|Year||State and National Events||Slavery and Racial Issues||African American Institutions and Accomplishments|
The federal Civil Rights Act of 1875 is struck down – the government
may restrict states, but not individuals, from discrimination.
|Students meeting all the Peabody scholarship requirements can receive up to $200 per year for board and other college expenses.||
Leon Howard is
elected to represent Shelby County in the 43rd
General Assembly. He helps defeat
two blacks (one is Isaac Norris)
running on the Democratic ticket.
Ida B. Wells files a lawsuit against a large railroad
company for segregation on its cars. Thomas F. Cassels is
her first lawyer.
leaders from Tennessee meet in Nashville, warning the Republican
party that failure to support black causes will erode black commitment.
Samuel A. McElwee is chosen as a delegate to the Chicago Presidential Convention, which nominates James G. Blaine.
John Lynch is the first black to be elected chairman of the Republican National Convention.
A. Fields introduces House
Bill No. 119, making school
William Brimage Bate again urges legislation authorizing an
Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction, responsible for the education
of African American students.
The State School Board asks the General Assembly to repeal the act reducing the salary of the State Superintendent.
E. Evans (1848-1914) is elected
Republican representative from Shelby County to the 44th General
African American priest Samuel David Ferguson is ordained a bishop of the Episcopal church; he will serve until his death in 1916.
||The American Federation of Labor is organized, signaling the rise of the labor movement. Blacks are excluded from all major unions of the period.||The Sunday School Union, publishing the first Sunday
school literature by African Americans, moves to 206 Public Square in
This year will see the establishment of the first black-owned drug store in Nashville.
The State Board of Education submits payment for 61 African American
students who have received State Normal (Peabody) Scholarships.
Samuel A. McElwee receives a law degree from Central Tennessee College in Nashville.
Nashville’s first public black high school opens: Meigs Public School offers classes for 9th and 10th graders; 11th grade will be added in 1887-88.
Monroe W. Gooden (1848-1915),
the only Democrat among the
black legislators, represents Fayette county in the 45th Gen. Assembly.
A. McElwee makes a powerful speech in
support of the bill, demanding reform. The Judiciary Committee
offers a substitute bill. By a 41-36 vote, both bills are tabled.
Morristown Seminary and Normal Institute, Morristown, TN, is named
as eligible for Peabody Scholarship students “of African descent.”
Central Tennessee, Fisk, and Roger Williams urge the General Assembly
“to restore the former appropriations for colored scholarships to $3300.”
Linton Hutchins, a Republican, begins
his legislative term, representing Hamilton County in the 45th Gen.
Assembly from 1887-89.
Samuel A. McElwee, a Republican, is elected to a third term representing Haywood County. Gooden, Hutchins, and McElwee are the last African Americans elected to serve in the TN General Assembly until Memphis voters elect A. W. Willis in 1964, more than 75 years later.
Booker T. Washington invites Samuel A. McElwee to be commencement speaker at the 1887 graduation exercises of Tuskegee Institute.
Eatonville, Florida, becomes the first African American township to be incorporated into the United States.
A. McElwee is one of two Tennessee delegates
to the Republican Convention in Chicago. Thomas F. Cassels serves
as a Republican Presidential elector.
Two large African-American-owned banks open: the Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain United Order of the Reformers and Capital Savings Bank.
State School Board Secretary Frank Goodman protests
Assembly’s reduced appropriation for “colored normal scholarships” from
$3,300 to $1,500 per year, making each scholarship worth only $22.70.
According to the 1890 census, African Americans make
up 11.9% of the
U.S. population (7,488,676 of 62,947,714).
Black Northern Migration, between 1870 and 1930, drops the black
population of Tennessee from 25.6% to 18.3%.
The American Baptist Publication Society refuses to publish the writings of African American ministers because Southern readers object.
“Pitchfork Ben” Tillman is elected governor of South Carolina and calls
his victory “a triumph of ... white supremacy.”
The Mississippi Plan becomes law on this date. It uses literacy and
“understanding” tests to disenfranchise minority voters.
The TN Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company (TCI) uses convicts as strikebreakers when coal miners strike. Violent uprisings continue until 1895.
||Vigilante groups produce havoc throughout Tennessee. A
group known as the White Caps begins a 4-year reign of terror.
Approximately 235 African Americans will lose their lives to lynchings this year; between 1890 and 1950 204 black Tennesseans will be lynched.
After Ida B. Wells speaks out against a recent lynching, a white mob burns her newspaper office. She is forced to move out of the state for her safety.
Frederick Douglass speaks at the First Colored Baptist Church in response to recent lynchings in Nashville and Goodlettsville.
Miles V. Lynk, the first African American physician in Madison
Co., publishes the first national medical journal for black physicians.
Biddle University (NC) defeats Livingstone College (NC) 5-0 in the first
football game between teams from black colleges.
Grover Cleveland is sworn in to his second term as
President, the first
covering the years 1885-1889, and the second running from 1893-1897.
African American workers are hired by the Pullman Company as strike breakers after a costly strike by employees.
Death of Frederick Douglass.
|Booker T. Washington
delivers the “Atlanta Compromise” address, saying
the “Negro problem” will be resolved if the South abides by a policy
gradualism & accommodation.
The National Baptist Convention of the US is created by uniting several smaller groups. It is the nation’s largest black religious denomination.
U.S. Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, upholds Louisiana
statute requiring “separate but equal” accommodations on
railroads, declaring that segregation is not necessarily discrimination.
|Samuel L. McElwee and
James Napier are named to the original
committee of the Negro Department of the Tennessee Centennial.
Richard H. Boyd establishes the National Baptist Publishing Board, reportedly the oldest extant black-owned publishing company.
The National Association of Colored Women is established, with Mary
Church Terrell as its first president.
is inaugurated as President (1897-1901).
During 1897 Tennessee Coal (TCI) pays Louisiana $18.50 a month for a first-class state convict.
|Jesse M. H. Graham is elected as a Republican representing Montgomery County in the 50th General Assembly. The Committee on Elections declares him ineligible to hold the seat.|
The Spanish-American War begins. Black volunteers
make up sixteen
|The first class graduates from Pearl High School, Nashville’s African American high school.|