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African Americans (also known as Black Americans and Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group in the United States. The first achievements by African Americans in various fields have historically marked footholds, often leading to more widespread cultural change. The shorthand phrase for this is "breaking the color barrier".[1][2]

One commonly cited example is that of Jackie Robinson, who became the first African American of the modern era to become a Major League Baseball player in 1947, ending 60 years of segregated Negro Leagues.[3]

18th century

1730s–1770s

1738

  • First free African-American community: Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose (later named Fort Mose) in Florida

1746

  • First known African-American (and slave) to compose a work of literature: Lucy Terry with her poem "Bars Fight," composed in 1746[4] and first published in 1855 in Josiah Holland's "History of Western Massachusetts[5][4]

1760

  • First known African-American published author: Jupiter Hammon (poem "An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries", published as a broadside)[6]

1767

1768

1773

1775

  • First African American to join the Freemasons: Prince Hall

1778

1780s–1790s

1783

  • First African American to formally practice medicine: James Derham, who did not hold an M.D. degree.[13] (See also: 1847)

1785

1792

1793

1794

19th century

1800s

Absalom Jones
John Gloucester
Absalom Boston
Alexander Twilight
James McCune Smith

1804

1807

1810s

1816

1820s

1821

1822

  • First African-American captain to sail a whaleship with an all-black crew: Absalom Boston[18]

1823

1827

1830s

1832

1836

  • First African American elected to serve in a state legislature: Alexander Twilight, Vermont[19] (See also: 1823)

1837

1840s

1845

1847

1849

1850s

African Americans (also known as Black Americans and Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group in the United States. The first achievements by African Americans in various fields have historically marked footholds, often leading to more widespread cultural change. The shorthand phrase for this is "breaking the color barrier".[1][2]

One commonly cited example is that of Jackie Robinson, who became the first African American of the modern era to become a Major League Baseball player in 1947, ending 60 years of segregated Negro Leagues.[3]

17th century: 1670s
18th century: 1730s–1770s1780s–1790s
19th century: 1800s1810s1820s1830s1840s1850s1860s1870s1880s1890s
20th century: 1900s1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s
21st century: 2000s2010s2020s
See alsoNotesReferencesExternal links

18th century