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This chronology highlights the rhetoric of emancipation movements after the Civil War in the history of American public discourse, especially labor, civil rights, anti-Vietnam and feminism. The interest in this chronology as a tool lies in begin able to see events, persons and discourse from multiple movements in synchronic and diachronic parallel against the backdrop of mainstream history.


This chronology links persons and events from American emancipation movements during the Civil War to the present.  Its purpose as a tool is to demonstrate the interrelation of these movements.  The primary focus is given to movements that advance emancipatory rhetorical strategies, including Labor, Civil Rights, Anti-War and Women's Rights.

To date, this chronology is weakest on areas regarding LGBTQ Rights and the American Indian Movement. Contributions in these areas are especially welcome. External links prefer other Wiki Commons articles, unless there is a clearly superior, authoritative proprietary or government source.

Civil War to Spanish American WarEdit


Lincoln Assassinated; Andrew Johnson becomes President.


The Molly Maguires , a secret society of Irish mine workers, terrorize the coal region of Schuylkill County, PA.


Knights of Labor founded as a secret society. Ulysses S. Grant, Rep., becomes President.


The Panic of 1873 initiates the Long Depression (1873-1879).


Civil Rights Act of 1875 barred discrimination against Negroes in public accommodations and conveyances.

1877 The Great Railroad Strike . Founding of the Socialist Labor Party , begun in 1876 as the Workingmen's Party of America and changed its name to the Socialist Labor Party of America in 1877.  Rutherford B. Hayes, Rep., becomes President. The last federal troops are withdrawn from States formerly in secession, marking the end of Reconstruction and the beginning of the Jim Crow era.


Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School founded. International Working People's Association (Black International) founded. "Chicago Idea": One Big Union. Manifesto of Chicago Socialist Revolutionary Club written by Johann Most. Chester Arthur succeeds James Garfield as President.


Civil Rights Act of 1875 ruled unconstitutional by an 8-1 majority in Civil Rights Cases, 109 U. S. 3 (1883) .


The Haymarket Riot .  August Spies, Address to the Court.  American Federation of Labor founded by Samuel Gompers.


Mississippi passed its poll tax and literacy law, largely disenfranchising its colored population. NWSA (National Woman Suffrage Association) and AWSA (American Woman Suffrage Association) merged to form NAWSA (National American Woman Suffrage Association).


World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago brings together many features of the Progressive mode of discourse.  1892 marks the peak year for lynchings in the United States. Ida B. Wells publishes Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. Financial Panic of 1893. American Railway Union formed with Eugene Debs as its president.


Successful American Railway Union strike against the Great Northern Railroad.  Pullman strike.Eugene Debs was convicted of obstructing the US Mail for his role in the Pullman strike , the Union was suppressed and many of its members blacklisted.  While jailed in Woodstlck IL for 6 months, Debs converted to Socialism.


Booker T. Washington delivers his Atlanta Exposition Address.


Plessy v. Ferguson ruled legal segregation constitutional, under the "separate but equal" doctrine.  Eugene Debs   supported William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 campaign.  


William McKinley, president. Social Democracy of America formed from remnants of American Railway Union in 1897.  Becomes Social Democratic Party of America in 1898. 

Spanish American War to World War IEdit


Spanish American War results in annexation of Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico. Wilmington, NC Race Riot , November 10, 1898. End of black majority rule in Wilmington. Similar white race riots suppressed Negro suffrage around the country in the 1880s.


Formation of International Ladies Garment Workers Union .


Dissidents from the Socialist Labor Party merge with the Social Democratic Party of America to form the Socialist Party of America. William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz. VP  Theodore Roosevelt became President.


Emmaline and  Christabel Pankhurst founded the Women's Social and Political Union in London, marking the rise of militant suffragism.


Eugene Debs campaigned for President for the Socialist Party of America .


Niagara Movement founded by W. E. B. DuBois . Niagara Movement Address.Industrial Workers of the World founded.  Eugene Debs speaks at the Founding Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World. 


DuBois delivers his Niagara Movement Address.


Debs campaigns as Socialist.  Suffragists begin open-air soapbox campaigns.  Race riot in Springfield, Ill in 1908 leads to the Lincoln Emancipation Conference , when a group of activists and intellectuals made plans that led to the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People


Triangle Factory Fire , March 26, New York.  146 dead due to locked doors and dangerous conditions in upper story tenement factory.  


Debs campaigns as Socialist; receives 6% (897,011 votes); most successful Socialist campaign in U.S. history. Woodrow Wilson elected President. Alice Paul organizes the Congressional Union within NAWSA. The Progressive Party (T. Roosevelt) endorses woman suffrage.


National Woman's Party formed by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns.


August of 1914, World War I commences in Europe.


Marcus Garvey ,Universal Negro Improvement AssociationNational Woman's Party founded by militants Alice Paul and Lucy Burns . Trained in London by the Pankhursts, they broke with NAWSA over their conciliatory tactics and state rather than federal orientation. In the same year, Carrie Chapman Catt, newly elected president of NAWSA, repudiated the states right platform and announced a "winning plan" for a federal amendment.

World War I to World War IIEdit


American enters World War I ; Congress passed the Espionage Act to control opposition to World War I; Bolshevik October Revolution in Russia.


Eugene Debs, Canton Ohio speech, defending Socialists jailed under the Sedition Act , which consisted of amendments to the Espionage Act of 1917.  Eugene Debs, Statement to the Court on sentencing.  Treaty of Versailles ends World War One.


.The First Red Scare , instigated by a plot to mail bombs to prominent US financiers and government officials, set off the Palmer Raids , in which Attorney General Mitchell Palmer arrested thousands of dissidents and eventually deported 556. Founding of the Communist Party USA .  Red Summer : Beginning in Texas, predominantly white race riots broke out across the country with the most violent occurring in Chicago and Washington DC, but also in Charleston, SC, Knoxville, TN, Omaha, NE and other places. In general they were the result of competition between blacks and whites over labor.


Nineteenth Amendment ratifiied giving women the right to vote. Eugene Debs, while in prison for sedition, runs for President and gains 919,000 votes.


Alice Paul drafts the Equal Rights Amendment , and the National Woman's Party turns its attention to advocating its passage.


Stock Market crash inaugurates Great Depression.  Communist Party USA under the influence of Stalinist policies, withdraws its support from other American socialist organizations.

1930 Edit

Nation of Islam founded by Wallace Fard Muhammad.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected President.


A series of dust storms that characterized the high plains of the US as the "Dust Bowl" removed millions of tons of plowed top soil from the recently settled Great Plains, intensifying the effects of the Great Depression.

1934 Edit

Elijah Muhammad advanced to leadership of Nation of Islam.

WWII to VietnamEdit

1941 Edit

Dec. 8, Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

1942-1945 Edit

American Communists pursued common anti-Nazi interests with US and made wartime accommodations to capitalism. During this period their membership climbed to an all-time high of 60,000-80,000. However, as much as 30% turnover meant that at any one time there were many more former Communists than active Communists in the US.

1942 Edit

Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) was organized as a Fellowship of Reconciliation taskforce.

1946 Edit

U.S. Supreme Court in Morgan v. Virginia rules that segregation of white and colored passengers is invalid for out of state passengers.

1947 Edit

Members of CORE traveled through the Mid South in a "Journey of Reconciliation," the first of many campaigns to end segregation of interstate bus travel.

1949 -1958 Edit

Eleven leaders of Communist Party of the US were convicted of violating the Smith Act, which outlawed groups teaching and advocating the violent overthrow of the government.

1954 Edit

Brown v. Board of Education rendered school segregation unconstitutional. Army-McCarthy Hearings end McCarthy's red bashing career.

1955 Edit

28 August Edit

Emmett Till, aged 14, is lynched for allegedly whistling at a white girl in a grocery store in Money, MS. A photo of the open casket makes national and international news.

1 December Edit

Rosa Parks' action in refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus provides catalyst for Montgomery bus boycott.

1957 Edit

Little Rock Arkansas: Nine students attempted to attend a Little Rock public high school in accordance with the recent Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. Governor Orval Faubus guarded the entrance against them using Arkansas National Guard. Responding to requests from Martin Luther King and the NAACP, President Eisenhower enforced the Supreme Court decision, deploying troops from the 101st Airborne and federalizing the Arkansas National Guard.

Yates v. United States ended the trials of Communist Party leaders under the Smith Act; the majority decision held that advocating revolution as an abstract belief is protected speech under the First Amendment, provided it does not instigate specific action.

1960 Edit

February 1 Edit

Four students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University sat down at a Greensboro Woolworth's lunch counter and refused to get up until they were served. The incident spread to repeated demonstrations by students and others across the south, leading to the formation of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.

May 12 Edit

House Un-American Activities Committee conducted hearings in San Francisco City Hall. Demonstrators many of them students, denied admittance to the hearings were dispersed by police using anti-riot tactics. Repercussions from this demonstration contributed to the Berkeley Free Speech Movement.

November Edit

John Fitzgerald Kennedy elected President. Inaugural.

1961 Edit

May Edit

CORE and SNCC began organizing Freedom Rides from Washington DC into Southern States.

November Edit

Demonstrations were organized in Albany, GA targeting a broad front of segregation and voting rights ordinances, assisted first by SNCC volunteers and then by King. This time the opposition was also organized. The mixed results led to more precise target selection in civil rights initiatives.

1962 Edit

June 12 Edit

A group convenes in Port Huron,MI, to draft the Port Huron Statement, a document that became the manifesto of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Authors included Robert Alan Haber, Tom Hayden, Michael Harrington, and Sharon Jeffries.

Vietnam to PresentEdit


Freedom Summer for the Mississippi Voter Registration Project.

March Edit

Malcolm X leaves Nation of Islam to form Organization for Afro-American Unity. Travels to Mecca.

Gulf of Tonkin incident

1967 Edit

Massive antiwar March on Washington. "Revolutionary Contingent" attempts to levitate Pentagon, marks appearance of Yippies. Summer of Love in San Francisco. CORE becomes separatist organization. Shulamith Firestone and Pam Allen found New York Radical Women. Ti-Grace Atkinson elected president of NOW-New York.


1st issue of Ms. (July). Congress passes the ERA. Congress passes Title IX banning sex discrimination in federally assisted educational programs.


Members of Jane collective arrested. Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton result in making abortion constitutional. First publication of Our Bodies, Our Selves. Mary Daly publishes Beyond God the Father. Heide, For the Revolution: Tomorrow is Now. 


First conference on "Women and the Environment." Passage of Equal Credit Opportunity Act


Kathie Sarachild and Carol Hanisch publish Feminist Revolution, attacking liberal feminism. End of early radical feminism. National Womens Health Network founded. Members of Rothman's Feminist Womens Health Center arrested for practicing medicine without a license.

1979 Edit

Greensboro massacre: members of the Communist Workers Party supporting union organizing among black textile workers organized an anti-Ku Klux Klan rally advocating "Death to the Klan." Klan members opened fire on the demonstrators; four demonstrators and one bystander were killed.

1982 Edit

Wisconsin becomes the first state to make sexual orientation-based discrimination illegal.

1993 Edit

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is instituted for the United States military. This allows for homosexual people to serve but bans homosexual activity.


On Dec. 18, the United States Senate votes 65 to 31 in favor of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." President Barack Obama officially repealed the policy that same day.