MCK’s focus on child health and well-being is grounded in historical trauma and structural racism; we cannot make meaningful change until we understand the origins of inequities impacting Native and African American children and families. The intent of these timelines is to illustrate  the painful unfolding and impact of historical trauma and structural racism throughout U.S. history and how they still manifest today.

Please review the timelines below to learn more about the effects that historical trauma and structural racism have on these communities. If you have any ideas, revisions or historical events you would like added or changed in regards to any of the timelines please e-mail MCK Project Manager Perran Wetzel:

  • 1619

    First African indentured servants arrive in colonies.

  • Until 1865 Slavery of African Americans: sexual exploitation of slaves; families separated for profit/punishment; slaves inhumanely bred and sold.

  • 1680 - 1705

    VA Slave Codes (slaves = African or Native America, servants = white).

  • 1740

    Slaves banned from drumming (e.g. 1740 SC Slave Code after 1739 rebellion). Laws against literacy(e.g. 1740 South Carolina, 1819 Virginia).

  • 1789

    US Constitution: 3/5 clause (African Americans were only worth 3/5 of a White person).

  • 1857

    Dred Scott v. Sanford (not citizens, cannot sue; "a black man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect").

  • 1860

    Last slave ship docks in the USA (50 years after ban).

  • Until 1865:

    13th Amendment abolished slavery.

    KKK founded, violent white supremacist group.

  • 1865 - 1877

    Reconstruction - temporary gains in political/economic rights after the Civil War.

  • 1866

    Convict leasing begins (13th Amendment loophole; "slavery by another name" for southern prisoners).

  • 1868

    14th Amendment (citizenship, equal rights).

  • 1870

    15th Amendment (Right to Vote).

  • 1872

    1st African American governor - Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback(only 43 days in office; none elected until 1990).

    Late 1800s onward - African American voter suppression (poll tax, literacy tests, violence).

  • 1877

    Reconstruction ends, Jim Crow Era begins(segregation, lost rights for African Americans in South).

  • 1877 - 1950

    4,075 "racial terror lynchings" of blacks in twelve southern states between Reconstruction and World War II (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA).

  • 1870s - 1950s

    Sharecropping - cycle of poverty for poor Southern farmers (African American & White).

  • 1913

    Wilson administration takes steps towards federal segregation.

  • 1920

    Women gain right to vote.

  • 1920

    3 African American men(Clayton, Jackson, McGee) lynched in Duluth, MN.

  • 1930s

    New Deal (disproportionaly benefits Whites, excludes African Americans → roots of modern middle class, wealth gap).

  • 1930s

    Convict leasing ends.

  • 1934

    Federal Housing Authority established to give loans/subsidies for home ownership(→wealth). "Red-lining":FHA standards discriminate against non-White people and neighborhoods. Of $120 billion in loans from 1934-1962, 98% went to Whites.

  • 1944

    G.I. Bill increases number of African Americans in college (but more benefits to White population).

  • 1948

    Segregation of U.S. armed forces ends.

  • 1950s

    Urban renewal & highway construction (→ isolated, displaced, & impoverished urban minorites).

  • 1952

    First year in 70 years with no reported lynching.

  • 1954

    Brown v. Board of Education (Supreme Court case that paved the way for school integration).

  • 1955

    Emmett Till killed, age 14.

    Murdered for "whistling" at a White woman.

  • 1958

    Land acquisition finalized for Interstate-94 construction, which led to the eventual displacement and destruction of the entire historic Rondo neighborhood - the largest African-American neighborhood in St. Paul.

  • 1950s / 1960s

    Civil Rights Movement, including Bus Boycott (1955 - 1956) and March on Montgomery(1965).

  • 1960s

    Desegregation efforts (and pushback).

  • 1964

    Civil Rights Act (outlaw race/sex discrimination - in voter registration, workplace, public spaces).

  • 1968

    Fair Housing Act - Protections against seller/landlord discrimination.

  • 1968

    MLK Assassinated.

  • 1970

    The Bluest Eye- Provides an extended depiction of the ways in which internalized white beauty standards deform the lives of African American girls and women. It also serves as a representation of society’s perception of beauty and the idealization of white beauty standards. A recurring theme; superiority, power, and virtue are associated with beauty, which is inherent in whiteness due to white beauty standards being perpetuated by visual images in the media.

  • 1972

    Tuskegee Syphilis experiment ends (exploited African Americans as test subjects).

  • 1980s

    Crack cocaine brought into inner cities.

    War on Drugs(racial disparities, mass incarceration).

  • 1984

    Completion of Interstate-94 construction from Brooklyn Center through North Minneapolis, which primarily went through African-American neighborhoods.

  • 1990s Onward

    Urban Gentrification increased, displacing African American population.

  • 1991

    Rodney King- A video showed 3 L.A. police officers (as their supervisor watched) kicking, stomping on, and beating with metal batons a seemingly defenseless African-American named Rodney King. Despite the videotape, a jury concluded a year later that the evidence was not sufficient to convict the officers. Within hours of the jury's verdict, Los Angeles erupted in riots. When it was over, 54 people had lost their lives, over 7,000 people had been arrested, and millions of dollars’ worth of property had been destroyed.

  • 1996

    Pres. Clinton's Person Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act(reforms aimed at reducing dependence on welfare).

  • 1997 : October 25

    Thousands of African American women participated in the Million Woman March in Philadelphia, focusing on health care, education, and self-help.

  • 1998 : January 15

    Civil rights veteran James Farmer was one of 15 men and women awarded the Medal of Freedom from President Clinton. Born in Marshall, Texas, he was the national director of the Congress of Racial Equality during the 1960s and was one of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement throughout its most turbulent decade.

  • 1998 : January 18

    Now an annual observance, the New York Stock Exchange closed, for the first time, in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • 2001

    Colin Powell becomes the first African American U.S. Secretary of State.

  • 2005

    Condoleezza Rice becomes the first black female U.S. Secretary of State.

  • 2008

    Sen. Barack Obama, Democrat from Chicago, becomes the first African American to be nominated as a major party nominee for president. On November 4, Barack Obama, becomes the first African American to be elected president of the United States, defeating Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain.

  • 2012

    Trayvon Martin- A 17-year-old unarmed African American high school student was fatally shot by George Zimmerman during an altercation in their gated community. Although Zimmerman was charged with murder, he was acquitted at the trial on self-defense grounds.

  • 2012

    Black Lives Matter- The civil-rights group/movement was started with a hashtag in 2012 after the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The organization has branched out with chapters in 31 cities and has grown into a social juggernaut. It has changed the way people talk about police brutality and racial inequities via rallies, boycotts and other actions across the United States.

  • 2014

    On Aug. 9, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo., by Darren Wilson. On Nov. 24, the grand jury decision to not indict Wilson was announced, sparking protests in Ferguson and cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

  • 2014

    The protests continued to spread throughout the country after a Staten Island grand jury decided in December not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by Pantaleo in July.

  • 2014

    Flint Water Crisis (lead).

  • 2015

    Jamar Clark shot by Minneapolis police.

  • 2016

    Philando Castile shot by St. Anthony police officer.

  • 1452

    Pope Nicholas V authorizes Portugal to "attack, conquer, and subjugate...pagans and other enemies of Christ wherever they may be found," facilitating slave trade.

  • 1492

    Columbus lands in the Americas

  • 1493

    Pope divides Americas between Spain and Portugal(Pope Alexander VI's inter caetera)

    DISEASE, CONFLICT, DISPLACEMENT devastate Native American population

  • 1621

    American Indians share food and knowledge(re: farming, navigation, medicinal plants) to help Puritan English settlers survive their first years

  • 1713

    Massacre of 950 Tuscarora Native Americans in NC(one of deadliest out of many massacres and conflicts)

  • 1789

    US Constitution excludes Native Americans from citizenship

  • 1823

    Johnson v. McIntosh(private citizens cannot purchase land from Native Americans)

  • 1824

    Bureau of Indian Affairs established to "civilize" Native Americans

  • 1830

    Indian Removal Act (allowed Pres. Jackson to grant tribes land West of the Mississippi River in exchange for their land in southern states; paved way for later forced removal).

  • 1831

    Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (case not heard because Cherokees = "dependent" ward of US gov't → makes them vulnerable to forced relocation)

  • 1832

    Worcester v. Georgia - Ruling (for Cherokee sovereignty, IRA unconstitutional) ignored by President Jackson, who expelled Cherokee nation

  • 1830's

    Trail of Tears, and displacement of nearly 100,000 Native Americans

  • September 9th, 1862

    "Our course then is plain. The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of Minnesota." -Governer Alexander Ramsey to a special session of the Minnesota legislature

  • 1862

    Homestead Act (50 Million acres distributed cheaply to white settlers, 100 million acres free to railroad companies)

  • 1862

    US-Dakota War. 38 Dakota hanged for alleged civilian killing/assault (largest mass execution in US history). 130-300 Dakota die during winter in concentration camp near Ft. Snelling

  • 1871

    Indian Appropriation Act (no more treaties with Native American tribes; no longer treated as independent, soverign nations)

  • 1879

    Carlisle Indian School (first of the Native American boarding schools founded)

  • Late 1800s - early 1900s

    Boarding Schools (Assimilation, English only, Euro-American culture. "Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.")

  • 1883 - 1886

    (Ex Parte Crow Dog, Major Crimes Act, US v. Kagama) Laws/court rulings limit tribal soveriegnty, gave state/federal government more power over Native Americans

  • 1890

    300+ Lakota massacred at Wounded Knee

  • 1903

    Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock gives Congress power to void treaty obligations to tribes

  • 1924

    The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (right to vote for some)

  • 1928

    Meriam Reports finds US gov't failing to protect Native American people/land/culture

  • 1934

    Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) - "Indian New Deal" attempts to reserve damaging policies

  • 1934

    Johnson-O'Malley Act funds education, medical, and other services

  • 1948

    Right to vote in all 50 states (last state laws against it are overturned)

  • 1953

    HCR-108 begins termination policy (revoke federal recognition/responsibility and legal protections) to integrate Native Americans into the rest of mainstream US society

  • 1968

    Indian Civil Rights Act - Extends most of Bill of Rights to Native Americans(some parts not included so as not to interfere with tribal governments)

  • 1969

    Kennedy Report on Education (Finds that past coercive assimilation = disaster for Native American children)

  • 1975

    Self-Determination Act (reversed previous policy of termination; gives funds and greater control to tribes)

  • 1978

    Indian Child Welfare Act(ICWA) to address high removal of Native American children from homes and reservations

  • 1985

    MN Indian Family Preservation Act(MIFPA) strengthens/expands ICWA

  • 1990

    Native American Languages Act - This Congressional Act made it US policy to "preserve, protect, and promote the rights and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice, and develop Native American languages." Today, many Native American languages have been lost; less than 100 languages currently are spoken by Natives.

  • 1990

    Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) - The Congressional Act is intended to promote Indian artwork and handicraft businesses, reduce foreign an counterfeit product competition, and stop deceptive marketing practices.

  • 1990

    Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act - This Congressional Act required all institutions that receive federal funds to inventory their collections of Native human remains and artifacts, make their lists available to Native tribes, and return any items requested by the tribes.

  • 1994

    American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Amendments - This Congressional Act protected the rights of American Indians to use peyote in traditional religious ceremonies.

  • 1996

    National American Indian Heritage Month - President Clinton declared November of each year to be National American Indian Heritage Month.

  • 1999

    Shannon County, South Dakota, home of the Oglala Lakota on Pine Ridge Reservation is identified as the poorest place in the country. About 22% of our country’s Native Americans live on tribal lands. Living conditions on the reservations have been cited as “comparable to Third World”. The overall number of Native Americans living below the federal poverty line is 28.25 (2008, American Indians Census Facts).

  • 2010

    Tribal Law & Order Act (greater power for tribal courts; can increase sentences)

  • April 2015

    A Nation’s Neglect, a four-part series released by Star Tribune illustrates the lack of funding for Native schools and reservations. The series goes into painful detail about the everyday struggles that Native American youth face to receive an education, making parallels to war torn countries.

  • 2015

    Feeding Ourselves Report: Explores the complex historical and contemporary challenges to Native American healthy food access, childhood obesity, and health disparities. This report encourages its readers to take the first step toward a solution – becoming aware of the problem of Native health disparities and its deep interconnections to U.S. Indian policy, poverty, historical trauma and food systems.

  • 2015

    UND Fighting Sioux name changed to Fighting Hawks

  • 2016

    Native Americans from across the country gather at Standing Rock, ND to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The DAPL would run underneath Lake Oache, where the Standing Rock tribe gathers water not only for drink but for sacred religious rituals as well.

  • 1691

    First legal use of "White" indentured servants in America include White, African American, Native American. None were in perpetual slavery at first.

  • 1789

    US Constitution enshrines rights of White male landowners (excludes indigenous and African people and women)

  • 1790

    Naturalization Act of 1790. Ban non-White immigrants from citizenship, thus preventing them from voting, owning land (state/territory laws restricted ownership to citizens; land was main way to earn money and pass along as inheritance)

  • 1800s

    Manifest Destiny - idea used to justify US expansion

  • 1830s

    Indian Removal Act and displacement makes 25+ million acres of land available for White settlers.

  • 1854

    The People v. Hall. Non-Whites are barred from testifying in court against Whites.

  • 1858

    Minnesota Statehood

  • 1862

    Washington DC Emancipation Proclaimation - Slaves are freed in DC, but the former slaveowners are paid over $1 million for "lost property." No reparations for slaves/descendants.

  • 1862

    Homestead Act. 50 million acres of former Native American land in the West, taken by US soldiers, is distributed at low cost to white settlers only. 100 million acres given for free to railroad companies.

  • 1870

    15th Amendment. Non-White men gain the right to vote. Voting had been restricted to property-holders until states began changing policies between 1792-1856.

  • 1869

    Plessy v. Ferguson decision enforces the "separate but equal" doctrine

  • 1800s - early 1900s

    Non-Anglo European immigrants face discrimination (e.g. Irish, Italian, Polish); decrease over time with assimilation

  • 1920

    19th Amendment - Right to vote cannot be denied based on sex.

  • 1924

    Johnson Reed Act - immigration quotas imposed, favoring "Nordics" over the "inferior" races of Asia and Southern/Eastern Europe

  • 1930s

    New Deal legislation benefits White Americans more than others

  • 1934

    Federal Housing Authority established to give loans/subsidies for home ownership(→wealth). "Red-lining":FHA standards discriminate against non-White people and neighborhoods. Of $120 billion in loans from 1934-1962, 98% went to Whites.

  • 1935

    Social Security Act excludes agricultural/domestic workers, leaving out majority of African American workers

  • 1935

    Wagner Act gives collective bargaining power to unions (helps White workers enter middle class; permits exclusion and discrimination against non-whites...many craft unions overwhelmingly White until 1970s)

  • 1944

    G.I. Bill disproportionately helps White veterans with loans, college tuition (fewer than 100 of first 67,000 mortgages to non-Whites)

  • 1950s

    "White Flight" to suburbs(concentrates wealth & White population)

  • 1952

    McCarran-Walter Act removes racial barriers to naturalized US citizenship (White racial preference in immigration remains until 1965)

  • 1960s - present

    Affirmative Action

  • 1960s

    2nd Wave Feminism mainly helps straight White women

  • 1960s

    Assassination of African American leaders including MLK; as well as Robert Kennedy

  • 1971

    Nixon's War on Drugs disproportionately targets people of color, a process that continues today. (e.g. Sentencing for crack v. cocaine → race disparities)

  • 1988

    David Duke(former KKK Grand Wizard) runs for President

  • 1990s

    3rd Wave Feminism → more focus on Non-White women

  • 1990s on

    Erosion of affirmatinve action through lawsuits brought by White plaintiffs

  • 1996

    Birth of Fox News

  • 2008

    Barrack Obama elected (all 43 previous presidents were White)

  • 2010s

    Voter restrictions disproportionately affect poor & nonwhite citizens (IDs, voting days - despite lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud).

  • 2016

    Supreme Court upholds affirmative action (Fisher v. University of Texas)