List of African-American firsts: Wikis

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African Americans are a demographic minority in the United States. The first achievements by African Americans in various fields historically establish a foothold, providing a precedent for more widespread cultural change. The shorthand phrase for this is "breaking the color barrier."[1][2]

One commonly cited example is that of Jackie Robinson, who was the first African American of the modern era to become a Major League Baseball player, ending 60 years of segregated leagues. Segregated Negro Leagues had been established for decades, featuring many talented athletes.[3]

Contents

18th century
19th century: 1820s1830s1840s1850s1860s1870s1880s1890s
20th century: 1900s1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s
21st century
See also
References

18th century

  • 1760
First known African-American published author: Jupiter Hammon (poem "An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries", published as a broadside)
  • 1770s
Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, popularly known as "The Father of Chicago", was the first known settler in the area which is now Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1773
First known African-American woman to publish a book: Phillis Wheatley (Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral)
First separate African American church: Silver Bluff Baptist Church, Aiken County, South Carolina[4][5]
  • 1774
First African-American Baptist congregation: First Baptist Church, Petersburg, Virginia
  • 1777
First known African-American church congregation: the First Colored Baptist Church, renamed First African Baptist Church, Savannah, Georgia. This claim is contested by the First Baptist Church, Petersburg, Virginia (1774) and historians of the Silver Bluff Baptist Church (1773-1775) of Aiken County, South Carolina[4]
  • 1778
First African-American U.S. military regiment: the 1st Rhode Island Regiment
  • 1783
First African American to formally practice medicine in the U.S.: James Derham, who did not hold an M.D. degree (See also: 1847)
  • 1792
First major African-American Back-to-Africa movement: 1,200 slaves who escaped to settle in Settler Town, Sierra Leone.
  • 1793
First African Methodist Episcopal Church established: Richard Allen founded Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1794
First African Episcopal Church established: Absalom Jones founded African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

19th century

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1800s

  • 1804
First African American ordained as an Episcopal priest in the United States: Absalom Jones in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 1807
First African Presbyterian Church opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1810s

  • 1816
First fully independent African-American denomination established: Richard Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was elected bishop. Several black congregations withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church and created their own denomination.

1820s

  • 1821
First African American to hold a patent: Thomas L. Jennings, for the "dry scouring" cleaning process
  • 1823
First African American to receive a degree from an American college: Alexander Twilight, Middlebury College (See also: 1836)
  • 1827
First African-American owned-and-operated newspaper: Freedom's Journal

1830s

  • 1836
First African American elected to public office and to serve in a state legislature: Alexander Twilight, Vermont (See also: 1823)
  • 1837
First African-American doctor: Dr. James McCune Smith from the University of Glasgow, Scotland (See also: 1783, 1847)

1840s

  • 1845
First African American licensed to practice law in the United States: Macon Allen from the Boston bar [6]
  • 1847
First African American to graduate from a U.S. medical school: Dr. David J. Peck[7] (Rush Medical College) (See also: 1783, 1837)
First independent African-American nation and first African-American president of any nation: Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Liberia
  • 1849
First African-American college professor: Charles L. Reason, New York Central College

1850s

  • 1851
First African-American member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Patrick Francis Healy. (See also 1866, 1874)
  • 1853
First novel written by an African American: Clotel; or, The President's Daughter, by William Wells Brown.[8][9][10]
  • 1854
First African-American Roman Catholic priest: James Augustine Healy. (see 1875 and 1886)
First institute of higher learning created to educate African Americans: Ashmun Institute in Pennsylvania, renamed Lincoln University in 1866.
  • 1858
First published play by an African American: The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom by William Wells Brown
First African-American female college professor: Sarah Jane Woodson Early, Wilberforce College

1860s

  • 1861
First North American military unit with African-American officers: 1st Louisiana Native Guard of the Confederate Army
First African-American US federal government civil servant: William Cooper Nell
  • 1862
First African-American woman to earn a B.A.: Mary Jane Patterson, Oberlin College[11]
  • 1863
First college owned and operated by African Americans: Wilberforce College, Ohio
First African-American college president: Bishop Daniel Payne, Wilberforce College
First recognized U.S. Army African American combat unit, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers
  • 1865
First African-American field officer in the U.S. Army: Martin Delany
First African-American attorney admitted to the bar of the US Supreme Court: John Swett Rock
  • 1866
First African-American to earn a Ph.D.: Father Patrick Francis Healy, S.J. (from University of Louvain, Belgium). (see also 1851, 1874)
First African-American woman enlistee in the U.S. Army: Cathay Williams
  • 1868
First elected African-American lieutenant governor: Oscar Dunn (Louisiana)
  • 1869
First African-American US diplomat: Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett, minister to Haiti

1870s

  • 1870
First African American to vote in an election under the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting voting rights regardless of race: Thomas Mundy Peterson[12]
January: First African American elected to either chamber of the U.S. Congress: Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels (R-Miss.)[13]
December: First African American elected to U.S. House of Representatives: Joseph Rainey (R-S.C.)[14]
  • 1872
First African-American governor (non-elected): P. B. S. Pinchback of Louisiana (See also: Douglas Wilder, 1990)
First African-American nominee for Vice President of the United States: Frederick Douglass by the Equal Rights Party.[15]
  • 1874
First African-American president of a college/university: Father Patrick Francis Healy, S.J. of Georgetown College. (See also: 1851, 1866)
  • 1875
First African-American Roman Catholic bishop: Bishop James Augustine Healy, of Portland, Maine. (See also: 1854)
  • 1876
First African American to earn a doctorate degree from an American university: Edward Alexander Bouchet (Yale College Ph.D., physics; also first African American to graduate from Yale, 1874) (See also: 1866)
  • 1877
First African-American graduate of West Point and first African-American commissioned officer in the US military: Henry Ossian Flipper.
  • 1879
First African American to graduate from a formal nursing school: Mary Eliza Mahoney, Boston, Massachusetts

1880s

  • 1880
First African-American in command of a U.S. ship: Michael Healy.
  • 1881
First African American whose signature appeared on US paper currency: Blanche K. Bruce, Registrar of the Treasury.
  • 1884
First African American to play professional baseball at the major-league level: Moses Fleetwood Walker. (See also: Jackie Robinson, 1947)
  • 1885
First African-American woman to hold a patent: Sarah E. Goode, for the cabinet bed, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1886
First African-American Roman Catholic priest publicly known at the time to be African-American: Augustine Tolton, Quincy and Chicago, Illinois (See also: 1854)

1890s

  • 1891
First African-American police officer in present-day New York City: Wiley Overton, hired by the Brooklyn Police Department prior to 1898 incorporation of the five boroughs into the City of New York.[16] (See also: Samuel J. Battle, 1911)
  • 1892
First African American to sing at Carnegie Hall: Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones
First African American named to a College Football All-America Team: William H. Lewis, Harvard University
  • 1895
First African American to earn a doctorate degree (Ph.D.) from Harvard University: W.E.B. Du Bois
  • 1896
First African American appointed to serve as U.S. Army Paymaster: Richard R. Wright

20th century

1900s

  • 1901
First African American invited to dine at the White House: Booker T. Washington
  • 1902
First African-American professional basketball player: Harry Lew (New England Professional Basketball League) (See also: 1950)
  • 1903
First Broadway musical written by African Americans, and the first to star African Americans: In Dahomey
First African-American woman to found and become president of a bank: Maggie L. Walker, St. Luke Penny Savings Bank (since 1930 the Consolidated Bank & Trust Company), Richmond, Virginia
  • 1904
First Greek-letter fraternal organization established by African Americans: Sigma Pi Phi
First African American to participate in the Olympic Games, and first to win a medal: George Poage (two bronze medals)
  • 1906
First intercollegiate Greek-letter organization established by African Americans: Alpha Phi Alpha (ΑΦΑ), at Cornell University
  • 1907
First African-American Greek Orthodox priest and missionary in America: Very Rev. Fr. Raphael Morgan (Robert Josias Morgan), "Priest-Apostolic" to America and the West Indies.
  • 1908
First African-American heavyweight boxing champion: Jack Johnson
First African-American Olympic gold medal winner: John Taylor (track and field medley relay team). (See also: William DeHart Hubbard, 1924)
First intercollegiate Greek-letter sorority established by African Americans: Alpha Kappa Alpha (ΑKΑ)
  • 1909
First African-American scholar to address the American Historical Association: W.E.B. Du Bois

1910s

  • 1910
First African-American millionaire: Madam C. J. Walker
  • 1911
First intercollegiate Greek-letter organization established by African Americans in the Midwest: Kappa Alpha Psi (ΚΑΨ), at Indiana University, Bloomington
First African-American police officer in New York City: Samuel J. Battle, following the 1898 incorporation of the five boroughs into the City of New York, and the hiring of three African American officers in the Brooklyn Police Department. Battle was also the NYPD's first African American sergeant (1926), lieutenant (1935), and parole commissioner (1941).[16] (See also: Wiley Overton, 1891)
  • 1915
First African-American alderman of Chicago: Oscar Stanton De Priest
  • 1916
First African-American football player to play in a Rose Bowl game: Fritz Pollard, Brown University
First African-American female to be a police officer in Los Angeles, seven years after LAPD hired the first female officer in the country: Georgia Robinson[17][18]
  • 1917
First African-American police officer killed in the line of duty: Robert H. Holmes in New York City
First African-American woman to win a major sports title: Lucy Diggs Slowe, American Tennis Association

1920s

  • 1920
First African-American NFL football players: Fritz Pollard (Akron Pros) and Bobby Marshall (Rock Island Independents)
First African-American bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church: Robert Elijah Jones and Matthew Wesley Clair.
  • 1921
First African-American woman to become a pilot, first American to hold an international pilot license: Bessie Coleman
First African-American NFL football coach: Fritz Pollard, co-head coach, Akron Pros, while continuing to play running back
First African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in the U.S.: Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, Ph.D. in Economics from University of Pennsylvania
  • 1924
First African American to win individual Olympic gold medal: William DeHart Hubbard (Long jump, 1924 Summer Olympics, Paris). (See also: John Taylor, 1908)
  • 1925
First African-American Foreign Service Officer: Clifton R. Wharton, Sr.
  • 1926
First African-American woman to receive a degree (Ph.D.) from Yale University: Otelia Cromwell, who had previously been the first African-American graduate of Smith College.
  • 1927
First African American to star in an international motion picture: Josephine Baker in La Sirène des tropiques.[19]
  • 1928
First post-Reconstruction African American elected to U.S. House of Representatives: Oscar Stanton De Priest (Republican; Illinois)
  • 1929
First African-American sportscaster: Sherman Maxwell, WNJR, Newark, New Jersey.[20]

1930s

  • 1930
First African American to star on an integrated state championship basketball team: David DeJernett (Washington [Indiana] High School)[21]
  • 1932
First African American on a presidential ticket in the 20th century: James W. Ford (Communist Party USA, as vice-presidential candidate running with William Z. Foster)
  • 1934
First African American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat: Arthur W. Mitchell (Illinois)
  • 1935
First known interracial jazz group: Benny Goodman Trio (Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa)[22]
First known interracial professional barnstorming basketball team (Big Dave DeJernett's ICC AllStars)
  • 1936
First African American to conduct a major U.S. orchestra: William Grant Still (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  • 1937
First African-American federal magistrate: William H. Hastie (later the first African-American governor of the United States Virgin Islands)
  • 1939
First African-American network radio host: Hal Jackson, WINX-Washington, D.C.

1940s

  • 1940
First African American to win an Academy Award: Hattie McDaniel (Best Supporting Actress, Gone with the Wind, 1939)
First African American to be portrayed on a US postage stamp: Booker T. Washington
First African-American U.S. Army brigadier general: Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.
  • 1941
First African American to give a White House Command Performance: Josh White
  • 1942
First African American to be awarded the Navy Cross: Doris Miller
  • 1943
First African American artists to have a #1 hit on the Billboard charts: Mills Brothers ("Paper Doll"), topped "Best Sellers in Stores" chart on November 6 (See also: Tommy Edwards, 1958; The Platters, 1959)
  • 1944
First African-American commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy: The "Golden Thirteen"
First African American commissioned as a U.S. Navy officer from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps: Samuel Gravely. Gravely was also the first African American to command a U.S. Navy warship (1962), and the first promoted to the rank of admiral (1971).
First African American to co-pastor with a white minister at the first interracial church: Dr. Howard Thurman with Dr. Alfred Fisk, Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, San Francisco
  • 1945
First African-American member of the New York City Opera: Todd Duncan
First African-American U.S. Marine Corps officer: Frederick C. Branch
  • 1946
First novel by an African-American woman to sell a million copies published: The Street
  • 1947
First African-American Major League Baseball player of the modern era: Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers). (See also: Moses Fleetwood Walker, 1884)
First African-American consensus college All-American basketball player: Don Barksdale
First African American artist to receive sole credit for a #1 hit on the Billboard charts: Count Basie ("Open the Door, Richard"), topped "Best Sellers in Stores" chart on February 22 (See also: Mills Brothers, 1943; Nat King Cole, 1950; Tommy Edwards, 1958; The Platters, 1959)
  • 1948
First African-American man to receive an Academy Award: James Baskett (Honorary Academy Award for his portrayal of "Uncle Remus" in Song of the South, 1946) (See also: Sidney Poitier, 1964)
First African-American U.S. Navy aviator: Jesse L. Brown
First African-American composer to have an opera performed by a major U.S. company: William Grant Still (Troubled Island, New York City Opera)
First African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal: Alice Coachman
First African American on an Olympic basketball team and first African American Olympic gold medal basketball winner: Don Barksdale, in the 1948 Summer Olympics
First African American to design and construct a professional golf course: Bill Powell
  • 1949
First African-American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy: Wesley Brown
First African American to hold rank of Ambassador of the United States: Edward R. Dudley, ambassador, and previously minister, to Liberia (See also: 1869)
First African American to win an MVP award in Major League Baseball: Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers, National League) (See also: Elston Howard, 1963)

1950s

  • 1950
First African American to win Pulitzer Prize: Gwendolyn Brooks (Book of poetry, Annie Allen, 1949)
First African American to win Nobel Peace Prize: Ralph Bunche
First individual African American as subject on the cover of Life magazine: Jackie Robinson, May 8, 1950
First African-American NBA basketball players: Earl Lloyd (Washington Capitols), Chuck Cooper (Boston Celtics), and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton (New York Knicks)[23] (See also: 1902)
First African American star of a network television sitcom: Ethel Waters, Beulah
First African-American woman to compete on the world tennis tour: Althea Gibson
First African American solo singer to have a #1 hit on the Billboard charts: Nat King Cole ("Mona Lisa"), topped "Best Sellers in Stores" chart on July 15 (See also: Mills Brothers, 1943; Count Basie, 1947; Tommy Edwards, 1958; The Platters, 1959)
First African American nominated for a Golden Globe Award: Juano Hernández (Most Promising Newcomer - Male, Intruder in the Dust)[citation needed]
  • 1951
First African American named to the College Football Hall of Fame: Duke Slater, University of Iowa (1918–1921)
  • 1952
First African-American woman elected to a United States state senate: Cora Brown, Democrat (Michigan)
First African-American U.S. Marine Corps aviator: Frank E. Petersen
First African-American woman to be nominated for a national political office: Charlotta Bass, Vice President (Progressive Party) (See also: 2000)
  • 1953
First African-American basketball player to play in the NBA All-Star Game: Don Barksdale in the 1953 NBA All-Star Game
First African American named as Dean of chapel at a majority white university: Howard Thurman at Marsh Chapel, Boston University
  • 1954
First African-American US Navy Master Diver: Carl Brashear
First African-American woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress: Dorothy Dandridge (Carmen Jones, 1954). (At that time, nominations were announced in November of the year of release, instead of early the following year.)
First individual African-American woman as subject on the cover of Life magazine: Dorothy Dandridge, November 1, 1954
  • 1955
First African-American member of the Metropolitan Opera: Marian Anderson
First African-American male dancer in a major ballet company: Arthur Mitchell (New York City Ballet; also first African-American principal dancer of a major ballet company (NYCB), 1956.[24] (See also: 1969)
First African-American singer to appear in a telecast opera: Leontyne Price in NBC's production of Tosca
  • 1956
First African American male star of a network television show: Nat King Cole, The Nat King Cole Show
First African American Wimbledon tennis champion: Althea Gibson (doubles, with Englishwoman Angela Buxton); also first African American to win a Grand Slam event (French Open). (See also: Arthur Ashe, 1968; Serena Williams, 2003)
First African American to win the Cy Young Award as the top pitcher in Major League Baseball, in the award's inaugural year: Don Newcombe (Brooklyn Dodgers)
  • 1957
First African American assistant coach in the NFL: Lowell W. Perry (See also: 1966)
First African American to win the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival: John Kitzmiller (Dolina Miru)
First African American to win Major League Baseball's Gold Glove, in the award's inaugural year: Willie Mays (New York Giants)[25]
  • 1958
First African American to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Tommy Edwards ("It's All in the Game"), September 29 (See also: The Platters, 1959)
First African American flight attendant: Ruth Carol Taylor (Mohawk Airlines)[26]
  • 1959
First African-American Grammy Award winners, in the award's inaugural year: Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie (two awards each)[27]
First African American television journalist: Louis Lomax
First African American group to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The Platters ("Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"), January 19 (See also: Tommy Edwards, 1958)
First African American to win a major national player of the year award in college basketball: Oscar Robertson, USBWA Player of the Year[28] (in that award's inaugural year)

1960s

  • 1960
First African-American US presidential candidate: Rev. Clennon King, on the Independent Afro-American party
  • 1961
First African American to win the Heisman Trophy: Ernie Davis
  • 1962
First African American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Jackie Robinson (See also: Satchel Paige, 1971)
First African-American coach in Major League Baseball: John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil (Chicago Cubs)
First African-American male professional wrestler to win a world heavyweight championship: Bobo Brazil (NWA)
First African American composer nominated for an Academy Award: Duke Ellington (Best Music, Scoring of a Motion Picture, Paris Blues)[citation needed]
  • 1963
First African-American bank examiner for the United States Department of the Treasury: Roland Burris
First African American named as Time magazine's Man of the Year: Martin Luther King, Jr. [29]
First African-American police officer of the NYPD to be named a precinct commander: Lloyd Sealy, commander of the NYPD's 28th precinct in Harlem.[30]
First African American to be named American League MVP: Elston Howard (New York Yankees) (See also: Jackie Robinson, 1949)
First African-American chess master: Walter Harris[31][32]
First African American to appear as a series regular on a prime time dramatic television series: Cicely Tyson, "East Side/West Side" (CBS).
First African Americans inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame: New York Renaissance, inducted as a team. (See also: Bob Douglas, 1972; Bill Russell, 1975; Clarence Gaines, 1982)
  • 1964
First movie with African-American interracial marriage: One Potato, Two Potato,[33] actors Bernie Hamilton and Barbara Barrie, written by Orville H. Hampton, Raphael Hayes, directed by Larry Peerce
First African-American man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor: Sidney Poitier (Lilies of the Field, 1963) (See also: James Baskett, 1948)
  • 1965
First African-American airline pilot hired by a major U.S. passenger airline: Marlon Green
First African-American title character of a comic book series: Lobo (Dell Comics).[34] (See also: The Falcon, 1969, and Luke Cage, 1972)
First African-American star of a network television drama: Bill Cosby, I Spy (co-star with Robert Culp)
First African-American cast member of a daytime soap opera: Micki Grant who played Peggy Nolan Harris on Another World until 1972.
First African-American Playboy Playmate centerfold: Jennifer Jackson (March issue)
First African-American U.S. Air Force general: Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. (three-star lieutenant general)
First African-American female Ambassador of the United States: Patricia Roberts Harris, ambassador to Luxembourg
First African-American NFL official: Burl Toler, field judge/head linesman
First African American to win a national chess championship: Frank Street, Jr. (U.S. Amateur Championship)[35]
  • 1966
First African-American coach in the National Basketball Association: Bill Russell (Boston Celtics)
First African-American mayor of a US city: Robert C. Henry, (Springfield, Ohio, appointed by city commission)
First African-American model on the cover of a Vogue (British Vogue) magazine: Donyale Luna
First post-Reconstruction African American elected to the U.S. Senate (and first African American elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote): Edward Brooke (Republican; Massachusetts)
First African American Cabinet secretary: Robert C. Weaver (Department of Housing and Urban Development)
First African-American Major League Baseball umpire: Emmett Ashford
First African-American NFL broadcaster: Lowell W. Perry[citation needed] (CBS, on Pittsburgh Steelers games) (See also: 1957)
First African-American fire commissioner of a major US City: Robert O. Lowery of the New York City Fire Department
First African American elected to president, American Psychological Association: Kenneth Bancroft Clark
  • 1967
First African American elected mayor of a large US city: Carl B. Stokes (Cleveland, Ohio)
First African American appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States: Thurgood Marshall
First African American selected for astronaut training: Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr.
First African American to win a PGA Tour event: Charlie Sifford (1967 Greater Hartford Open Invitational)
First African American to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Emlen Tunnell
First African-American interracial kiss on network television: entertainers Nancy Sinatra (white) and Sammy Davis, Jr. (African American) on Sinatra's variety special Movin' With Nancy, airing December 11 on NBC[36] (See also: 1968)
  • 1968
First African-American interracial kiss on a network television drama: Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols (African American), and Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner (white Canadian): Star Trek: "Plato's Stepchildren" (See also: 1967)
First African-American woman elected to U.S. House of Representatives: Shirley Chisholm (Democrat; New York)
First African-American man to win a Grand Slam tennis event: Arthur Ashe (US Open) (See also: Althea Gibson, 1956; Serena Williams, 2003)
First African American to start at quarterback in the modern era of professional football: Marlin Briscoe (Denver Broncos, AFL)
First African-American commissioned officer awarded the Medal of Honor: Riley L. Pitts
First fine-arts museum devoted to African-American work: Studio Museum in Harlem
First African-American woman as Presidential candidate: Charlene Mitchell (See also: Shirley Chisholm, 1972)
First African-American woman reporter for the New York Times: Nancy Hicks Maynard
  • 1969
First African-American superhero: The Falcon, Marvel Comics' Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969).[34] (See also: Lobo, 1965 and Luke Cage, 1972)
First African-American graduate of Harvard Business School: Lillian Lincoln
First African-American director of a major Hollywood motion picture: Gordon Parks (The Learning Tree)
First African-American founder of a classical training school and company of ballet: Arthur Mitchell, Dance Theatre of Harlem (See also: 1955)
First African-American woman to appear on the Grand Ole Opry: Linda Martell

1970s

  • 1970
First African-American member of the New York Stock Exchange: Joseph L. Searles III [37]
First African-American basketball player to win the NBA All Star MVP, the NBA Finals MVP, & the NBA MVP all in the same season: Willis Reed (New York Knicks)
First African-American NCAA Division I basketball coach:Will Robinson (Illinois State University)
  • 1971
First African American owners of a radio station: Hal Jackson and Percy Sutton, WLIB-New York
First African American pitcher to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Satchel Paige (See also: Jackie Robinson, 1962)
First African American president of the New York City Board of Education: Isaiah Edward Robinson, Jr.
First African American to win an Academy Award in a non-acting category, winning Academy Award for Best Original Song: Isaac Hayes
  • 1972
First African American to campaign for the U.S. presidency in a major political party and to win a U.S. presidential primary/caucus: Shirley Chisholm (Democratic Party, New Jersey primary) (See also: 1968)
First African-American superhero to star in own comic-book series: Luke Cage, Marvel Comics' Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972).[34] (See also: Lobo, 1965, and the Falcon, 1969)
First African-American interracial kiss in a mainstream comics magazine: "The Men Who Called Him Monster", by writer Don McGregor (See also: 1975) and artist Luis Garcia, in Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror-comics magazine Creepy #43 (Jan. 1972)
First African-American interracial male kiss on network television: Sammy Davis, Jr. (African American) and Carroll O'Connor (white) in All in the Family[38]
First African American individual inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame: Bob Douglas, inducted as a contributor. (See also: New York Renaissance, 1963; Bill Russell, 1975; Clarence Gaines, 1982)
  • 1973
First African American to hold the plant manager position at a U.S. automobile company: Lowell W. Perry
First African American elected mayor of Los Angeles, California: Tom Bradley
First African-American Bond Girl in a James Bond movie: Gloria Hendry (as Rosie Carver), Live and Let Die.
First African American Bond villain: Yaphet Kotto, playing Mr. Big/Dr. Kananga, Live and Let Die.
First African-American comic-book creator to receive a "created by" cover-credit: Wayne Howard (Midnight Tales #1)
First African-American woman mayor of a U.S. metropolitan city: Doris A. Davis, Compton, California
First African-American artistic director of a professional regional theater: Harold Scott (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park)
  • 1974
First African-American model on the cover of American Vogue magazine: Beverly Johnson
  • 1975
First African American elected mayor, and first mayor, of Washington, D.C.: Walter Washington
First African-American manager in Major League Baseball: Frank Robinson (Cleveland Indians)
First African-American four-star general: Daniel James, Jr.
First African-American women named as Time magazine's, Person of the Year: Barbara Jordan and Addie L. Wyatt [39]
First TV-series cast with African-American interracial couple: The Jeffersons, actors Franklin Cover (white) and Roxie Roker (African American) as Tom & Helen Willis; series creator: Norman Lear
First African-American model on the cover of ELLE magazine: Beverly Johnson
First African American to win Super Bowl MVP in NFL: Franco Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers). Of mixed heritage, Harris was also first Italian American to win the award.
First African-American game show host: Adam Wade (CBS' Musical Chairs)
First African-American interracial kiss in a color comic book: Amazing Adventures #31 (July 1975), feature "Killraven: Warrior of the Worlds", characters M'Shulla Scott and Carmilla Frost, by writer Don McGregor (See also: 1972) and artist P. Craig Russell
First African American inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player: Bill Russell (See also: New York Renaissance, 1963; Bob Douglas, 1972; Clarence Gaines, 1982)
  • 1976
First African-American woman Broadway director: Vinnette Justine Carroll (Your Arms Too Short to Box with God)
First African-American woman elected officer of international labor union: Addie L. Wyatt
  • 1977
First African American, and first woman, appointed director of the Peace Corps: Carolyn R. Payton
First African-American woman in the U.S. Cabinet: Patricia Roberts Harris, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
First African-American woman whose signature appeared on U.S. currency: Azie Taylor Morton, the 36th Treasurer of the United States
First African-American publisher of mainstream gay publication: Alan Bell (Gaysweek)[40][41]
  • 1978
First African-American broadcast network news anchor: Max Robinson
  • 1979
First African American and first person to win the Emmy Award Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries: Esther Rolle
First African American U.S. Marine Corps general officer: Frank E. Petersen
First African-American man to win Daytime Emmy Award for lead actor in a soap opera: Al Freeman, Jr. (Ed Hall in One Life to Live)
First African American head football coach in Division I-A: Willie Jeffries

1980s

  • 1980
First African-American Channel Black Entertainment Television
  • 1981
First African-American owners of a major metropolitan newspaper: Robert C. and Nancy Hicks Maynard, The Oakland Tribune
First African American to play in the NHL: Val James (Buffalo Sabres)[42]
  • 1982
First African-American male to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: Louis Gossett, Jr.
First African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Charles Fuller for A Soldier's Play
First African American inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach: Clarence Gaines (See also: New York Renaissance, 1963; Bob Douglas, 1972; Bill Russell, 1975)
  • 1983
First African-American astronaut: Guion Stewart "Guy" Bluford, Jr. (Challenger mission STS-8).[43]
First African-American mayor of Chicago: Harold Washington
First African-American Miss America: Vanessa L. Williams
First African-American WWE Tag Team Champion: Tony Atlas[44] (See also: Doom, 1990; Men on a Mission, 1994)
First African American to play in the Ryder Cup: Calvin Peete (United States)
  • 1984
First African American to win a delegate-awarding U.S. presidential primary/caucus: Jesse Jackson (Louisiana, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, Virginia and one of two separate Mississippi contests).
First African-American coach to win the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship: John Thompson (Georgetown)
First African-American New York City Police Commissioner: Benjamin Ward
  • 1985
First African American to become a member of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels precision flying team: Donnie Cochran. Also first African American to command the team (1994).
  • 1986
First African-American Formula One racecar driver: Willy T. Ribbs[45] (See also: Ribbs, 1991)
First African-American musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in the inaugural class: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, and Little Richard
First African-American to die in spaceflight: Ronald McNair
First African-American wrestling manager: Slick
  • 1987
First African-American woman, and first woman, inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Aretha Franklin
  • 1988
First African-American woman elected to a U.S. judgeship, and first appointed to a state supreme court: Juanita Kidd Stout
First African-American candidate for President of the United States to obtain ballot access in all 50 states: Lenora Fulani
First African American to win a medal at the Winter Olympics (a bronze in figure skating): Debi Thomas
First African-American quarterback to start (and win) in the Super Bowl: Doug Williams
First African-American NFL referee: Johnny Grier
  • 1989
First African-American mayor of New York City: David Dinkins
First African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Colin Powell
First African American, and first woman, ordained bishop in the Episcopal Church: Barbara Clementine Harris
First African-American Chairman of the Democratic National Committee: Ron Brown

1990s

  • 1990
First elected African-American governor: Douglas Wilder (Democrat; Virginia) (See also: P. B. S. Pinchback, 1872)
First African American elected president of the Harvard Law Review: Barack Obama (See also: 2008, 2009)
First African-American Miss USA: Carole Gist
First African-American Playboy Playmate of the Year: Renee Tenison
First all African-American band to win the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance: Living Colour for "Cult of Personality"
First tag team made up of two African Americans to win a recognized world professional wrestling championship: Doom (Butch Reed and Ron Simmons), WCW World Tag Team Championship (See also: Tony Atlas, 1983; Men on a Mission, 1994)
  • 1991
First African American nominated for a Best Director Academy Award. John Singleton for Boyz N The Hood
First African American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 auto race: Willy T. Ribbs (See also: Ribbs, 1986)
First African-American woman mayor of Washington, D.C.: Sharon Pratt Kelly
First African-American NBA Coach of the Year: Don Chaney (Houston Rockets)
  • 1992
First African-American WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Ron Simmons
First African-American woman astronaut: Dr. Mae Jemison (Space Shuttle Endeavour)
First African-American woman elected to U.S. Senate: Carol Moseley Braun (Democrat; Illinois)
First African American to manage a Major League Baseball team to a World Series Championship: Cito Gaston (Toronto Blue Jays)
  • 1993
First African-American woman appointed U.S. Secretary of Energy: Hazel R. O'Leary
First African American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature: Toni Morrison
First African-American woman named Poet Laureate of the United States: Rita Dove, also the youngest person named to that position
First African American appointed Surgeon General of the United States: Joycelyn Elders
First African-American appointed Director of the National Drug Control Policy: Lee P. Brown
  • 1994
First African-American woman director of a major-studio movie: Darnell Martin (Columbia Pictures' I Like It Like That)
First African American to win the United States Amateur Championship: Tiger Woods[46]
First tag team made up of two African Americans to win the WWE Tag Team Championship: Men on a Mission (Nelson Frazier, Jr., aka Mabel, and Robert Horne, aka Mo) (See also: Tony Atlas, 1983; Doom, 1990)
  • 1995
First African-American inductee to the Radio Hall of Fame: Hal Jackson[citation needed]
First African-American Sergeant Major of the Army: Gene C. McKinney
  • 1996
First African-American mayor of San Francisco: Willie Lewis Brown, Jr. (also first African-American Speaker of the California Assembly, 1980)
First African-American U.S. Navy four-star admiral: J. Paul Reason[47]
  • 1997
First African American to win a men's major golf championship: Tiger Woods (The Masters)[46]
First African-American model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition: Tyra Banks
First African-American actor to star in the lead role in a comic-book adaptation movie (Spawn): Michael Jai White
  • 1998
First African American appointed U.S. Secretary of Labor: Alexis Herman
First African-American woman to hold the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy: Lillian Fishburne
First African American Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard: Vincent W. Patton III
First African-American mayor of Houston: Lee P. Brown
First African American to play in the Presidents Cup: Tiger Woods[46]
  • 1999
First African American to be awarded the International Grandmaster title in chess: Maurice Ashley
First African American Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps: Alford L. McMichael
First African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company: Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae[48]
  • 2000
First African American nominated for Vice President of the United States by a Federal Election Commission-recognized and federally funded political party: Ezola B. Foster (See also: 1952; FEC established 1975)

21st century

  • 2001
First African-American Secretary of State: Colin Powell
First African-American president of the Unitarian Universalist Association: Rev. William G. Sinkford
First African-American president of an Ivy League university: Ruth J. Simmons at Brown University, also the first permanent female president of Brown.
First African-American woman to win the ASCAP Pop Music Songwriter of the Year award: Beyoncé Knowles
First African-American woman to be appointed National Security Advisor: Condoleezza Rice (See also: 2005)
First African-American billionaire: Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television
First African-American female billionaire: Sheila Johnson
  • 2002
First African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress: Halle Berry (Monster's Ball, 2001)
First African-American Winter Olympic gold medal winner: Vonetta Flowers (two-woman bobsleigh). (See also: Shani Davis, 2006)
First African-American female combat pilot in the U.S. Armed Services: Captain Vernice Armour, USMC
First African American to hold the #1 rank in tennis: Venus Williams, February 25, 2002.
First African American to hold the year-end #1 rank in tennis: Serena Williams
First African American to be named year-end world champion by the International Tennis Federation: Serena Williams
First African-American Arena Football League head coach to win ArenaBowl: Darren Arbet (San Jose SaberCats), ArenaBowl XVI
First African-American general manager in the National Football League: Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens)
  • 2003
First African American to win a Career Grand Slam in tennis: Serena Williams (See also: Althea Gibson, 1956; Arthur Ashe, 1968)
  • 2004
First African American to win Broadway theater's Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play: Phylicia Rashād
First African-American General Manager for World Wrestling Entertainment: Theodore Long
  • 2005
First African-American woman appointed Secretary of State: Condoleezza Rice (See also: 2001)
  • 2006
First African-American individual Winter Olympic gold medal winner: Shani Davis (men's 1,000 meter speed skating) (See also: Vonetta Flowers, 2002)
First African-American Extreme Championship Wrestling champion: Bobby Lashley
First African American to command a United States Marine Corps division: Walter Gaskin
First African American to reach the peak of Mount Everest: Sophia Danenberg
  • 2007
First African-American Governor of Massachusetts: Deval Patrick
First African-American NFL head coach to reach the Super Bowl: Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears), Super Bowl XLI[49]
First African-American NFL head coach to win the Super Bowl: Tony Dungy (Indianapolis Colts), Super Bowl XLI
First known African-American woman to reach the North Pole: Barbara Hillary[50]
  • 2008
First African American to be nominated as a major-party US presidential candidate: Barack Obama, Democratic Party
First African American to referee a Super Bowl game: Mike Carey (Super Bowl XLII)
First African-American woman elected Speaker of a state House of Representatives: California Rep. Karen Bass
First African-American governor of New York State: David Paterson (elected as lieutenant governor, succeeded on resignation of previous governor)
First African American to own a movie and TV studio: Tyler Perry
First African American elected President of the United States: Barack Obama
First African American to be appointed to the United States Senate by a state governor: Roland Burris
  • 2009
First African-American President of the United States: Barack Obama
First African-American First Lady of the United States: Michelle Obama
First African-American chair of the Republican National Committee: Michael Steele
First African-American United States Attorney General: Eric Holder
First African-American woman United States Ambassador to the United Nations: Susan Rice
First African-American United States Trade Representative: Ron Kirk
First African-American woman Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Lisa P. Jackson
First African-American White House Social Secretary: Desirée Rogers
First African American honored on United States coin: Duke Ellington (District of Columbia quarter) [51].
First African-American Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
First African-American woman rabbi: Alysa Stanton
First African-American woman CEO of an S&P 100 Company: Ursula Burns, Xerox Corporation.
First African-American doubles team to be named year-end world champion by the International Tennis Federation: Serena and Venus Williams
First African-American On Television Wrestling Referee - WWE : Justin King
  • 2010
First African American to win the Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Geoffrey S. Fletcher (Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, 2009)

See also

References

  1. ^ Juguo, Zhang. W. E. B. Du Bois: The Quest for the Abolition of the Color Line, Routledge, 2001 - ISBN 0415930871
  2. ^ Herbst, Philip H. The Color of Words: an encyclopaedic dictionary of ethnic bias in the United States, Intercultural Press, p. 57, 1997 - ISBN 1877864978
  3. ^ Sailes, Gary Alan. African Americans in Sport: Contemporary Themes, Transaction Publishers, 1998 - ISBN 0765804409 (p. 8, "Jackie Robinson: Breaking the Color Barrier in Team Sports")
  4. ^ a b Albert J. Raboteau, Slave Religion: The "invisible Institution' in the Antebellum South, Oxford University Press, 2004, p.139, accessed 21 Jan 2009
  5. ^ Walter H. Brooks, "The Priority of the Silver Bluff Church and Its Promoters", Journal of Negro History (April 1922)
  6. ^ "Long Road to Justice: The African American Experienced in the Massachusetts Courts". The Massachusetts Historical Society. 1845. http://www.masshist.org/longroad/03participation/profiles/allen.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  7. ^ Essortment: "First 3 African American Physicians"
  8. ^ Because it was published in the U.K., the book is not the first African-American novel published in the United States. This credit goes to one of two disputed books: Harriet Wilson's Our Nig (1859), brought to light by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in 1982; or Julia C. Collins' The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride (1865), brought to light by William L. Andrews, an English literature professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Mitch Kachun, a history professor at Western Michigan University, in 2006. Andrews and Kachun document Our Nig as a novelized autobiography, and argue that The Curse of Caste is the first fully fictional novel by an African American to be published in the USA.
  9. ^ Dinitia Smith (28 October 2006). "A Slave Story Is Rediscovered, and a Dispute Begins". The New York Times: pp. B7. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/28/books/28slav.html?_r=1&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  10. ^ Sven Birkerts (29 October 2006). "Emancipation Days". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/29/books/review/Birkerts.t.html. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  11. ^ Logan, Rayford W. Howard University: The First Hundred Years 1867-1967, NYU Press, 2004, ISBN-10 0814702635, ISBN-13 978-0814702635. p. 5
  12. ^ Mary D. Teasley, Deloris Walker-Moses, Curators (2000). "African-American Firsts Remembered: Lest We Forget". Newark Public Library. http://www.npl.org/Pages/ProgramsExhibits/Exhibits/aafirsts.html. Retrieved November 5, 2008. 
  13. ^ Revels, the Mississippi State Senate's Adams County representative, was elected by the U.S. Senate in January 1870 to fill an unexpired term.
  14. ^ Rainey, a South Carolina state senator, was elected to fill the seat vacated by B. Franklin Whittemore. Rainey took his seat on December 12, 1870. John Willis Menard was actually the first African-American elected to the House (1868) but he was denied his seat.
  15. ^ Douglass did not seek the nomination or campaign after being nominated.
  16. ^ a b New York City Police Museum: "A History of African Americans in the NYPD"
  17. ^ Ryan Gail, "Legendary Ladies of the L.A.P.D.", Los Angeles Women Police Officers and Associates, Retrieved February 26, 2010
  18. ^ "Women in the LAPD", Los Angeles Police Department, Retrieved February 26, 2010
  19. ^ Baker, Josephine; Bouillon, Joe (1977). Josephine (First ed.). New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0060102128. 
  20. ^ Weber, Bruce (2008-07-19). "Sherman L. Maxwell, 100, Sportscaster and Writer, Dies". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/19/sports/19maxwell.html. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  21. ^ "Not Too Bad For A Couple of West End Boys", hatchets.net, Retrieved March 19, 2010
  22. ^ Jazz Resource Library: "Important Firsts, Groups and their Leaders, and Groups and Personnel", compiled by David Baker)
  23. ^ Because of team schedules for season opening games, Lloyd was the first to play, on October 31, 1950, with Cooper debuting November 1 and Clifton November 4. Cooper was the first African American player to be drafted by an NBA team, and Clifton the first to sign a contract with an NBA team.
  24. ^ Spelman College: The Black Presence in American Dance website
  25. ^ While two black players won Gold Gloves that year, only Mays is African American. The other, Minnie Miñoso, is a black Cuban.
  26. ^ Conrad, Don (November 16, 2005). "Alaska's World: "Promoting Diversity: Flight attendants reach out to black community during trip to Harlem"". Alaska Airlines. http://www.alaskasworld.com/NEWS/2005/11/16_black_fa.asp. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 
  27. ^ Grammy Awards official site — list of winners for Grammy Award inaugural year, presented May 4, 1959, for recordings made in 1958
  28. ^ In 1998, the award would be renamed the Oscar Robertson Trophy after its first recipient.
  29. ^ "Person of the Year: Martin Luther King Jr.". Time. 3 January 1963. http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/personoftheyear/archive/stories/1963.html. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  30. ^ New York City Police Museum: A History of African Americans in the NYPD
  31. ^ Gregory Kearse, "Historic Moments: A Legacy of Excellence", Chess Life July 1998 reprinted at TheChessDrum.net
  32. ^ Chess.com "Chess Quiz" Question #43
  33. ^ GreenCine.com: "Black Cinema", by David Hudson (no date) Note: Asian-American interracial marriage had previously been portrayed.
  34. ^ a b c The first Black superhero, Marvel's Black Panther, introduced in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966), is African, not African-American. This is also true of the first Black character to star in his own mainstream comic-book feature, Waku, Prince of the Bantu, who headlined one of four features in the multiple-character omnibus series Jungle Tales (Sept. 1954 - Sept. 1955), from Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics.
  35. ^ The ChessDrum.net: "NM Frank Street, Jr."
  36. ^ Nancy Sinatra. (2000). Movin' with Nancy. [DVD Commentary Track]. Chatsworth, CA: Image Intertainment. 
  37. ^ Bell, Gregory S. (2002). Joe Searles. In In the Black: A History of African Americans on Wall Street. John Wiley and Sons. p. 143. ISBN 9780471214854. Google Book Search. Retrieved on January 30, 2009.
  38. ^ "Sammy's Visit". All in the Family. CBS. 1972-02-12. No. 34, season 2. Retrieved on 2008-02-15. In the comedy All in the Family, at the last moment as a picture is taken, Sammy Davis, Jr., playing himself, chides the bigoted but celebrity-fawning Archie Bunker with a kiss on the cheek.
  39. ^ "A Dozen Who Made a Difference". Time. 05 January 1976. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,947599-5,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  40. ^ Seabaugh, Cathy (February 1994). "BLK: Focused Coverage for African-American Gays & Lesbians". Chicago Outlines.
  41. ^ Chestnut, Mark (June 1992). "BLK: Getting Glossy". Island Lifestyle.
  42. ^ The NHL had fielded black players for more than 20 years, with the first being Willie O'Ree in 1958, but all previous black players were Black Canadians and not African American.
  43. ^ Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo Mendez was the first person of African descent in space, in 1980.
  44. ^ Atlas' tag team partner at the time, Rocky Johnson, is also black, but is not African American. Johnson, also known as the father of wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, is a Black Canadian, more specifically Black Nova Scotian.
  45. ^ Lewis Hamilton became the first black Formula One racer in 2006, but he is a British citizen of Grenadan ancestry, and not an African American. Ribbs did not compete in a race, but drove a Formula One car professionally in January 1986 as a tester for the Brabham-BMW at Estoril, Portugal.
  46. ^ a b c Woods' mixed ancestry — ¼ Chinese, ¼ Thai, ¼ African-American, ⅛ white, and ⅛ Native American — also makes him the first Asian American to achieve this feat. He is also the first of only four golfers of primarily non-European descent to win a men's major, with the others being Vijay Singh (an Indian Fijian), Michael Campbell (a Māori from New Zealand), and Y.E. Yang (South Korean).
  47. ^ "Reason Is Navy's First Black Four-Star Admiral". U.S. Department of Defense. 1998-02-19. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb1998/n02191998_9802198.html. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  48. ^ Farmer, Paula (August), "The First African American To Head A Fortune 500 Company, Franklin D. Raines Takes Over Fannie Mae", The Black Collegian, http://www.black-collegian.com/issues/1999-08/fdraines.shtml, retrieved 2008-11-07 
  49. ^ Smith was the first African American head coach to reach the Super Bowl solely because of scheduling. The NFC and AFC Championship Games are always held on the same day; in the playoffs that followed the 2006 NFL season, the NFC game was played first. The AFC game was won by the Indianapolis Colts and their African American head coach Tony Dungy.
  50. ^ Meghan Barr (6 May 2007). "Cancer Survivor, 75, Skis to North Pole". The Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003696398_northpole07.html. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  51. ^ CNN.com: Duke Ellington becomes first African American on U.S. coin

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