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)
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Your Citation
Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Black History and Women Timeline 1990 to 1999." ThoughtCo, Nov. 8, 2020, Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2020, November 8). Black History and Women Timeline 1990 to 1999. Retrieved from Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Black History and Women Timeline 1990 to 1999." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 1, 2023).