May 1, 1867 – First four students enter Howard University.
May 2, 1920 – Indianapolis ABCs defeat Chicago Giants in first Negro National League Game.
May 3, 1964 – Frederick O’Neal becomes first Black president of the Actor’s Equity Association.
May 4, 1961 – “Freedom Riders” begin protesting segregation of interstate bus travel in the South.
May 5, 1988 – Eugene Marino becomes first African American installed as a Roman Catholic archbishop in the U.S.
May 6, 1991 – The Smithsonian Institution approves the creation of the National African American Museum.
May 7, 1878 – Joseph R. Winters patents first fire escape ladder.
May 8, 1983 – Lena Horne awarded the Springarm Medal for distinguished career in the field of entertainment.
May 9, 1899 – John Albert Burr patents lawn.
May 10, 1950 – Boston Celtics select Chuck Cooper first Black player drafted to play in the NBA.
May 11, 1895 – Composer William Grant Still, the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, born.
May 12, 1820 – The New York African Free School population reaches 500.
May 13, 1872 – Matilda Arabella Evans, first African American woman to practice medicine in South Carolina, born.
May 14, 1888 – Slavery abolished in Brazil.
May 15, 1820 – U.S. Congress declares foreign slave trade an act of piracy, punishable by death.
May 16, 1927 – William Harry Barnes becomes first African American certified by any American surgical board.
May 17, 1954 – U.S. Supreme Court declares segregation in public schools unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Educationdecision.
May 18, 1896 – Plessy vs. Ferguson, Supreme Court upholds the doctrine of “separate but equal” education and public accommodations.
May 19, 1925 – Malcolm X born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb.
May 20, 1961 – U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy dispatches U.S. Marshals to Montgomery, Ala., to restore order in the “Freedom Rider” disturbance.
May 21, 1833 – African Americans enroll for the first time at Oberlin College, Ohio.
May 22, 1921 – Shuffle Along, a musical featuring a score by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, opens on Broadway.
May 23, 1900 – Sgt. William H. Carney becomes the first African American awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for valor at Fort Wagner, S.C., 1863.
May 24, 1854 – Lincoln University (Pa.), the first black college, is founded.
May 25, 1926 – Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis born.
May 26, 1961 – Marvin Cook named ambassador to Niger Republic; first Black envoy named by Kennedy Administration to an African nation.
May 27, 1919 – Madame C.J. Walker, cosmetics manufacturer and first Black female millionaire, died.
May 28, 1948 – National Party wins Whites-only election in South Africa and begins to institute policy of apartheid.
May 29, 1901 – Granville T. Woods patents overhead conducting system for the electric railway.
May 30 1965 – Vivian Malone becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Alabama.
May 31, 1870 – Congress passes the first Enforcement Act, providing stiff penalties for those who deprive others of their civil rights.