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21st century



  • January 20 – Colin Powell becomes Secretary of State.


  • Cynthia McKinney introduces a proposed Martin Luther King Jr. Records Collection Act.


  • June 23 – The U.S. Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger upholds the University of Michigan Law School's admission policy. However, in the simultaneously heard Gratz v. Bollinger the university is required to change a policy.


  • June 21 – Edgar Ray Killen is convicted of participating in the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner.

  • October 15 – The Millions More Movement holds a march in Washington D.C.

  • October 25 – Rosa Parks dies at age 92. Her solitary action spearheaded the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. Her body lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. before interment.


  • March 26 – Capitol Hill police fail to recognize Cynthia McKinney as a member of Congress.


  • May 10 – Alabama state trooper James Bonard Fowler is indicted for the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson on February 18, 1965.

  • June 28 – Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 decided along with Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education prohibits assigning students to public schools solely for the purpose of achieving racial integration and declines to recognize racial balancing as a compelling state interest.

  • December 10 – U.S. Supreme Court rules 7–2 in Kimbrough v. United States that judges may deviate from federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine.


  • June 3 – Barack Obama receives enough delegates by the end of state primaries to be the presumptive Democratic Party of the United States nominee.

  • July 12 – Cynthia McKinney accepts the Green Party nomination in the Presidential race.

  • July 30 – United States Congress apologizes for slavery and "Jim Crow".

  • August 28 – At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, in a stadium filled with supporters, Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

  • November 4 – Barack Obama elected 44th President of the United States of America, opening his victory speech with, "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."


  • January 20 – Barack Obama sworn in and offered Sherrod a new the 44th President of the United States, the first African-American to become president.

  • January 30 – Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele becomes the first African-American Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

  • The U.S. Postal Service issues a commemorative six-stamp set portraying twelve civil rights pioneers.

  • October 6 – Judge Keith Bardwell refuses to officiate an interracial marriage in Louisiana.

  • October 9 – Barack Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


  • March 14 – Disney officially crowns its first African-American Disney Princess, Tiana.

  • July 19 – Shirley Sherrod first is pressured to resign from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and immediately thereafter receives its apology after she is inaccurately accused of being racist towards white Americans.

  • August 3 – Fair Sentencing Act reducing sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine to an 18:1 ratio.



  • January 14 – Michael Steele, the first African-American Chairman of the RNC lost his bid for re-election.

  • August 22 – The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. opens to the public, and is officially dedicated on October 16.

  • November 19 – Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.


  • February 26 – Shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.


  • January 20 – Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term as president.

  • March 9 – New York police officers shoot 16-year-old Kimani Gray, triggering weeks of protests in Brooklyn

  • May 9 – Malcolm Shabazz killed in Mexico.

  • May 2 – FBI promotes Assata Shakur to list of "most wanted terrorists".

  • June 24 – State of Florida v. George Zimmerman begins.

  • June 25 – The U.S. Supreme Court overturns part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder.

  • July 13 – George Zimmerman acquitted, provoking nationwide protests. The Black Lives Matter movement is created by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, in response to the ongoing racial profiling of and police brutality against young black men.


  • August 9 – Shooting of Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri is followed by demonstrations and protests which include the term "Hands up, don't shoot". Demonstrations focused on the incident, using the "Hands up" expression, are held across the U.S. and overseas.

  • July 17 – Eric Garner died in Staten Island, New York City, after a police officer put him in a chokehold for 15 seconds.


  • June 17 – Nine African Americans are killed in the Charleston Church Shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, S.C.

  • July 13 – Sandra Bland dies in jail, days after being pulled over for a traffic stop in Texas.

  • In the U.S. Supreme Court case Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 576 U.S. ___ (2015), the Court held that Congress specifically intended to include disparate impact claims in the Fair Housing Act, but that such claims require a plaintiff to prove it is the defendant's policies that cause a disparity. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race.

  • November 1 – Michael Bruce Curry becomes the first African-American Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (United States), having been elected by an overwhelming margin on the first ballot of the 78th General Convention the preceding June.


  • March 13 – Shooting of Breonna Taylor

  • May 25 – The killing of George Floyd leads to a cascade of protests with mottos such as I can't breathe and Defund the police, and the mass of removals of Confederate monuments and renaming of slave-trade memorials around the world.

  • May 25 – Central Park birdwatching incident, followed by Black Birders Week

  • June 12 – Killing of Rayshard Brooks

  • August 23 – Shooting of Jacob Blake

  • September 23--Grand Jury refuses to charge officers for Breonna Taylor's death

  • November 7--Kamala Harris officially became the first woman and woman of color to hold the office of United States Vice-President

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