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Simply Heavenly

Musique: Margaret Martin
Paroles: Langston Hughes
Livret: Langston Hughes

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This history contains major events in the social history of African Americans, interspersed with the publication of major works by Black authors, poets and playwrights and biographical details from the life of Langston Hughes. It will hopefully show the history that Langston Hughes was drawing on while writing Simply Heavenly and how race relations progressed after its premiere. This history is a compiled, expanded and edited version of several chronologies from the internet, as listed in the bibliography.

Bold type indicates a key event in the history or literary heritage of African Americans, or an important event in the life of Langston Hughes. Italics indicate the title of a publication or play, followed by its author. The year listed is the year of publication for books and of premiere performances for theatre, unless otherwise noted.

1619 The first Africans arrive in the American Colonies. Twenty indentured servants (bound to work without wages) are captured in Africa and then sold in an auction in Jamestown, Virginia. White indentured servants can earn their freedom after four to seven years. Most of the Black servants do not have this opportunity.
1637 A Dutchman called Hendrick de Forest establishes a village to the north of Manhattan. He names it after a Dutch town called Haarlem.
1638 The New England slave trade begins with the shipment of Native American slaves to the West Indies, where they are exchanged for Africans and goods.
1664 First law prohibiting marriage between English women and Black men enacted in Maryland; the other colonies will pass similar laws.
1760 An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penitential Cries, by Jupiter Hammon, a New York slave and probably the first published Black poet.
1773 Massachusetts slaves petition the legislature for freedom.
Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley.
1776 Declaration of American Independence adopted on 4 July. A section denouncing the slave trade was deleted.
1777 Vermont becomes the first American colony to abolish slavery. Other Northern states followed over the next two decades.
1791 Beginning of the Haitian Revolution.
1804 Jean Jacques Dessalines proclaims the independence of Haiti, which becomes the second republic in the Western Hemisphere.
The first of a series of Northern Black Laws is passed by the Ohio legislature. These restrict the rights and movement of free Black people in the North.
1807 Congress bans the slave trade.
1820 Missouri Compromise enacted. It prohibits slavery to the north of the southern boundary of Missouri.
1823 King Shotaway, by James Brown, first known play by a Black playwright.
1827 Freedom's Journal, the first Black newspaper, is published in New York City.
Slavery abolished in New York State.
1834 Slavery abolished in the British Empire.
1837 La Mulatre, by Victor Séjour, the earliest known work of African American fiction.
1845 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass, one of the most eminent Abolitionists of the century.
1850 Fugitive Slave Act passed by Congress, which provides for the seizure and return of runaway slaves fleeing from one state to another.
1853 Clotel, by William Wells Brown, the first novel by an African American.
1854 The Kansas-Nebraska Act repeals the Missouri Compromise and opens Northern territory to slavery.
1855 John Mercer Langston, Hughes' great-great-grand uncle is one of the first African Americans to be elected to public office.
1857 Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court opens Northern territory to slavery and denies citizenship to African Americans.
1858 The Escape, by William Wells Brown, the first play by a Black American to be published.
1859 The militant abolitionist John Brown sets out for Harpers Ferry with five Black men (including Langston Hughes' grandmother's first husband) and 16 white men in an attempt to assist runaway slaves and launch attacks on slaveholders. Met by a local militia many die, the rest are arrested, tried and executed.
1860 Abraham Lincoln is elected president: South Carolina declares itself an 'independent commonwealth.'
1862 Congress abolishes slavery in Washington.
1863 Emancipation Proclamation issued by US President Abraham Lincoln on 1 January, 1863, that frees the slaves of the Confederate states in rebellion against the Union.
1865 The Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery.
1867 The Fourteenth Amendment extends the Bill of Rights to individuals, thus preventing states from depriving individuals of federally guaranteed rights.
1870 The Fifteenth Amendment guarantees the right to vote to all men of all races (women do not get the vote until 1920).
1875 Civil Rights Bill gives African Americans the right to equal treatment in inns, public transportation, etc.
1870-95 Many African Americans gain elective office, but at the same time there are outbreaks of violence against Black people in the South.
1880 Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings, by Joel Chandler Harris.
1881 Segregation of Public Transport. Tennessee segregates railroad cars, establishing a trend that spread through 13 states over the next 30 years.
An Autobiography of the Reverend Josiah Henson ('Uncle Tom').
1882-96 More than 1200 reported lynchings of African Americans.
1890 Clarence and Corinne; or, God's Way, by Mrs A E Johnson.
1896 The doctrine of 'separate but equal' upheld by the Supreme Court, 18 May in the case of Plessy v Ferguson. The ruling initiates the age of Jim Crow legislation, a nickname for all segregation laws based on a character from the Black-faced minstrel shows.
The Suppression of the African Slave Trade, by W E B DuBois, eminent sociologist and one of the most important Black protest leaders of the first half of the 20th Century, who would later lecture Lorraine Hansberry at University.
Lyrics of Lowly Life, by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
1896-1906 800 reported lynchings of African Americans.
1898 Spanish-American War. Sixteen regiments of Black volunteers recruited in the course of the war. US gains the Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands. Five Black soldiers win Congressional Medals of Honour.
1899 The Conjure Woman and Other Tales, by Charles W. Chesnutt.
1900 A riot breaks out in Hell's Kitchen between Irish and Black communities over the death of a white police officer, provoking a mass migration of Black New Yorkers to Harlem.
Census - US Population: 76,994,575, Black Population: 8,833,944 (11.6%).
Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, composed by James Weldon Johnson and J Rosamond Johnson, will become a Black anthem.
1901 Up From Slavery, by Booker T Washington, educator and reformer, who, this year, becomes the first Black man to be invited to dine at the White House.
1902 Langston Hughes born in Joplin Missouri
1903 The Souls of Black Folk, by W E B DuBois, in it he rejects the gradualism of Booker T Washington, calling for agitation on behalf of African American rights.
1905 The Niagara Movement, led by DuBois, demands abolition of all distinctions based on race.
1906 Race riots in Atlanta and Philadelphia.
1909 National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) founded on 12 February, the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, with the intention of promoting the use of the courts to restore the legal rights of African Americans.
1910 Crisis, first issue published by DuBois, sponsored by the NAACP
Segregated Neighbourhoods. On 19 December, the City Council of Baltimore approves the first city ordinance designating the boundaries of Black and white neighbourhoods. This ordinance was copied by nine other cities.
1911 The National Urban League formed to help African Americans secure equal employment.
1912 W C Handy's Memphis Blues, the first blues composition to published.
The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, by James Weldon Johnson.
1912 Harriet Tubman, dies 10 March. A bondwoman who escaped from slavery in the South, she became a leading Abolitionist before the American Civil War. She led hundreds of bondsmen to freedom in the North along the route of the Underground Railroad - an elaborate secret network of safe houses organised for that purpose.
Woodrow Wilson's administration begins segregating Blacks and whites in government departments.
1915 Renowned African American spokesman, Booker T. Washington dies, 14 November. The Ku Klux Klan, a secret society based on the principles of white supremacy and segregation and responsible for many of the lynchings of Black men and women, receives a charter from the Fulton County, Georgia, Superior Court. The organisation spreads quickly, reaching its height in the 1920s, when it has an estimated 4 million members.
Great Migration begins. Approximately 2 million African Americans from the Southern states move to northern industrial centres during the following decades, looking for relief from racism and seeking better jobs and schools. The migration increases during the First World War when jobs opened up in war production industries. It continues through to the 1960s. In 1890 85% of the Black population lived in the South. By 1960 that number had been reduced to 42%.
1916 Rachel, a play by Angelina W Grinké is a great success.
1917 United States enters World War I.
Major race riots in East St Louis, Illinois.
More than 10,000 African Americans march down Fifth Avenue in New York City in a silent parade to protest lynchings and racial indignities, organised by the NAACP.
Race riots in Houston lead to the hanging of 13 Black soldiers.
1918 World War I ends. Official records indicate that 370,000 Black soldiers and 1400 Black commissioned officers participated, more than half of them in the European Theatre. Three Black regiments - the 369th, 371st, and 272nd - receive the Croix de Guerre for valour. The 369th was the first American regiment to reach the Rhine.
1919 DuBois organizes the first Pan-African conference in Paris.
The 'Red Summer'; a total of 26 race riots in Charleston, Washington, Chicago, Arkansas, and Texas. In Chicago, on 27 July a young Black man, Eugene Williams flees a fight between Black and white gangs on 29th Street Breach by swimming out into the water where he became exhausted and drowned. A rumour that he had been stoned to death provokes five days of rioting, resulting in the deaths of 23 African Americans, 15 white people and injuring a further 291 people.
1920 Marcus Garvey launches the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Harlem; the first mass movement for African Americans. He addresses a crowd of 25,000 in Madison Square Garden.
1922 A federal anti-lynching bill is killed by filibuster (a speech by a senator that lasts so long it obstructs the progress of the bill) in the Senate, the same year as 51 African Americans are known to have been lynched. Martial law is declared in Oklahoma as a result of activities by the Klu Klux Klan.
Cane, by Jean Toomer.
1923 There is Confusion, by Jessie Fauset and Fire in the Flint, by Walter White.
1924 Langston Hughes returns to Harlem
The Civic Club Dinner held, marking the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance, a remarkable period of creativity for Black writers, poets and artists (see page 46).
Carter G. Woodson organises the first Negro History Week celebration in the second week of February to include the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and the generally accepted birthday of Frederick Douglass.
1925 Alain Locke edits an issue of Survey Graphic filling it with Black art, literature and folklore, declaring a ‘New Negro’ movement.
Malcolm Little (later Malcolm X) born on 19 May in Omaha, Nebraska. Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters is organised; A Philip Randolph elected president. The BSCP is the first union of Black workers, at a time when half the affiliates of the American Federation of Labour barred Black people from membership.
Louis Armstrong records the first of Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings that influenced the direction of jazz.
40,000 Klu Klux Klan members parade in Washington
Colour, by Countee Cullen and The New Negro: An Interpretation by Alain Locke.
The Weary Blues, by Langston Hughes and Blues: An Anthology, edited by W C Handy.
1926 Duke Ellington opens at the Cotton Club in Harlem.
Congaree Sketches, by Edward C L Adams and Walls of Jericho by Rudolph Fisher.’
'The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountian' by Langston Hughes
1928 Nigger to Nigger, by Edward C L Adams, Quicksand, by Nella Larsen and
Home to Harlem, by Claude McKay.
1929 Martin Luther King, Jr, born on 15 January in Atlanta. Later to become Dr King.
The stock market crashes on 19 October, beginning the Great Depression and marking the end of the Harlem Renaissance. By 1937, 26% of Black males are unemployed.
The Blacker the Berry, by Wallace Thurman.
1930 Black population of Harlem has reached 180,000.
Langston Hughes publishes his first novel Not Without Laughter
1931 First Scottsboro trial begins in Scottsboro, Alabama on 6 April. Nine Black youths are accused of raping two white women on a freight train. The blatant injustice of the case outrages the public throughout the 1930s.
Black No More, by George Schuyler.
1932 A Southern Road, by Sterling A Brown and The Conjure Man Dies: A Mystery Tale of Dark Harlem, by Rudolph Fisher.
Langston Hughes spends a year in the Soviet Union.
1934 Jonah's Gourd Vine, by Zora Neale Hurston.
1935 Joe Louis, the Black boxer, defeats Primo Carnera at Yankee Stadium.
National Council of Negro Women founded in New York; Mary McLeod Bethune, President.
Mulatto, by Langston Hughes, a Broadway hit.
1936 Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Olympics in Berlin, in defiance of Hitler's Aryan-supremacist propaganda.
Black Thunder, by Arna Bontempls.
1937 Joe Louis becomes heavyweight boxing champion.
Bessie Smith, one of the great blues singers, dies.
Uncle Tom's Children, by Richard Wright.
1938 James Weldon Johnson, poet, diplomat and anthologist of Black culture, dies.
Marian Anderson performs before 75,000 at the Lincoln Monument. Her concert is scheduled in protest of the decision made by the Daughters of the American Revolution to forbid, for reasons of race, Ms Anderson to sing in Constitution Hall.
1940 Marcus Garvey dies in London.
President Roosevelt issues a statement that segregation is the policy in the US armed forces.
Native Son, by Richard Wright.
Langston Hughes publishes the first volume of his auto-biography, The Big Sea.
1941 US enters World War II.
President Roosevelt, responding to pressure from Black leaders, issues an Executive Order forbidding racial and religious discrimination in war industries, governmental training programs, and governmental industries.
First US Army flying school for Black cadets established at Tuskegee.
The first of many serious racial incidents between Black and white soldiers and Black soldiers and white civilians; these continue throughout the war. Ferdinand ‘Jelly Roll’ Morton, jazz composer and pianist who pioneered the use of prearranged, semi-orchestrated effects in jazz-band performances, dies.
The Negro Caravan, by Sterling Brown, Arthur P Davis and Ulysses Lee.
1942 Congress of Race Equality (CORE) organised in Chicago. It advocates direct, non-violent action. The National CORE is organised in 1943.
Negro Digest, first issue published by John H Johnson.
1943 Race riots in Detroit, Harlem, and elsewhere.
Thomas W ‘Fats’ Waller, pianist, composer and one of the few jazz musicians to achieve commercial fame, dies.
Jesse B Semple introduced to the readers of Langston Hughes' column ‘From Here to Yonder’ in the Chicago Defender.
1944 United Negro College Fund is founded by Frederick D Patterson, President of Tuskegee University. The fund goes on to become America's oldest and most successful African American higher education assistance organisation.
Adam Clayton Powel, prominent Black activist, is elected to Congress.
Rendezvous with America, by Melvin Tolson.
1945 President Roosevelt dies.
United Nations founded.
Germany surrenders on 8 May, V-E Day. Japan surrenders on 2 September, V-J Day, ending World War II. Total of 1,154,720 Black Americans were inducted or drafted into the armed services during the war.
White students in various metropolitan areas protest against integration in the schools.
Brooklyn Dodgers sign Jackie Robinson, the first Black man to play major league baseball.
Ebony, first issue published by John H. Johnson, Lay My Burden Down, by B A Botkin, A Street in Bronzeville, by Gwendolyn Brooks and If He Hollers, Let Him Go, by Chester Himes.
1946 Supreme Court bans segregation on interstate bus travel.
The Street, by Ann Petry and The Foxes of Harrow, by Frank Yerby.
1947 Widespread violence against Black Americans, especially returning soldiers.
CORE sends 23 Black and white Freedom Riders through the South to test compliance with court orders.
Knock on Any Door, by Willard Motley.
1948 President Truman issues an Executive Order directing equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed forces.
1950 Simple Speaks His Mind, a collection of stories based around Hughes' creation Jess B Semple published.
Gwendolyn Brooks receives Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Ralph Bunche receives Nobel Prize for his successful mediation of the Palestine conflict.
Americans from Africa, by Saunders Redding.
1951 Jet Magazine, founded by John H Johnson.
Montage of a Dream Deferred, a book of poetry by Langston Hughes
1952 In the 1950s, school segregation was widely accepted throughout the nation. In fact, it was required by law in most southern states. In 1952, the Supreme Court heard a number of school-segregation cases, including Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
University of Tennessee admits first Black student.
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, Review by Saul Bellow, Libretto for the Republic of Liberia, by Melvin B Tolson.
1953 Simple Takes a Wife, the novel Simply Heavenly is based on, is published.
The movement of Black families into Trumbull Park housing project in Chicago, 4 August, triggers virtually continuous rioting lasting more than three years and requires over one thousand policemen to maintain order.
Langston Hughes is forced to testify at the McCarthy hearings.
Go Tell It to the Mountain, by James Baldwin.
1954 Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v Board of Education declares segregation in public schools unconstitutional - "Separate is not equal". School integration begins in Washington and Baltimore.
Defence Department announces elimination of all segregated regiments in the armed forces.
Youngblood, by John O Killens.
1955 Marian Anderson debuts at the Metropolitan Opera House, the first Black singer in the company's history. Supreme Court orders school integration "with all deliberate speed."
Emmet Till, aged 14, kidnapped and lynched in Money, Mississippi on 28 August.
Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks, a 43 year old Black seamstress, is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. The following night, fifty leaders of the Negro community meet at Dexter Ave Baptist Church to discuss the issue. Among them is the young minister, Martin Luther King. The leaders organise the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which deprives the bus company of 65% of its income, but also results in a $500 fine or 386 days in jail for Martin Luther King. He pays the fine, and eight months later, the Supreme Court decides, based on the school segregation cases, that bus segregation violates the constitution.
Richard J Daley elected Mayor of Chicago and holds the office for an unprecedented 14 years and 3 days.
1956 Home of Martin Luther King is bombed on 30 January.
First Black student admitted to the University of Alabama on 3 February. She is suspended after a riot on 7 February and expelled on 29 February.
Nat King Cole attacked on stage in Birmingham, Alabama by white supremacists.
Bus Boycott begins in Tallahassee.
Federal court rules that racial segregation on Montgomery city buses violates the Constitution. Supreme Court upholds the decision several months later.
1957 Simply Heavenly opens in May at the auditorium of the Order of the True Sisters on West 85th Street. When the theatre is closed due to building violations it transfers to Broadway.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) organised; Martin Luther King president.
Prayer Pilgrimage, the biggest civil rights demonstration to date, held in Washington.
Civil Rights Act of 1957 passes Congress, giving the Justice Department the authority to seek injunctions against voting rights infractions.
Desegregation at Little Rock, Arkansas. Little Rock Central High School is to begin the 1957 school year desegregated. On 2 September, the night before the first day of school, Governor Faubus announces that he has ordered the Arkansas National Guard to monitor the school the next day. When a group of nine Black students arrive at Central High on 3 September, they are kept from entering by the National Guardsmen. On 20 September, Judge Davies grants an injunction against Governor Faubus and three days later the group of nine students return to Central High School. Although the students are not physically injured, a mob of 1,000 townspeople prevent them from remaining at school. Finally, President Eisenhower orders 1,000 paratroopers and 10,000 National Guardsmen to Little Rock, and on 25 September, Central High School is desegregated.
Corner Boy, by Herbert Simmons.
1958 The first riots involving Black people in Great Britain take place in Nottingham and Notting Hill.
Members of the NAACP begin sitting at lunch counters reserved for white people in Oklahoma city, in protest at segregation.
Stride Toward Freedom, by Martin Luther King.
1959 A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry (at the age of 26) premieres; the first Broadway play by a Black woman, winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.
Prince Edward County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors closes the county's schools in an attempt to prevent integration.
Brown Girl, Brownstones, by Paule Marshall.
1960 Sit-in Campaigns. After having been refused service at the lunch counter of a Woolworth's in Greensboro, North Carolina, Joseph McNeill, a Black college student, returns with three friends and refuses to leave until they are served, which they are not. The four students return to the lunch counter each day. When an article in the New York Times draws attention to the students' protest, they are joined by more students, both Black and white, and students across the nation are inspired to launch similar protests.
Student protest marches spread; white police forces and white civilians respond with violence. By March, more than 1,000 are arrested.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organised at Shaw University, North Carolina.
President Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 on 6 May, an attempt to protect the rights of Black voters.
John F Kennedy elected President.
The Bean Eaters, by Gwendolyn Brooks and The Angry Ones, by John A Williams.
1961 SNCC launches Jail-in movement ('Jail, no Bail.').
Thirteen Freedom Riders take a bus trip through the South as part of a campaign to try to end the segregation of bus terminals. On 14 May, the bus is bombed and burned. Robert F Kennedy sends four hundred federal marshals to Montgomery to keep order. Hundreds of protesters, including Martin Luther King, are arrested and beaten.
Preface to a 20 Volume Suicide Note, by LeRoi Jones.
1962 University of Mississippi Riot. President Kennedy orders Federal Marshals to escort James Meredith, the first Black student to enrol at the University of Mississippi, to campus. A riot breaks out and before the National Guard can arrive to reinforce the marshals, two students are killed.
Martin Luther King is jailed in Albany, Georgia.
Several Black churches are burned.
A Ballad of Remembrance, Robert Hayden and Portrait of a Young Man Drowning, by Charles Perry.
1963 Medgar Evers, Black civil rights activist, is assassinated on 12 June, becoming a martyr for the Black Civil Rights Movement.
National Guard troops brought to Boston because of protests against integration.
W E B DuBois dies on 27 August.
March on Washington. Despite worries that few people would attend and that violence could erupt, A Philip Randolf and Bayard Rustin organises the historic event that will come to symbolise the civil rights movement when 250,000 people march on Washington on 28 August. A reporter from the Times wrote, “no one could ever remember an invading army quite as gentle as the two hundred thousand civil rights marchers who occupied Washington.”
Church Bombing. Birmingham, Alabama is one of the most severely segregated cities in the 1960s. Black men and women hold sit-ins at lunch counters where they are refused service, and ‘kneel-ins’ on church steps where they were denied entrance. Hundreds of demonstrators are fined and imprisoned. Martin Luther King, the Reverend Abernathy and the Reverend Shuttlesworth lead a protest march in Birmingham. The protestors are met with policemen and dogs. The three ministers are arrested and taken to Southside Jail.
More than 225,000 students boycott Chicago schools on 22 October to protest against the continuation of segregation in everything but name.
John F Kennedy assassinated on 22 November.
Letter from Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King and The Learning Tree, by Gordon Parks.
1964 24th Amendment eliminates poll tax requirements in federal elections. Previously failure to pay the tax had meant forfeiting voting rights and impoverished African Americans were widely effected by this.
Muhammad Ali defeats Sonny Liston on 25 February.
Malcolm X resigns from the Nation of Islam on 12 March.
Civil Rights bill signed by President Johnson on 2 July.
Malcolm X founds the Organization for African American Unity on 28 June.
Race riots in Harlem, Brooklyn, Rochester, Jersey City, Philadelphia.
Martin Luther King receives Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December.
Catherine Carmier, by Ernest J Gaines, The Dead Lecturer, by LeRoi Jones and Why We Can't Wait, by Martin Luther King.
1965 Martin Luther King begins a voter registration drive in Selma. King and more than 100 others are arrested on 1 February.
Malcolm X assassinated on 21 February.
Bloody Sunday. Outraged over the killing of a demonstrator by a state trooper in Marion, Alabama, the Black community of Marion decide to hold a march. Martin Luther King agrees to lead the marchers on Sunday, 7 March, from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital, where they will appeal directly to governor Wallace to stop police brutality and call attention to their struggle for suffrage. When Governor Wallace refuses to allow the march, Martin Luther King goes to Washington to speak with President Johnson, delaying the demonstration until 8 March. However, the people of Selma cannot wait and they begin the march on Sunday. When the marchers reach the city line, they find a posse of state troopers waiting for them. As the demonstrators cross the bridge leading out of Selma, they are ordered to disperse, but the troopers do not wait for their warning to be headed. They immediately attack the crowd of people who have bowed their heads in prayer. Using tear gas and batons, the troopers chase the demonstrators to a Black housing project, where they continue to beat the demonstrators as well as residents of the project who have not been at the march. Bloody Sunday receives national attention, and numerous marches were organised in response. Martin Luther King leads a march to the Selma bridge that Tuesday, during which one protestor is killed. Finally, with President Johnson's permission, Martin Luther King leads a successful march from Selma to Montgomery on 25 March. President Johnson gives a rousing speech to congress concerning civil rights as a result of Bloody Sunday, and passed the Voting Rights Act within that same year.
President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Bill on 6 August, authorising the end of literacy tests for voting.
Riots in Watts and Chicago.
The Promised Land, by Claude Brown, The System of Dante's Hell, by LeRoi Jones, Harlem Gallery, by Melvin B Tolson and Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley.
1966 Julian Bond, Black civil rights leader, is denied his seat in Georgia House of Representatives because of his opposition to the Vietnam War.
First world festival of Black art is held in Dakar, Senegal. Langston Hughes is hailed as a historic artistic figure.
Martin Luther King denounces the Vietnam War.
Stokely Carmichael named chairman of SNCC.
James Meredith is wounded by sniper during the Memphis-to-Jackson voter registration march. Carmichael launches the Black Power Movement during the same march.
Race riots in Chicago, Lansing, Milwaukee, Dayton, Atlanta and nearly forty other cities.
Huey Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party in Oakland.
Selected Poems, by Robert Hayden, Home, by LeRoi Jones, Jubilee, Margaret Walker.
1967 Langston Hughes dies of cancer at the age of 65.
Julian Bond is finally seated in the Georgia legislature.
Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr, is expelled from the House of Representatives for refusing to pay damages having lost a libel case. Harlem voters defy Congress and re-elect Powell.
H Rap Brown replaces Stokely Carmichael as chair of SNCC.
Thurgood Marshall becomes the first Black man appointed to the Supreme Court.
Race riots in Roxbury, Tampa, Cincinnati.
Muhammad Ali convicted for refusing induction into the army on religious grounds; sentenced to five years of prison and stripped of his titles, overturned by the Supreme Court in 1971.
Newark Rebellion; racial tension causes riots which spread to other New Jersey cities. Riots in numerous cities across the nation. National Guard called out.
75 major riots during the year.
Tales, by LeRoi Jones, The Free-Lance Pall Bearers, by Ishmael Reed and A Glance Away, by John E Wideman.
1968 Kerner Commission Report states that white racism is the fundamental cause of the riots in the cities.
Martin Luther King announces in March plans for Poor People's Campaign in Washington, scheduled for 20 April but he is assassinated in Memphis on 4 April. Riots ensue throughout the country.
Robert F Kennedy assassinated on 6 June.
Richard M Nixon elected President on 5 November.
Soul on Ice, by Eldridge Cleaver, Bloodline, by Ernest J Gaines, Black Feeling, Black Talk, by Nikki Giovanni and The First Cities, by Audre Lorde.
1970 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, The Lives and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger, by Cecil Brown, I Am a Black Woman, by Mari Evans and Hurry Home, by John Edgar Wideman.
1974 Raisin! A musical version of A Raisin in the Sun premieres, adapted by Nemiroff and Charlotte Zaltzberg. It wins a Tony Award.
1981 Claudia McNeil, who played Lena in the 1959 prodcution of A Raisin in the Sun plays the role in a revival of the musical version.
1989 A Raisin in the Sun, film starring Danny Glover.
1991 Mule Bone, the play co-written by Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston in 1930 only to be abandoned when they quarreled, is produced on Broadway, starring Robert Earl Jones.
2001 Young Vic produces A Raisin in the Sun at the same time as Hansberry's Les Blancs is revived at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
Little Ham, a musical based on Langston Hughes' play is produced off Broadway.
2002 Street Scene, the Kurt Weill musical Hughes wrote the lyrics for is revived in New York for an opera festival.
Halle Berry and Denzel Washington both win Oscars, the first time Black Americans win both the Best Actress and Best Actor awards in the same year.
2003 Young Vic brings Simply Heavenly to the London stage (for the first time since The Adelphi production 45 years ago).

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