Browse or search our African American History timeline. Events on the timeline include key moments in specific HistoryMaker's lives as well as important historical dates.

April 16, 2014
| The Honorable Basil Paterson Passed Away

Lawyer, city government appointee, state government appointee, and state senator The Honorable Basil Paterson passed away on this date at the age of 87.


April 16, 2012
| Walter L. Gordon, Jr. Passed Away

Civil rights attorney Walter L. Gordon, Jr. passed away on this date at the age of 103.


April 16, 2006
| Darwin N. Davis, Sr. Passed Away

Insurance executive Darwin N. Davis, Sr. passed away on this date at the age of 74.


April 16, 2001
| Trial of Suspected Killer of 4 Little Girls Begins

Jury selection began on this date in the Former KKK member Thomas Blanton, Jr.'s trial for allegedly bombing the 16th Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963, killing 4 little Black girls in the blast.


April 16, 1972
| James McLurkin is Born

Robotics engineer James McLurkin was born on this date.


April 16, 1961
| Anita J. Ponder is Born

Museum executive and city council member Anita J. Ponder was born on this date in Fort Valley, Georgia.


April 16, 1947
| Kareem Abdul-Jabar is Born

NBA Superstar and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabar was born on this date with the name Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. in New York City. Alcindor was an All-American in basketball at UCLA. He led his college team to three National Championships and a record of 88 wins to 2 losses. Alcindor was drafted into the NBA by the Milwaukee Bucks where he won one championship. He was traded to Los Angeles and teamed up with Earvin "Magic" Johnson to win another 5 championships. Jabar retired as a six-time League MVP and holds the record for the most points scored in a career.


April 16, 1928
| Earl Neal is Born

Trial lawyer Earl Neal was born on this date in Chicago, Illinois.


April 16, 1928
| Dr. John Cashin is Born

Political activist and dentist Dr. John Cashin was born on this date in Huntsville, Alabama.


April 16, 1917
| African Americans Fight in the Great War

The United States enters World War I, in which 370,000 African Americans are enlisted, 1,400 of whom are commissioned as officers. During the war, three black regiments receive the Croix de Guerre and many individual African Americans receive one or more decorations for their courage.