African-American History Timeline: 1910 to 1919

Poster for "A Man's Duty," 1919, by Lincoln Motion Picture Company
Public Domain

Like the previous decade, African-Americans continued to fight against racial injustice. Using various methods of protest--writing editorials, publishing news, literary and scholarly journals as well as organizing peaceful protests--African-Americans began to expose the ills of segregation not only to the United States but the world.


  • According to U.S. Census data, African-Americans make up ten percent of the United States' population.
  • The National Urban League (NUL) is established in New York City. The purpose of the Urban League was to help African-Americans find jobs and housing resources.
  • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) established the first issue of Crisis. W.E.B. Du Bois becomes the monthly magazine's first editor in chief.
  • Throughout the United States, local ordinances are established to segregate neighborhoods. Towns such as Baltimore, Dallas, Louisville, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Richmond, Roanoke and St. Louis establish such ordinances separating African-American and white neighborhoods.


  • Kappa Alpha Psi, an African-American fraternity is established at Indiana University.
  • Omega Psi Phi is established at Howard University.


  • An estimated sixty-one African-Americans are lynched.
  • W.C. Handy publishes "Memphis Blues" in Memphis.
  • Claude McKay publishes two collections of poetry, Songs of Jamaica and Constab Ballads.


  • The 50th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation is celebrated.
  • Delta Sigma Theta, an African-American sorority, is established at Howard University.
  • Woodrow Wilson's administration establishes federal segregation. Across the United States, federal work environments, lunch areas, and restrooms are segregated.
  • African-American newspapers such as the California Eagle began campaigns to protest the portrayal of African-Americans in D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation. As a result of editorials and articles published in African-American newspapers, the film was banned in many communities throughout the United States.
  • The Apollo Theater is founded in New York City.


  • The Great Migration picks up steam as African-Americans leave the South for Northern cities.
  • The Oklahoma Grandfather Clause is overturned in Guinn v. the United States.
  • Carter G. Woodson establishes the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). That same year, Woodson also publishes The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861.
  • The NAACP proclaims that Lift Every Voice and Sing is the African-American national anthem. The song was written and composed by two brothers, James Weldon and Rosamond Johnson.
  • Booker T. Washington dies.


  • Marcus Garvey establishes the New York branch of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
  • Woodson's ANSLH publishes the first scholarly journal dedicated to African-American History. The publication is called Journal of Negro History.
  • James Weldon Johnson becomes field secretary for the NAACP. In this position, Johnson organizes mass demonstrations against racism and violence. He also increases the NAACP's membership rolls in southern states, an action that would set the stage for the Civil Rights Movement decades later.


  • When the United States enters World War I on April 6, an estimated 370,000 African-Americans join the armed forces. More than half serve in the French war zone and more than 1000 African-American officers command troops. As a result, 107 African-American soldiers are awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government.
  • The East St. Louis Race Riot begins on July 1. When the two-day riot is over, an estimated forty people are killed, several hundred are hurt and thousands are displaced from their homes.
  • The NAACP organizes a silent march in response to lynchings, race riots, and social injustice. Considered the first major civil rights demonstration of the 20th Century, almost 10,000 African-Americans participate in the march.
  • The Messenger is established by A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen.


  • Three African-Americans and two whites are killed in the Chester, Pa. race riot. Within days, another race riot erupts in Philadelphia killing three African-Americans and one white resident.


  • Eighty-three African-Americans are lynched--many of them soldiers returning home from World War I. At the same time, the Ku Klux Klan is operating out of 27 states.
  • The pamphlet, Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States: 1898-1918 is published by the NAACP. The report is used to appeal to lawmakers to end the social, political and economic terrorism associated with lynching.
  • From May 1919 to October 1919, a number of race riots erupted in cities throughout the United States. James Weldon Johnson names these race riots as the Red Summer of 1919. In response, Claude McKay publishes the poem, "If We Must Die."
  • The West Virginia State Supreme Court decides that an African-American is denied equal protection under the law if there are no African-American jury members.
  • Claude A. Barnett develops the Associated Negro Press.
  • The Peace Mission Movement is established by Father Divine in Sayville, NY.
  • The Homesteader is released in Chicago. It is the first film to be produced by Oscar Micheaux. For the next forty years, Micheaux will become one of the most prominent African-American filmmakers by producing and directing 24 silents films and 19 sound films.