Black History and Women Timeline 1990 to 1999

Toni Morrison, 1994

Chris Felver / Getty Images

The following is a chronology of events and birthdates from 1990 to 1999 for Black American women and other women involved in Black American history.


  • Sharon Pratt Kelly elected mayor of Washington, DC, the first Black American mayor of a major American city
  • Roselyn Payne Epps became the first woman president of the American Medical Association
  • Debbie Turner became third Black American Miss America
  • Sarah Vaughan died (singer)


  • Clarence Thomas nominated for a seat on the US Supreme Court; Anita Hill, who had worked for Thomas in the federal government, testified about repeated sexual harassment, bringing the issue of sexual harassment to public attention (Thomas was confirmed as Justice)
  • Marjorie Vincent became the fourth Black American Miss America


  • (August 3) Jackie Joyner-Kersee became the first woman to win two Olympic heptathlons
  • (September 12) Mae Jemison, the astronaut, became the first Black American woman in space
  • (November 3) Carol Moseley Braun elected to the US Senate, the first Black American woman to hold that office
  • (November 17)  Audre Lorde died (poet, essayist, educator)
  • Rita Dove named the US Poet Laureate.


  • Rita Dove became the first Black American poet laureate
  • Toni Morrison became the first Black American winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • (September 7) Joycelyn Elders became the first Black American and first woman US Surgeon General
  • (April 8) Marian Anderson died (singer)


  • Kimberly Aiken became fifth Black American Miss America


  • (June 12) Supreme Court, in Adarand v. Pena, called for "strict scrutiny" before establishing any federal affirmative action requirements
  • Ruth J. Simmons installed as president of Smith College in 1995. becoming the first Black American president of one of the "Seven Sisters"



  • (June 23) Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, died of burns sustained in a June 1 fire in her home


  • DNA evidence was used to test the theory that Thomas Jefferson fathered the children of a woman he enslaved, Sally Hemings; most concluded that the DNA and other evidence confirmed the theory
  • (September 21) track and field great Florence Griffith-Joyner died (athlete; first Black American to win four medals in one Olympics; sister-in-law of Jackie Joyner-Kersee)
  • (September 26) Betty Carter died (jazz singer)


  • (November 4) Daisy Bates died (civil rights activist)