The first African slaves are brought to America.
||Northern states abolish slavery.
||The slave trade from Africa to the United States ends.
||Nat Turner's slave revolt.
||The publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin,
which depicts the horrors of slavery for a wide readership.
||The Dred Scott decision rules that the new western territories
have no right to prohibit slavery.
||Abraham Lincoln is elected president on a Republican platform
opposed to slavery; in response, most southern states secede by
||The Civil War begins at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
||Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all
slaves free in Confederate territory and enlisting African
Americans in the military.
||The Confederacy is defeated and the Civil War ends. The 13th
Amendment ending slavery is ratified.
||Congress passes the 14th Amendment, granting African American
men citizenship and protecting their civil rights.
|| Congress passes the Reconstruction Acts, dividing the South into
five military districts and giving African American men the right to
||The 15th Amendment, prohibiting states from denying the right to
vote on the basis of race, is ratified.
||Rutherford B. Hayes becomes president and ends
||Thomas Edison invents the phonograph.
||Valdemar Poulsen of Denmark invents the magnetic wire
recorder, the precursor to the modern tape recorder.
||Scholars and historians, particularly from African-American
colleges, begin interviewing former slaves.
||As part of a larger project of collecting first-hand biographies of
ordinary American people, the New Deal's Federal Writers'
Project begins interviewing thousands of former slaves.
||A second group of scholars (including John, Ruby and Alan
Lomax, Zora Neale Hurston, and John Henry Faulk), inspired by
the Federal Writers' Project but working independently, begins
tape-recording the spoken words of former slaves.
||The Civil Rights Movement sparks a growing interest in slavery
and slave narratives.
||New technology enables the old, aluminum disks upon which the
original interviews with former slaves were recorded to be
"remastered," vastly improving the quality and audibility of the