Black History and Women Timeline 1970-1979

African American History and Women Timeline

Barbara Jordan
Barbara Jordan. Nancy R. Schiff / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1970

  • Cheryl Adrienne Brown, Miss New York, became the first African American contestant in the Miss America pageant
  • (January 14) Diana Ross performs for the last time with the Supremes, and introduces Jean Terrell as her replacement with the group
  • (August 7) Angela Davis, radical black activist and philosopher, was arrested as a suspected conspirator in the abortive attempt to free George Jackson from a courtroom in Marin County, California
  • first issue of Essence published, a magazine targeted at black women

1971

  • (January 11) Mary J. Blige born (singer)
  • Beverly Johnson appears on the cover of Glamour, the first African American woman to be featured that way by a major fashion magazine
  • The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) founded, an evolution from the Democratic Select Committee founded in 1969. Shirley Chisholm was the only woman among the first 13 members.

1972

  • Mahalia Jackson died (gospel singer)
  • Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman candidate for President, with more than 150 delegate votes at the 1972 Democratic convention
  • Barbara Jordan elected to Congress, the first African American woman from a former Confederate state to be elected to the House
  • Yvonne Braithwaite Burke elected to Congress, the first black woman elected to the House from California
  • Patricia Roberts Harris became chair of the Democratic National Convention; Yvonne Braithwaite Burke was co-chair of the convention
  • Haitian boat people begin arriving in Florida
  • Angela Davis acquitted in California by an all-white jury of charges from a 1970 shootout
  • (January 27) Mahalia Jackson died (singer)
  • (July 7) Lisa Leslie born (basketball player)

1973

  • Eleanor Holmes Norton and others found the National Black Feminist Organization.
  • Marion Wright Edelson creates the Children's Defense Fund.
  • Cardiss Collins elected to Congress from a Chicago district, succeeding her husband

1974

  • Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to Congress  
  • Alberta Williams King, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s mother, and a deacon, were killed during services at Ebenezer Baptist Church

1975

  • Mary Bush Wilson becomes first African American woman board chair of the NAACP (the first chair, Mary White Ovington, was a white woman)
  • Joanne Little acquitted of murder charges - she had stabbed a jailer with an ice pick to avoid sexual assault
  • Leontyne Price awarded Italy's Order of Merit
  • (April 12) Josephine Baker died of a stroke

1976

  • Barbara Jordan was the first woman and the first African American to give the keynote address at a national convention of the Democratic Party
  • Janie L. Mines becomes the first African American woman to enter the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.
  • Clara Stanton Jones becomes the first African Amerian elected as President of the American Library Association
  • President Jimmy Carter appoints Patricia Harris as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the first African American woman selected for the cabinet.
  • Unita Blackwell elected mayor of Mayersville, becoming the first black woman mayor in Mississippi
  • gymnast Dominque Dawes born (won three Olympic medals)
  • (February 26) Florence Ballard dies of a heart attack, age 32.  She was one of the original Supremes.

1977

  • first African American woman ordained as an Episcopal priest: Pauli Murray
  • the Daughters of the American Revolution admitted the first African American member, Karen Farmer, who traced her ancestry back to William Hood
  • Mabel Murphy Smythe appointed as ambassador to Cameroon
  • (September 1) Ethel Waters died, age 80 (singer, actress)

1978

  • Faye Wattleton became president of the Planned Parenthood Federation -- the first woman and the first African American to hold that position
  • United States Postal Service issued a stamp honoring Harriet Tubman.
  • Toni Morrison received the National Book Critics Award
  • Jill Brown, flying for Texas International Airlines, is the first black female pilot for any commercial airline
  • (March 29) Tina Turner divorces Ike Turner
  • (June 28) in University of California v. Backke, Supreme Court limits federal affirmative action

1979

  • Hazel Winifred Johnson became the first African American woman appointed as a general in the US Army
  • Patricia Harris, who had served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was appointed by President Carter as secretary of health, education and welfare
  • Bethune Museum and Archives established in Washington, DC
  • Lois Alexander opens the Black Fashion Museum in Harlem
  • Janie L. Mines becomes the first African American woman to enter the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.