into World War 2.

1945 U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tokyo has been bombed with munitions from Kaiser steel plant, LA. Surrender of Japanese.

United Nations established.

1946 Postwar growth of Black population in Northern cities — 4 million in 1940; 9 million in 1960.

1948 Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, grandson of slave, sent to Palestine to mediate Israeli-Arab dispute as member of United Nations Commission.

Truman appoints committee to report on integration in the armed sevices. During Korean War (1950-51) 30% of forces in Korea are integrated.

Jewish settlers in Palestine proclaim independent state of Israel as voted by United Nations. Arabs resist.

1949 Victory of Communists in China under Mao Tse-Tung decisively alters nation and ends direct Western influence.

1950 Korean War. United Nations forces confront Chinese Communists. Programme to aid Navajo and Hopi Indians authorized by Congress.

1952 Egyptian monarchy overthrown by army coup under Colonel Nasser.

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man.

1953 James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain.

1954 French defeated in Indo-China (Vietnam), which is divided into North and South when the French leave. Cambodia and Laos also independent of France.

Supreme Court decision to outlaw segregation in all public schools in the U.S. nullifying the doctrine of “separate by equal” as an inherent contradiction.

1957 Congress passes Civil Rights Act; creates Civil Rights Commission authorizing Department of Justice to institute proceedings against person conspiring to deprive citizens of their rights; (enlarged in 1960).

President Eisenhower sends Federal troops to protect Blackamerican students seeking to enter school in Little Rock, Arkansas.