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African Americans in Guilford County
KEY EVENTS IN GUILFORD COUNTY'S BLACK HISTORY 1700s
- 1754 - The Colonial Records of North Carolina provide the first known mention of black people - 54 in all - in the area that is now Guilford County.
- 1774 - Guilford County Quakers free their slaves and become vocal opponents of slavery.
- 1781 - Black people join with Revolutionary forces during the Battle of Guilford Court House.
- 1790 - First U.S. Census shows Guilford with 6,675 white people, 616 slaves and 27 free black people.
- 1816 - Meeting in Jamestown, Quakers establish an anti-slavery organization called the General Association of the Manumission Society of North Carolina.
- 1817 - Benjamin Benson, with Quakers at his side, goes before a Guilford County Superior Court judge to obtain his freedom. It is believed to be the first such case in U.S. history.
- 1819 - In the woods at New Garden Friends Meeting House, Quaker Vestal Coffin begins helping slaves escape to freedom on what becomes known as the Underground Railroad. The first known ``passenger,'' John Dimery, escapes to Richmond, Ind.
- 1821 - Quakers in Greensboro establish the first school in North Carolina for black students. The school was soon abandoned as opposition arose to teaching slaves to read and write.
- 1829 - Greensboro commissioners pass an ordinance allowing authorities to arrest and whip slaves found in places ``where they do not belong.''
- 1840 - Greensboro commissioners pay a black man named Gill $34 to plant elm trees along North and South streets, which are later renamed North Elm and South Elm.
- 1852 - The Greensboro Mutual Life Insurance and Trust Co. writes an insurance policy for $800 on a slave named Felix.
- 1859 - The Rev. Daniel Worth, a Wesleyan Methodist minister, is imprisoned in the Guilford County jail for anti-slavery activities.
- 1861 - Possibly because of the county's Quaker influence, Guilford votes 25-1 against secession from the Union, six weeks before North Carolina joins the Confederacy. At the time, 4,000 of the 4,600 black people in the county are slaves.
- 1865 - More than half the residents of High Point are black people, many associated with the construction or operation of the North Carolina Railroad.
- 1865 - As the Confederacy crumbles, Jefferson Davis brings Confederate leadership to Greensboro for several days.
- 1866 - Carpetbagger Albion W. Tourgee speaks out about the terrible condition of black people in North Carolina and Guilford County. He becomes a Superior Court judge and helps write the North Carolina Constitution.
- 1866 - Ku Klux Klan leaders in Guilford boast a membership of 800.
- 1866 - Greensboro's first black churches, Providence Baptist and St. Matthews Methodist, are organized. ·
- 1867 - Solomon Blair opens High Point's first school for black people.
- 1867 - High Point's first black churches grow out of Baptist and Methodist congregations that met in Blair's two-room schoolhouse.
- 1867 - Former slave Harmon A. Unthank and Quaker Yardley Warner organize Warnersville, a 34-acre planned community for black people south of Greensboro.
- 1867 - Shaw University, the first black institution of higher education in North Carolina, is established in Raleigh. It also has a campus in High Point.
- Late 1860s - Greensboro’s first suburb, called Warnersville, is developed near Ashe Street. Ezell Blair Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), a future sit-in participant, will grow up in this community.
- 1873 - Bennett College opens its doors and operates as a co-ed institution until 1926, when it becomes a college for women.
- 1875 - The state's first black graded school opens in Greensboro.
- 1876 - Levi Coffin's accounts of slavery and the Underground Railroad are published.
- 1883 - Willis Hinton opens the first black-owned business in High Point, a cafe on South Main Street.
- 1886 - Harmon A. Unthank becomes director of the People's Five-Cent Savings Bank in Greensboro, thus becoming the first black bank director in the South.
- 1889 - First Baptist Church, the oldest black church in High Point, is organized in an old schoolhouse that stood on Perry Street.
- 1891 - Greensboro officials come up with enough money and land to bring the Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Negro Race (now N.C. A&T) to Greensboro.
- 1891 - High Point Normal and Industrial School, later renamed William Penn High School, is established.
- 1893 - Agricultural and Mechanical College (now N.C. A&T) opens. · 1898 - Black educator Booker T. Washington speaks at A&T.
- 1902 - Charlotte Hawkins Brown opens Palmer Memorial Institute, the nation's first college preparatory school for black students, in Sedalia.
- 1905 - Immanuel Lutheran College moves to Greensboro from Concord and locates on East Market Street. The school closes in 1961.
- 1911 - Greenhill Cemetery, the only black cemetery in High Point, is established.
- 1913 - Black residents complain because they can't attend events at Greensboro's opera house. They ask for seating in the balcony and get it.
- 1914 - Greensboro passes a Jim Crow ordinance prohibiting black people from purchasing homes and establishing businesses in white-dominated blocks.
- 1914 - Dr. John Walter Vincent Cordice opens a sanitarium in Greensboro for black people.
- 1921 - Three hundred Klansmen parade in High Point. A local newspaper boasts that the city has the ``largest Klan in the entire country.''
- 1924 - Carnegie Negro Library opens on East Washington Street in Greensboro. It boasts 150 books.
- 1925 - A middle-class black neighborhood is developed in eastern Greensboro and is named for J.R. Nocho, an early teacher and civic leader.
- 1927 - Greensboro Negro Hospital, the first major health facility for black people in Greensboro, opens on East Washington Street. It later becomes L. Richardson Hospital.
- 1928 - Future musician John Coltrane, born in Hamlet, moves to High Point with his mother.
- 1930 - Summerfield Negro School is built.
- 1933 - Black leaders establish the Greensboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
- 1937 - Bennett College students lead a boycott of Greensboro movie theaters after owners refuse to show black people in anything but stereotypical roles.
- 1937 - Nocho Park, a nine-hole golf course for black people, opens in Greensboro. The park is also the site of the new Windsor Community Center.
- 1939 - Hayes-Taylor YMCA, the first such facility for black people in Guilford County, opens in Greensboro.
- 1942 - High Point opens its first housing project for black people: the Daniel Brooks Homes, named for a local black minister.
- 1943 - Randolph Blackwell helps start a youth chapter of the NAACP in Greensboro.
- 1943 - High Point gets its first black police officers, O.H. Leak and B.A. Steele.
- 1944 - A USO opens to serve black soldiers at Greensboro's Overseas Replacement Depot.
- 1947 - During a massive polio epidemic, a hospital is set up in Greensboro to serve black and white patients side by side with an integrated staff.
- 1947 - Grace Donnell Lewis founds Metropolitan Day Care, the first such service for black children in Greensboro.
- 1948 - Clarence McAden, a dry cleaner, joins the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, becoming the first black chamber member in the South. When chamber officials discover he is black, they ask him to surrender his membership. McAden refuses. Some 15 years pass before another black member is admitted.
- 1949 - John Cirt ``Jam-A-Ditty'' Gill Jr. joins Greensboro radio station WGBG, becoming the first black disc jockey in North Carolina.
- Bennett College sociology professor Edward Edmonds leads delegations of parents to the school board to protest inferior educational facilities. He also demands the whites-only swimming pool at Lindley Park be opened to blacks.
- 1950 - Rufus Bostic becomes the first black disc jockey in High Point.
- 1951 - Dr. William Hampton becomes the first black person elected to the Greensboro City Council
- 1952 - Morningside Homes becomes Greensboro's first public housing project for black people.
- 2000 - Otis Hairston of Shiloh Baptist Church in Greensboro, a long-time civil rights activist, dies.
- 2001 - Dr. George Simkins, a Greensboro civil-rights leader, dies.
- 2002 - James Barnhill's sculpture called ``February One,'' which shows the four original Woolworth sit-in participants, is unveiled on the A&T campus.
- Nov 2007- Yvonne Johnson is the first African American elected mayor of Greensboro.
- Feb 1, 2010 - The opening of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum marks the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro Sit-Ins.
Latest page update: made by DianeLamb
, Jan 5 2011, 5:10 PM EST
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