- The slave trade enveloped western Africa between the sixteenth
and nineteenth centuries. In the eighteenth century alone,
an estimated 6 million Africans lost their freedom and were
taken to the North American colonies. Thousands died during
the Middle Passage across the Atlantic Ocean.
1770-1779 - Embracing the
spirit of the American Revolution, enslaved African Americans
petitioned for their freedom.
1775 - African Americans
fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Lord Dunmore promised
freedom to enslaved African men who joined the British Army.
1780 - Massachusetts passed
laws abolishing the enslavement of people within the Commonwealth.
1780's - Benjamin Banneker
was one of America's earliest scientists. He made a clock
out of wooden parts while still a young man. It was the first
wholly American-made clock in the country. His clock kept
time accurately for twenty years. Banneker was the first African
American given a presidential appointment. He was appointed
by George Washington as Surveyor and was a key figure in laying
out the nation's new capital in Washington, D.C.
1787 - The United States
Constitution was written. Prince Hall established the African
Lodge of Freemasons.
1789 - George Washington
elected President of the United States.
1793 - Eli Whitney invented
the cotton gin. Enslavement of Africans spreads in the South.
1799 - Richard Allen became
the first black minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
1700's-1865 - African American
slaves encode religious songs, called - spirituals, - with
secret meanings. Spirituals were a means for enslaved Africans
to communicate with each other without their white masters
knowing or understanding what they were really saying.