Progress: Benjamin Franklin petitions Congress to abolish slavery.

Regress:Petition ridiculed, tabled. One month later, Naturalization Act of 1790 limits citizenship to whites.

Progress: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" passionately advocates for end of slavery...

Regress: ...and advances pervasive stereotypes: mammy, pickaninny, tragic mulatto, Uncle Tom.

Progress: Mexicans in New Mexico receive full U.S. citizenship after state’s admission to Union.

Regress: Whites of Forsyth County, Georgia, violently drive out nearly 1,100 of their black neighbors.

Progress: W.E.B. Du Bois publishes "The Negro," seminal history of African and African American people and their achievements in America.

Regress: D.W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation portrays black men as unintelligent and sexually aggressive toward white women; emboldens Ku Klux Klan.

Progress: Nineteenth Amendment gives women right to vote.

Regress: Most African American women, like African American men, prevented from voting in Southern states.

Progress: National Labor Relations Act guarantees right to organize and form unions.

Regress: Act excludes farm and domestic jobs, historically held by African Americans and Latinos.

Progress: Bracero Program invites Mexican citizens to work temporarily in U.S.

Regress: President Roosevelt authorizes mass internment of more than 120,000 Japanese American citizens and documented immigrants.

Progress: In Brown v. Board of Education, Supreme Court unanimously rules segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

Regress: Immigration and Naturalization Service institutes "Operation Wetback" to deport undocumented Mexicans living in U.S.

Progress: Rosa Parks keeps seat on bus.

Regress: Emmett Till murdered for whistling at white woman who, decades later, will admit to false testimony.

Progress: Some 250,000 attend March on Washington, hear Martin Luther King Jr. deliver "I Have a Dream" speech.

Regress: Klan members bomb 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four black girls in Sunday school.

Progress: President Johnson signs Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin.

Regress: Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman murdered by Klansmen in Mississippi.

Progress: In Loving v. Virginia, Supreme Court rules prohibiting interracial marriage unconstitutional.

Regress: During "Long Hot Summer," race riots erupt across U.S., killing dozens, injuring thousands, setting stage for historic violence of 1968.

Progress: President Bush proposes "guest worker" plan permitting undocumented immigrants working in U.S. to apply for temporary status...

Regress: ...but allows U.S. Border Patrol agents to deport them with no hearing before immigration judge.

Progress: Sonia Sotomayor becomes first Latina Supreme Court justice.

Regress: Harvard professor, renowned scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrested on suspicion of breaking and entering—at his own home.

Progress: Federal courts halt enforcement of President Trump’s order effectively banning Muslim immigrants from seven countries.

Regress:Trump signs revised order; stays silent in face of increasing violence against mosques; moves forward on Dakota Access Pipeline, Mexican border wall....

Photos (from top): U.S. National Archives And Records Administration (2). Joseph Wright Of Derby/Art Images/Getty Images. Chris Dorney/Alamy Stock. Universal History Archive/Uig Via Getty Images. Dorothea Lange/Library Of Congress. Loc/Alamy. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images. The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images. Chase Swift/Corbis/Getty Images. Jemal Countess/Getty Images. Kena Betancur/Afp/Getty Images.

Want more stories like this delivered to your inbox? Sign up for the Oprah.com Inspiration Newsletter!


Next Story