Black History and Women Timeline 1700-1799

African American History and Women Timeline

Phillis Wheatley, from an illustration by Scipio Moorhead
Phillis Wheatley, from an illustration by Scipio Moorhead on the front page of her book of poems (colorized later). Culture Club/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Women and African American History: 1700-1799


  • New York passed a law prohibiting public gatherings by three or more enslaved Africans, prohibiting testimony in court by enslaved Africans against White colonists, and prohibiting trade with enslaved Africans.


  • Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 were enacted by the House of Burgesses in the Colony of Virginia. These laws more clearly delineated differences in rights for indentured servants (from Europe) and enslaved people. The latter included enslaved Africans and Native Americans sold to colonists by other Native Americans. The codes specifically legalized the trade of enslaved people and established rights of ownership as property rights. The codes also prohibited the Africans, even if free, from striking White people or owning any weapons. Many historians agree that this was a response to events, including Bacon's Rebellion, where White and Black servants had united.


  • A Pennsylvania law outlawing enslavement was overturned by Britain's Queen Anne.
  • New York City opened a public market for selling enslaved people on Wall Street.


  • New York responded to a revolt by enslaved people that year by passing legislation targeting Black and Native Americans. The legislation authorized punishment by enslavers and authorized the death penalty for enslaved people convicted of murder, rape, arson, or assault. Freeing those enslaved people was made more difficult by requiring a significant payment to the government and an annuity to the one freed. 


  • The colony of South Carolina limited the right of voting to free White Christian men.


  • Pennsylvania passed An Act for the Better Regulating of Negroes in this Province, providing more property rights to enslavers, limiting contact and freedom of "Free Negroes and Mulattoes," and requiring a payment to the government if an enslaved person were freed.


  • South Carolina laws required formerly enslaved people to leave the colony within three months or return to enslavement.


  • Freedom seekers establish a permanent settlement at Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, Florida.


  • A few White citizens in Georgia petition the governor to end bringing Africans to the colony, calling enslavement a moral wrong.


  • After trials for conspiracy to burn down New York City, 13 African American men were burned at the stake, 17 African American men were hanged, and two White men and two White women were hanged. 
  • South Carolina passed more restrictive enslavement laws, permitting the killing of rebellious enslaved people by their enslavers, banning the teaching of reading and writing to enslaved people, and prohibiting enslaved people from earning money or gathering in groups.


  • Lucy Terry wrote "Bar's Fight," the first known poem by an African American. It was not published until after Phillis Wheatley's poems were, passed down orally until 1855. The poem was about a Native American raid on Terry's Massachusetts town.

1753 or 1754

  • Phillis Wheatley born (enslaved African, poet, first published African American writer).


  • Virginia's new voting law specifies that only White men may vote.


  • Phillis Wheatley's book of poems, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, was published in Boston and then in England, making her the first published African American writer, and the second book by a woman to be published in the land which was about to become the United States.


  • Vermont, establishing itself as a free republic, outlawed enslavement in its constitution, allowing indentured servitude "bound by their own consent." It's this provision that grounds the claim of Vermont to be the first state in the United States to outlaw enslavement.

1780 - 1781

  • Massachusetts, the first New England colony to legally establish enslavement, found in a series of court cases that the practice was "effectively abolished" when African American men (but not women) had the right to vote. Freedom came, in fact, more slowly, including some enslaved Africans becoming indentured. By 1790, the federal census showed no enslaved people in Massachusetts.


  • (December 5) Phillis Wheatley died (poet, enslaved African; first published African American writer)


  • Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Mary, joins him in Paris, with Sally Hemings, likely his wife's enslaved half-sister, accompanying Mary to Paris


  • Vermont was admitted to the Union as a state, preserving a ban on enslavement in its constitution.


  • Sarah Moore Grimke born (North American 19th-century Black activist, women's rights proponent)


  • (January 3) Lucretia Mott born (Quaker activist and women's rights advocate)


  • (October 5, 1795) Sally Hemings gives birth to daughter, Harriet, who dies in 1797. She will give birth to four or five more children, likely fathered by Thomas Jefferson. Another daughter, Harriet, born in 1801, will disappear into White society.

about 1797

  • Sojourner Truth (Isabella Van Wagener) born (abolitionist, women's rights proponent, minister, lecturer)

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[1492-1699] [1700-1799] [1800-1859] [1860-1869] [1870-1899] [1900-1919] [1920-1929] [1930-1939] [1940-1949] [1950-1959] [1960-1969] [1970-1979] [1980-1989] [1990-1999] [2000-]

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Your Citation
Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Black History and Women Timeline 1700-1799." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2020, August 26). Black History and Women Timeline 1700-1799. Retrieved from Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Black History and Women Timeline 1700-1799." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).