1619 - The first African slaves arrive in Virginia.
1808 - Congress bans the importation of slaves from Africa.
1820 - The Missouri Compromise bans slavery north of the southern boundary of Missouri.
1831 - Nat Turner, a preacher and slave, leads the most significant slave uprising in American history.
1846 - Frederick Douglass launches his abolitionist newspaper.
1849 - Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and becomes one of the most effective and celebrated leaders of the Underground Railroad.
1854 - The Kansas-Nebraska Act repeals the Missouri Compromise.
1860 - Abraham Lincoln is elected president. South Carolina secedes from the Union.
1861 - Ten more states secede from the Union. The Civil War begins.
1863 - President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring freedom for all slaves in the rebelling territories.
1865 - The Civil War ends. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, abolishing slavery.
1868 - The 14th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, redefining citizenship to include persons born as slaves.
1869 - Howard University establishes the first black law school.
1870 - The 15th Amendment gives blacks the right to vote. Hiram Revels becomes the country's first African-American senator.
1877 - Reconstruction ends in the Southern states and federal intervention on behalf of civil rights erodes.
1879 - Tens of thousands of African-Americans migrate northward -The Black Exodus.
1881 - Booker T. Washington founds the Tuskegee Institute, a leading school of higher learning for African-Americans. The first college for black women, Spelman College, is founded by Sophia Packard and Harriet Giles.
1882 - The American Colonization Society urges blacks to return to Africa. Over the next 40 years, about 12,000 former slaves do so.
1896 - The Supreme Court decides Plessy vs. Ferguson, which holds that racial segregation is constitutional. Repressive Jim Crow laws restricting blacks in many ways are enacted.
Next week we follow the timeline through to the present day. Take a few moments to research some of the events listed. The Internet is a good place to discover little-known but fascinating details that comprise the personal stories of black history - a major part of and influence on American history.
The Brentwood Diversity Committee meets at 5 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month in the Delta Room at the Brentwood Police Station, 9100 Brentwood Blvd. All are welcome.