we can't move forward if we don't know where we came from

Part of fully understanding the fight, is understanding how we got here. There are hundreds of resources to delve into and below we've linked some starting points. But just to begin with here are some key events in Black History for you to start with when researching, Google is about to become your BFF.


Disclaimer: I've started with UK and US History, but will build this out to include African and European History in particular. Feel free to send me any suggestions you want documented. 

Key British Black History Moments AND LEGISLATION

to go straight to african american history click here

  • 1919 uprisings in London, Cardiff and Liverpool

  • 1931 Dr Harold Moody establishes the League of Coloured Peoples

  • 1948 British Nationality Act

  • 1948 SS Empire Windrush arrives at Tilbury

  • 1958 uprisings in London and Nottingham

  • 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act

  • 1958-1966 Notting Hill Carnival begins (exact date is disputed)

  • 1963 Bristol bus boycott

  • 1965, 1968 and 1975 Race Relations Acts

  • 1967 British Black Panther party established

  • 1969 British Nigerian David Oluwale dies at the hands of the UK Police, the officers are found guilty of ABH

  • 1970 Trial of the Mangrove Nine

  • 1979 Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure (led to repeal of the ‘Sus laws’)

  • 1981 New Cross Fire. 13 Young Black people die, one survivor commits suicide a year later

  • 1981 Brixton uprisings and Lord Scarman report

  • 1993 Black British Teenager, Stephen Lawrence is killed in a racist attack 

  • 1998 Black former Footballer, Justin Fashanu commits suicide. Fashanu had been ousted by his family and crucified by the press after coming out as gay

  • 1999 Macpherson Report published following the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

  • 2008 Sean Rigg dies whilst being held down by police, in front of Brixton Station for 8 minutes

  • 2011 Mark Duggan is shot and killed by the police, inciting the London Uprisings

  • 2020 Belly Mujinga is spat on whilst working for TFL. She later dies from Covid 19 as a result of the assault

  • 2020 

Our British Black history goes back far more than this, this is a useful article.

It is in fact known that Black people were part of Britain since Roman times - more on that in this Guardian article and definitely Google Septimus Severus, an African Emperor who ruled here in the UK AD208 and rebuilt Hadrians Wall.

To search records on some of the the points above, head to this page on the National Archives where you can find out more.

@Das.Penman and @Judiffa made a great IG post that details what we weren't taught in school about Colonialism, Slavery, Civil Rights and Police Brutality

This Grazia article detail 5 points about Black British History you weren't taught in school.


Black British LGBTQ Heroes you should know.

African American History Timeline:

1619 - 2008

There is a lot of content to go through for African American History, but here are some of the most significant events, followed by websites where you can continue your research. 

  • 1619 The first African American indentured servants arrive in the American colonies. Less than a decade later, the first slaves are brought into New Amsterdam (later, New York City). By 1690, every colony has slaves.

  • 1688 The earliest record of protests against slavery is recorded by the Quakers

  • 1739 The Stono Rebellion, one of the earliest slave revolts, occurs in Stono, South Carolina.

  • 1793 Eli Whitney’s (1765 – 1825) cotton gin increases the need for slaves.

  • 1808 Congress bans further importation of slaves.

  • 1831 In Boston, William Lloyd Garrison (1805 – 1879) begins publication of the anti-slavery newspaper the Liberator and becomes a leading voice in the Abolitionist movement.

  • 1831 – 1861 Approximately 75,000 slaves escape to the North using the Underground Railroad.

  • 1846 Ex-slave Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) publishes the anti-slavery North Star newspaper.

  • 1848 Augustus Saint Gaudens (1848 – 1907) is born in Ireland. His family soon emigrates to the United States. 1849 Harriet Tubman (c. 1820 – 1913) escapes from slavery and becomes an instrumental leader of the Underground Railroad.

  • 1850 Congress passes another Fugitive Slave Act, which mandates government participation in the capture of escaped slaves. Boston citizens, including some of the wealthiest, storm a federal courthouse in an attempt to free escaped Virginia slave Anthony Burns (1834 – 1862).

  • 1857 The Dred Scot v. Sanford case: congress does not have the right to ban slavery in the states; slaves are not citizens. 1860 Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) is elected president, angering the southern states.

  • 1861 The Civil War begins.

  • 1863 Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation proclaims that all slaves in rebellious territories are forever free.

  • 1863 Massachusetts 54th regiment of African American troops led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (1837 – 1863) marches out of Boston on May 28th, heading into combat.

  • 1865 The Civil War ends. Lincoln is assassinated. Seventeen-year-old Augustus Saint Gaudens is so moved by the sight of Lincoln’s body lying in state that he views it twice. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting slavery, is ratified. The era of Reconstruction begins.

  • 1866 The “Black Codes” are passed by all white legislators of the former Confederate States. Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, conferring citizenship on African Americans and granting them equal rights to whites. The Ku Klux Klan is formed in Tennessee.

  • 1868 The 14th Amendment is ratified, defining citizenship. This overturns the Dred Scot decision.

  • 1870 The 15th Amendment is ratified, giving African Americans the right to vote.

  • 1877 The era of Reconstruction ends. A deal is made with southern democratic leaders which makes Rutherford B. Hayes (1822 – 1893) president in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the South, and puts an end to efforts to protect the civil rights of African Americans.

  • 1879 Thousands of African Americans migrate out of the South to escape oppression.

  • 1881 Tennessee passes the first of the “Jim Crow” segregation laws, segregating state railroads. Similar laws are passed over the next 15 years throughout the Southern states.

  • 1887 Augustus Saint Gaudens unveils the “Standing Lincoln” statue in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

  • 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case: racial segregation is ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court. The “Jim Crow” (“separate but equal”) laws begin, barring African Americans from equal access to public facilities.

  • 1897 Augustus Saint Gaudens unveils the Shaw Memorial in Boston Common.

  • 1921 The Tulsa Race Massacre happens

  • 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case: strikes down segregation as unconstitutional.

  • 1955 In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005) is arrested for breaking a city ordinance by refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man. This defiant act gives initial momentum to the Civil Rights Movement.

  • 1957 Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) and others set up the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a leading engine of the Civil Rights Movement.

  • 1958 African American, Clemmon King applies to the all White University of Mississippi. a Judge rules a black man must be insane to apply to think he can apply to university. He is sentenced to an asylum for two weeks.

  • 1964 The Civil Rights Act is signed, prohibiting discrimination of all kinds.

  • 1965 Malcolm X is murdered in the Audubon Theatre

  • 1965 The Voting Rights Act is passed, outlawing the practices used in the South to disenfranchise African American voters.

  • 1967 Edward W. Brooke (1919 - ) becomes the first African American U.S. Senator since Reconstruction. He serves two terms as a Senator from Massachusetts.

  • 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

  • 1968 Olympic teammates Tommie Smith and John Carlos give the Black power symbol during the awards ceremony. They were both suspended by the Olympic Committee and subjected to abuse in the U.S. However, that courageous show of solidarity made the 1968 Olympics one of the most memorable in history.

  • 1991 Rodney King is badly beaten by the LAPD.

  • 1992 All 4 officers involved are acquitted.

  • 1992 Malice Wayne Green is beaten by the police and dies later that night due to his injuries.

  • 1997 Abner Louima is sodomised by two Police Officers when in custody.

  • 1999 Amadou Diallo is shot 19 times by Police outside of his apartment.

  • 2006 Sean Bell is fatally shot the night before his wedding. - all officers are later acquitted.

  • 2008 Barack Obama (1961 - ) becomes the first African American to win the U.S. presidential race.

  • 2009 Oscar Grant is shot dead at Fruitvale station, he was unarmed.

  • 2012 Trayvon Martin is shot by Zimmerman - this sparks the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • 2014 Eric Garner is put in a chokehold and dies after repeatedly telling officers he can't breath.

  • 2014 John Crawford III  was shot and killed by Police Officers in a Walmart store for holding a BB Gun that was on sale. None of the Officers involved were charged.

  • 2014 Unarmed Michael Brown is shot dead by Police Officers.

  • 2015 Sandra Bland is arrested in a routine traffic stop and found hung in her cell 3 days later.

  • 2015 Walter Scott is shot dead by an officer after a broken brake light stop.

  • 2015 Freddie Gray dies after being arrested, cause of death is a spinal injury.

  • 2016 Philando Castile is shot and killed during a traffic stop.

  • 2016 Terence Crutcher is fatally shot by a police officer - he was unarmed.

  • 2020 Breonna Taylor is shot to death by Police Officers in her own home.

  • 2020 George Floyd is killed when a Police Officer uses force and kneels on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

  • 2020 Minneapolis City Council Unanimously Votes To Replace Police With Community-Led Model

  • 2020 David McAtee is shot and killed by Officers during BLM protests.

  • 2020 Robert Fully, Malcolm Harsch, Dominique Alexander and a Black teen are all found hanged in less than a month

10 little known African American History facts can be found here

National Archives for African American History can be found here

10 Black History documentaries to watch

17 Black History facts you should've been taught in school