List of African-American firsts

see also|List of first African-American mayors for most mayor listings
African Americans are a demographic minority in the United States. African-Americans' initial achievements in various fields historically establish a foothold, providing a precedent for more widespread cultural change. The shorthand phrase for this is "breaking the color barrier." [Juguo, Zhang. "W. E. B. Du Bois: The Quest for the Abolition of the Color Line", Routledge, 2001 - ISBN 0415930871] [Herbst, Philip H. "The Color of Words: an encyclopaedic dictionary of ethnic bias in the United States", Intercultural Press, p. 57, 1997 - ISBN 1877864978]

One commonly cited example is that of Jackie Robinson, who became the first African-American Major League Baseball player of the modern era, after years of resistance to Black players by Caucasian team-owners and the existence of the segregated Negro Leagues. [Sailes, Gary Alan. "African Americans in Sport: Contemporary Themes, Transaction Publishers", 1998 - ISBN 0765804409 (p. 8, "Jackie Robinson: Breaking the Color Barrier in Team Sports")]

18th century

*1761::First known African-American author: Jupiter Hammon (poem "An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries", published as a broadside)

*1770s::Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, popularly known as "The Father of Chicago", was the first known settler in the area which is now Chicago, Illinois.

*1773::First known African-American woman to publish a book: Phillis Wheatley ("Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral")

*1777::First known African-American church congregation: The First Colored Baptist Church, renamed First African Baptist Church (Savannah), Georgia. This claim is contested by a church in Virginia and the Silver Bluff Baptist Church in Aiken County, South Carolina.

*1778::First African-American U.S. military regiment: the 1st Rhode Island Regiment

*1783::First African American to formally practice medicine in the U.S.: James Derham, who did not hold an M.D. degree (See also: 1847)

*1792::First major African-American Back-to-Africa movement: 1,200 slaves who escaped to settle in Settler Town, Sierra Leone.

*1793::First African Methodist Episcopal Church established: Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church

19th century


*1821::First African American to hold a patent: Thomas L. Jennings [ Infoplease: "Black Scientists & Inventors", by Ann Marie Imbornoni] ]

*1823::First African American to receive a degree from an American college: Alexander Twilight (See also: 1836)

*1827::First African-American owned-and-operated newspaper: "Freedom's Journal"


*1836::First African American elected to public office and to serve in a state legislature: Alexander Twilight (See also: 1823)

*1837::First African-American doctor: Dr. James McCune Smith from the University of Glasgow, Scotland) (See also: 1783, 1847)


*1845::First African American licensed to practice law in the United States: Macon Allen from the Boston bar [cite web |author= |title=Long Road to Justice: The African American Experienced in the Massachusetts Courts |url= |publisher=The Massachusetts Historical Society |date=1845 |accessdate=2008-02-15]

*1847::First African American to graduate from a U.S. medical school: Dr. David J. Peck [ Essortment: "First 3 African American Physicians"] ] (Rush Medical College) (See also: 1783, 1837)::First independent African-American nation and first African-American president of any nation: Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Liberia

*1849::First African-American university professor: Charles L. Reason


*1853::First novel written by an African American: "Clotel; or, The President's Daughter", by William Wells Brown. [Because it was published in the U.K., the book is not the first African-American novel published in the United States. This credit goes to one of two disputed books: Harriet Wilson's "Our Nig" (1859), brought to light by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in 1982; or Julia C. Collins' "The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride" (1865), brought to light by William L. Andrews, an English literature professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Mitch Kachun, a history professor at Western Michigan University, in 2006. Andrews and Kachun document "Our Nig" as a novelized autobiography, and argue that "The Curse of Caste" is the first fully fictional novel by an African American to be published in the USA.] cite news |author=Dinitia Smith|title=A Slave Story Is Rediscovered, and a Dispute Begins |url= |pages=B7|work=The New York Times |date=28 October 2006 |accessdate=2008-02-15] [cite news |author=Sven Birkerts|title=Emancipation Days |url= |work=The New York Times |date=29 October 2006 |accessdate=2008-02-15]

*1854::First institute of higher learning created specifically to educate African Americans: Ashmun Institute in Pennsylvania, renamed Lincoln University in 1866.

*1856::First university owned and operated by African Americans: Wilberforce College, Ohio

*1858::First play written by an African American is published: "The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom" by William Wells Brown

*1858::First African-American female college professor Sarah Jane Woodson Early

*1859::First African-American female novelist, and first African American to publish a novel in the U.S.: Harriet E. Wilson (1825-1900)


*1861::First North American military unit with African-American officers: 1st Louisiana Native Guard of the Confederate Army::First African American United States government civil servant: William Cooper Nell

*1865::First African-American field officer in the U.S. Army: Martin Delany::First African-American attorney admitted to the bar of the US Supreme Court: John Sweat Rock

*1866::First recorded African-American woman in the U.S. Army: Cathy Williams

*1868::First elected African-American lieutenant governor: Oscar Dunn (Louisiana)

*1869::First African-American United States diplomat: Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett, minister to Haiti


*1870::First African American to vote in an election under the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting voting rights regardless of race: Thomas Mundy Peterson::"January:" First African American elected to U.S. Congress: Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels (Republican, Mississippi) [Revels, the Mississippi State Senate's Adams County representative, was elected by the U.S. Senate in January 1870 to fill an unexpired term.] ::"December: "First African American elected to U.S. House of Representatives: Joseph Rainey (Republican, South Carolina) [Rainey, a South Carolina state senator, was elected to fill the seat vacated by B. Franklin Whittemore. Rainey took his seat on December 12, 1870. John Willis Menard was actually the first African-American elected to the House (1868) but he was denied his seat.]

*1872::First African-American governor (non-elected): P.B.S. Pinchback of Louisiana (See also: Douglas Wilder, 1990)::First African-American nominee for Vice President of the United States: Frederick Douglass by the Equal Rights Party. [Douglass did not seek the nomination or campaign after being nominated.]

*1876::First African American to earn a doctorate degree: Edward Alexander Bouchet (Yale College Ph.D., physics; also first African American to graduate from Yale, 1874)

*1877::First African-American graduate of West Point and first African-American commissioned officer in the U.S. military: Henry Ossian Flipper.

*1879::First African American to graduate from a formal nursing school: Mary Eliza Mahoney


*1881::First African American whose signature appeared on U.S. paper currency: Blanche K. Bruce, Registrar of the Treasury.

*1884::First African American to play professional baseball at the major-league level: Moses Fleetwood Walker. (See also: Jackie Robinson, 1947)

*1885::First African-American woman to hold a patent: Sarah E. Goode

*1886::First African-American Roman Catholic priest: Augustine Tolton


*1891::First African-American police officer in present-day New York City: Wiley Overton, hired by the Brooklyn Police Department prior to 1898 incorporation of the five boroughs into the City of New York. [ New York City Police Museum: "A History of African Americans in the NYPD"] ] (See also: Samuel J. Battle, 1911)

*1892::First African American to sing at Carnegie Hall: Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones

*1895::First African American to earn a doctorate degree (Ph.D.) from Harvard University: W.E.B. Du Bois

*1896::First African American appointed to serve as U.S. Army Paymaster Richard R. Wright

20th century


*1901::First African American invited to dine at the White House: Booker T. Washington

*1902::First African-American professional basketball player: Harry Lew (New England Professional Basketball League) (See also: 1950)

*1903::First Broadway musical written by African Americans, and the first to star African Americans: "In Dahomey"

*1904::First Greek-letter fraternal organization established by African Americans: Sigma Pi Phi

*1906::First intercollegiate Greek-letter organization established by African Americans: Alpha Phi Alpha (ΑΦΑ), at Cornell University

*1908::First African-American heavyweight boxing champion: Jack Johnson::First African-American Olympic gold medal winner: John Taylor (track and field medley relay team). (See also: William DeHart Hubbard, 1924)::First intercollegiate Greek-letter sorority established by African Americans: Alpha Kappa Alpha (ΑKΑ)

*1909::First African-American scholar to address the American Historical Association: W.E.B. Du Bois


*1910::First African-American millionaire: Madame C. J. Walker

*1911::First African-American police officer in New York City: Samuel J. Battle, following the 1898 incorporation of the five boroughs into the City of New York, and the hiring of three African-American officers in the Brooklyn Police Department. Battle was also the NYPD's first African-American sergeant (1926), lieutenant (1935), and parole commissioner (1941). (See also: Wiley Overton, 1891)

*1916::First African-American football player to play in the Rose Bowl game: Fritz Pollard for the Brown University Bruins; also first African-American football player named to a College Football All-America Team (the Walter Camp All-American football team)

*1917::First African-American police officer killed in the line of duty: Robert H. Holmes in New York City::First African-American woman to win a major sports title: Lucy Diggs Slowe, American Tennis Association


*1920::First African-American NFL football players: Fritz Pollard (Akron Pros) and Bobby Marshall (Rock Island Independents)

*1921::First African-American woman to become a pilot, first American woman to hold an international pilot license: Bessie Coleman::First African-American NFL football coach: Fritz Pollard, co-head coach, Akron Pros, while continuing to play running back::First African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in the U.S.: Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Ph.D. in Economics from University of Pennsylvania

*1924::First African American to win individual Olympic gold medal: William DeHart Hubbard (Long jump, 1924 Summer Olympics, Paris). (See also: John Taylor, 1908)

*1925::First African-American Foreign Service Officer: Clifton R. Wharton, Sr.

*1926::First African-American woman to receive a degree (Ph.D.) from Yale University: Otelia Cromwell, who had previously been the first African-American graduate of Smith College.

*1928::First post-Reconstruction African American elected to U.S. House of Representatives: Oscar Stanton De Priest (Republican; Illinois)


*1932::First African American on a presidential ticket in the 20th century: James W. Ford (Communist Party USA, vice-presidential candidate running with William Z. Foster)

*1934::First African American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat: Arthur W. Mitchell (Illinois)

*1935::First known interracial jazz group: Benny Goodman Trio (Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa) [ [ Jazz Resource Library: "Important Firsts, Groups and their Leaders, and Groups and Personnel", compiled by David Baker)] ]

*1936::First African American to conduct a major U.S. orchestra: William Grant Still (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

*1937::First African-American federal magistrate: William Henry Hastie (later the first African-American governor of the United States Virgin Islands)


*1940::First African American to win an Academy Award: Hattie McDaniel (Best Supporting Actress, "Gone with the Wind", 1939)::First African American to be portrayed on a US. postage stamp: Booker T. Washington::First African-American U.S. Army general: Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.

*1941::First African American to give a White House Command Performance: Josh White::First African American to achieve the rank of U.S. Army brigadier general: Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.

*1942::First African American to be awarded the Navy Cross: Dorie Miller

*1944::First African-American commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy: The "Golden Thirteen"::First African American commissioned as a U.S. Navy officer from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps: Samuel Gravely. Gravely was also the first African American to command a U.S. Navy warship (1962), and the first promoted to the rank of admiral (1971).::First African American to co-pastor with a white minister at the first interracial church: Dr. Howard Thurman with Dr. Alfred Fisk, Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, San Francisco

*1945::First African-American member of the New York City Opera: Todd Duncan::First African-American U.S. Marine Corps officer: Frederick C. Branch

*1947::First African-American Major League Baseball player of the modern era: Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers). (See also: Moses Fleetwood Walker, 1884)::First African-American consensus college All-American basketball player: Don Barksdale

*1948::First African-American man to receive an Academy Award: James Baskett (Honorary Academy Award for his portrayal of "Uncle Remus" in "Song of the South", 1946) (See also: Sidney Poitier, 1964)::First African-American U.S. Navy aviator: Jesse L. Brown::First African-American composer to have an opera performed by a major U.S. company: William Grant Still ("Troubled Island", New York City Opera)::First African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal: Alice Coachman::First African-American on an Olympic basketball team and first African-American Olympic gold medal basketball winner: Don Barksdale, in the 1948 Summer Olympics

*1949::First African-American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy: Wesley Brown::First African American to hold rank of Ambassador of the United States: Edward R. Dudley, ambassador, and previously minister, to Liberia (See also: 1869)


*1950::First African American to win Pulitzer Prize: Gwendolyn Brooks (Book of poetry, "Annie Allen", 1949)::First African American to win Nobel Peace Prize: Ralph Bunche::First individual African-American as subject on the cover of "Life" magazine: Jackie Robinson, May 8, 1950::First African-American NBA basketball players: Earl Lloyd (Washington Capitols), Chuck Cooper (Boston Celtics), and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton (New York Knicks) [Because of team schedules for season opening games, Lloyd was the first to play, on October 31, 1950, with Cooper debuting November 1 and Clifton November 4. Cooper was the first African-American player to be drafted by an NBA team, and Clifton the first to sign a contract with an NBA team.] (See also: 1902)::First African-American star of a network television show: Ethel Waters, "Beulah"::First African-American woman to compete on the world tennis tour: Althea Gibson

*1952::First African-American woman elected to a United States state senate: Cora Brown, Democrat (Michigan)::First African-American U.S. Marine Corps aviator: Frank E. Petersen

*1953::First African-American basketball player to play in the NBA All-Star Game: Don Barksdale in the 1953 NBA All-Star Game::First African American named as Dean of chapel at a majority white university: Howard Thurman at Marsh Chapel, Boston University

*1954::First African-American US Navy Master Diver: Carl Brashear::First African-American woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress: Dorothy Dandridge ("Carmen Jones", 1954). (At that time, nominations were announced in November of the year of release, instead of early the following year.)::First individual African-American woman as subject on the cover of "Life" magazine: Dorothy Dandridge, November 1, 1954

*1955::First African-American member of the Metropolitan Opera: Marian Anderson::First African-American male dancer in a major ballet company: Arthur Mitchell (New York City Ballet; also first African-American principal dancer of a major ballet company (NYCB), 1956. [ [ Spelman College: The Black Presence in American Dance website] ] (See also: 1969)::First African American singer to appear in a telecast opera: Leontyne Price in NBC's production of "Tosca"

*1956::First African-American male star of a network television show: Nat King Cole, "The Nat King Cole Show"::First African-American Wimbledon tennis champion: Althea Gibson (doubles, with Englishwoman Angela Buxton); also first African American to win a Grand Slam event (French Open).

*1957::First African-American assistant coach in the NFL: Lowell W. Perry (See also: 1966)

*1958 ::First African-American flight attendant: Ruth Carol Taylor (Mohawk Airlines)

*1959::First African-American Grammy Award winners, in the award's inaugural year: Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie (two awards each) [ [ Grammy Awards official site] — list of winners for Grammy Award inaugural year, presented May 4, 1959, for recordings made in 1958]


*1960::First African-American US presidential candidate: Rev. Clennon King, on the Independent Afro-American party

*1961::First African American to win the Heisman Trophy: Ernie Davis

*1962::First African-American coach in Major League Baseball: John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil (Chicago Cubs)::First African-American male professional wrestler to win a world heavyweight championship: Bobo Brazil (NWA)

*1963::First African-American bank examiner for the United States Department of the Treasury: Roland Burris::First company to use an African-American in a televised commercial: Wisk Detergent.Fact |date=May 2008::First African American named as "Time" magazine's Man of the Year: Martin Luther King, Jr. [cite news |author= |title=Person of the Year: Martin Luther King Jr. |url= |work=Time |date=3 Janauary 1963 |accessdate=2008-02-17] ::First African-American police officer of the NYPD to be named a precinct commander: Lloyd Sealy, commander of the NYPD's 28th precinct in Harlem. [ [ New York City Police Museum: A History of African Americans in the NYPD] ] ::First African-American chess master: Walter Harris [ Gregory Kearse, "Historic Moments: A Legacy of Excellence", "Chess Life" July 1998 reprinted at] ] [ [ "Chess Quiz" Question #43] ]

*1964::First movie with African-American interracial marriage: "One Potato, Two Potato", [ [ "Black Cinema", by David Hudson (no date)] Note: Asian-American interracial marriage had previously been portrayed.] actors Bernie Hamilton and Barbara Barrie, written by Orville H. Hampton, Raphael Hayes, directed by Larry Peerce::First African-American man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor: Sidney Poitier ("Lilies of the Field", 1963) (See also: James Baskett 1948)

*1965::First African-American title character of a comic book series: Lobo (Dell Comics).The first Black superhero, Marvel's Black Panther, introduced in "Fantastic Four" #52 (July 1966), is African, not African-American. This is also true of the first Black character to star in his own mainstream comic-book feature, Waku, Prince of the Bantu, who headlined one of four features in the multiple-character omnibus series "Jungle Tales" (Sept. 1954 - Sept. 1955), from Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics.] (See also: The Falcon, 1969, and Luke Cage, 1972)::First African-American star of a network television drama: Bill Cosby, "I Spy" (co-star with Robert Culp)::First African-American "Playboy" Playmate centerfold: Jennifer Jackson (March issue)::First African-American U.S. Air Force general: Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. (three-star lieutenant general)::First African-American female Ambassador of the United States: Patricia Roberts Harris, ambassador to Luxembourg::First African-American NFL official: Burl Toler, field judge/head linesman

*1966::First African-American coach in National Basketball Association: Bill Russell (Boston Celtics)::First African-American mayor of a U.S. city: Robert C. Henry, (Springfield, Ohio, appointed by city commission)::First African-American model on the cover of a "Vogue" (British "Vogue") magazine: Donyale Luna::First post-Reconstruction African American elected to the U.S. Senate (and first African American elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote): Edward Brooke (Republican; Massachusetts)::First African-American Cabinet secretary: Robert C. Weaver (Department of Housing and Urban Development)::First African-American major league umpire: Emmett Ashford::First African-American NFL broadcaster: Lowell W. Perry (CBS, on Pittsburgh Steelers games) (See also: 1957)::First African-American Fire Commissioner of a major U.S. City: Robert O. Lowery of the New York City Fire Department

*1967::First African American elected mayor of a large U.S. city: Carl B. Stokes (Cleveland, Ohio)::First African American appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States: Thurgood Marshall::First African American selected for astronaut training: Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr.::First African American to win a PGA Tour event: Charlie Sifford (1967 Greater Hartford Open Invitational)

*1968::First African-American woman elected to U.S. House of Representatives: Shirley Chisholm (Democrat; New York)::First African-American man to win a Grand Slam tennis event: Arthur Ashe (US Open)::First African American to start at quarterback in the modern era of professional football: Marlin Briscoe (Denver Broncos, AFL).::First African-American interracial kiss on network television: actors Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner [cite episode |title=Plato's Stepchildren | episodelink=Plato's Stepchildren | series=Star Trek | serieslink=Star Trek: The Original Series | credits=directed by David Alexander; written by Meyer Dolinsky | network=NBC | airdate=1968-11-22 | season=3 | number=65 |accessdate=2008-02-14] ::First African-American commissioned officer awarded the Medal of Honor: Riley L. Pitts::First fine-arts museum devoted to African-American work: Studio Museum in Harlem::First African-American woman as Presidential candidate: Charlene Mitchell (See also: Shirley Chisholm, 1972)::First African-American woman reporter for the "New York Times": Nancy Hicks Maynard

*1969::First African-American superhero: The Falcon, Marvel Comics' "Captain America" #117 (Sept. 1969). (See also: Lobo, 1965 and Luke Cage, 1972)::First African-American graduate of Harvard Business School: Lillian Lincoln::First African-American director of a major Hollywood motion picture: Gordon Parks ("The Learning Tree")::First African-American founder of a classical training school and company of ballet: Arthur Mitchell, Dance Theatre of Harlem (See also: 1955)


*1972::First African American to campaign for the U.S. presidency in a major political party: Shirley Chisholm (Democratic Party) (See also: 1968)::First African-American superhero to star in own comic-book series: Luke Cage, Marvel Comics' "Luke Cage, Hero for Hire" #1 (June 1972). (See also: Lobo, 1965, and The Falcon, 1969)::First African-American interracial kiss in a mainstream comics magazine: "The Men Who Called Him Monster", by writer Don McGregor (See also: 1975) and artist Luis Garcia, in Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror-comics magazine "Creepy" #43 (Jan. 1972)::First African-American interracial male kiss: Sammy Davis Jr. and Carroll O'Connor in "All in the Family" [cite episode |title=Sammy's Visit | episodelink=List of All in the Family episodes#Season 2: 1971-1972 | series=All in the Family | serieslink=All in the Family | credits= | network=CBS | airdate=1972-02-12 | season=2 | number=34 |accessdate=2008-02-15 In the comedy-drama "All in the Family", at the last moment as a picture is taken, Sammy Davis Jr., playing himself, chides the bigoted but celebrity-fawning Archie Bunker with a kiss on the cheek.]

*1973::First African American to hold the plant manager position at a U.S. automobile company: Lowell W. Perry.::First African American elected Mayor of Los Angeles, California: Tom Bradley::First African-American Bond Girl in a James Bond movie: Gloria Hendry (as Rosie Carver), "Live and Let Die".::First African-American Bond villain: Yaphet Kotto, playing Mr. Big/Dr. Kananga, "Live and Let Die".::First African-American comic-book creator to receive a "created by" cover-credit ("Midnight Tales" #1): Wayne Howard::First African-American woman mayor of a U.S. metropolitan city: Doris A. Davis, Compton, California::First African-American artistic director of a professional regional theater: Harold Scott (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park)

*1974::First African-American model on the cover of American "Vogue" magazine: Beverly Johnson

*1975::First African American elected mayor, and first mayor, of Washington, D.C.: Walter Washington::First African-American manager in Major League Baseball: Frank Robinson (Cleveland Indians)::First African-American four-star general: Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr.::First African-American women named as "Time" magazine's, Person of the Year: Barbara Jordan and Addie L. Wyatt [cite news |author= |title=A Dozen Who Made a Difference |url=,9171,947599-5,00.html |work=Time |date=05 January 1976 |accessdate=2008-02-14] ::First TV-series cast with African-American interracial couple: "The Jeffersons", actors Franklin Cover and Roxie Roker as Tom & Helen Willis; series creator: Norman Lear::First African-American model on the cover of "ELLE" magazine: Beverly Johnson::First African American to win Super Bowl MVP in NFL: Franco Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers). Of mixed heritage, Harris was also first Italian American to win the award.::First African-American game show host: Adam Wade (CBS' "Musical Chairs")::First African-American interracial kiss in a color comic book: "Amazing Adventures" #31 (July 1975), feature "Killraven: Warrior of the Worlds", characters M'Shulla Scott and Carmilla Frost, by writer Don McGregor (See also: 1972) and artist P. Craig Russell

*1976::First African-American woman Broadway director: Vinnette Justine Carroll ("Your Arms Too Short to Box with God")::First African-American woman elected officer of international labor union: Addie L. Wyatt

*1977::First African American, and first woman, appointed director of the Peace Corps: Carolyn R. Payton.::First African-American woman in the U.S. Cabinet: Patricia Roberts Harris, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.::First African-American woman whose signature appeared on U.S. currency: Azie Taylor Morton, the 36th Treasurer of the United States

*1978::First African-American broadcast network news anchor: Max Robinson (ABC World News Tonight)

*1979::First African American and first person ever to win the Emmy Award Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries: Esther Rolle::First African-American U.S. Marine Corps general officer: Frank E. Petersen


*1981:: First African-American ownership of a major metropolitan newspaper: Robert C. and Nancy Hicks Maynard, "The Oakland Tribune"

*1982::First African American male to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: Louis Gossett, Jr.::First African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Charles Fuller for "A Soldier's Play"

*1983::First African-American astronaut: Guion Stewart "Guy" Bluford, Jr. (Challenger mission STS-8). [Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo Mendez was the first person of African descent in space, in 1980.] ::First African-American mayor of Chicago: Harold Washington::First African-American Miss America: Vanessa L. Williams::First African-American WWE Tag Team Champions: Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas

*1984::First African American to win a U.S. presidential primary/caucus: Jesse Jackson (Louisiana, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, Virginia and one of two separate Mississippi contests).::First African-American New York City Police Commissioner: Benjamin Ward

*1985::First African American to become a member of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels precision flying team: Donnie Cochran. Cochran was also the first African American to command the team (1994).

*1986::First African-American Formula One racecar driver: Willy T. Ribbs [ Lewis Hamilton became the first black Formula One racer in 2006, but he is a British citizen of Grenadan ancestry, and not an African American. Ribbs did not compete in a race, but drove a Formula One car professionally in January 1986 as a tester for the Brabham-BMW at Estoril, Portugal.] (See also: Ribbs, 1991)::First African-American musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in the inaugural class: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, and Little Richard

*1987 ::First African-American woman, and first woman, inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Aretha Franklin

*1988::First African-American woman elected to a U.S. judgeship, and first appointed to a state supreme court: Juanita Kidd Stout::First African-American to win the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival: Forest Whitaker (Bird)::First African American to win a medal at the Winter Olympics (a bronze in figure skating): Debi Thomas::First African-American quarterback to start in the Super Bowl: Doug Williams::First African-American NFL referee: Johnny Grier

*1989::First African-American mayor of New York City: David Dinkins::First African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Colin Powell


*1990::First elected African-American governor: Douglas Wilder (Democrat; Virginia) (See also: P.B.S. Pinchback, 1872)::First African American elected president of the "Harvard Law Review": Barack Obama ::First African-American Miss USA: Carole Gist::First African-American "Playboy" Playmate of the Year: Renee Tenison

*1991::First Afican-American nominated for a Best Director Academy Award. John Singleton for "Boyz N The Hood"::First African-American woman mayor of a major U.S. city: Sharon Pratt Kelly, (Washington, D.C.)::First African American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 auto race: Willy T. Ribbs (See also: Ribbs, 1986)

*1992::First African-American World Heavyweight Champion of wrestling for a major promotion (World Championship Wrestling): Ron Simmons::First African-American woman astronaut: Dr. Mae Jemison (Space Shuttle Endeavour)::First African-American woman elected to U.S. Senate: Carol Moseley Braun (Democrat; Illinois)::First African American to manage a Major League Baseball team to a World Series Championship: Cito Gaston (Toronto Blue Jays)

*1993::First African American woman appointed U.S. Secretary of Energy: Hazel R. O'Leary::First African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature: Toni Morrison::First African-American woman named Poet Laureate of the United States: Rita Dove, also the youngest person named to that position::First African American appointed Surgeon General of the United States: Jocelyn Elders::First African-American woman to win a national chess championship: Kimberly McClelland

*1994::First African-American woman director of a major-studio movie: Darnell Martin (Columbia Pictures' "I Like It Like That")

*1996::First African-American U.S. Navy four-star admiral: J. Paul Reason [cite web |url= |title=Reason Is Navy's First Black Four-Star Admiral |publisher=U.S. Department of Defense |date=1998-02-19 |accessdate=2006-10-30]

*1997::First African American to win a Grand Slam event in golf: Tiger Woods (The Masters)Woods' mixed ancestry — ¼ Chinese, ¼ Thai, ¼ African-American, ⅛ white, and ⅛ Native American — also makes him the first Asian American to achieve this feat.] ::First African-American model to appear on the cover of "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition": Tyra Banks

*1998::First African American appointed U.S. Secretary of Labor: Alexis M. Herman::First African-American WWE Champion: The Rock::First African-American woman to hold the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy: Lillian Fishburne

*1999::First African American to be awarded the International Grandmaster title in chess: Maurice Ashley

21st century

*2000::First African-American tennis player to win the singles Gold Medal at the Summer Olympics: Venus Williams::First African-American tennis team to win the doubles Gold Medal at the Summer Olympics: Serena Williams & Venus Williams

*2001::First African-American Secretary of State: Colin Powell::First African-American president of the Unitarian Universalist Association: Rev. William G. Sinkford::First African-American president of an Ivy League university: Ruth J. Simmons at Brown University, also the first permanent female president of Brown.::First African-American woman to win the ASCAP Pop Music Songwriter of the Year award: Beyoncé Knowles::First African-American woman to be appointed National Security Advisor: Condoleezza Rice (See also: 2005)::First African-American billionaire: Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television

*2002::First African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress: Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball", 2001)Biracial, with Caucasian mother] ::First African-American Winter Olympic gold medal winner: Vonetta Flowers (two-woman bobsleigh). (See also: Shani Davis, 2006)

*2004::First African American to win Broadway theater's Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play: Phylicia Rashad

*2005::First African-American woman appointed Secretary of State: Condoleezza Rice (See also: 2001)

*2006::First African-American individual Winter Olympic gold medal winner: Shani Davis (men's 1,000 meter speed skating) (See also: Vonetta Flowers, 2002)::First African-American interracial gay kiss on network television: Taye Diggs and Eric McCormack in "Will & Grace". [cite episode |title=I Love L. Gay | series=Will & Grace | serieslink=Will & Grace | credits=directed by James Burrows; written by Steve Gabriel | network=NBC | season=8 | number=14 | airdate=2006-02-02 |accessdate=2008-02-14] ::First African-American Extreme Championship Wrestling champion: Franklin Lashley, also known as Bobby Lashley::First African American elected governor of Massachusetts: Deval Patrick::First African American to command a United States Marine Corps division: Walter Gaskin::First African American to reach the peak of Mount Everest: Sophia Danenberg [Biracial, with Japanese mother]

*2007::First African-American NFL head coach to reach the Super Bowl: Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears), Super Bowl XLI. ::First African-American NFL head coach to win the Super Bowl: Tony Dungy (Indianapolis Colts), Super Bowl XLI.::First known African-American woman to reach the North Pole: Barbara Hillary [cite news |author=Meghan Barr |title=Cancer Survivor, 75, Skis to North Pole |url= |work=The Seattle Times |date=6 May 2007|accessdate=2008-02-17]

*2008::First African American to be nominated as a major-party US presidential candidate: Barack Obama, Democratic Party::First African American to referee a Super Bowl game: Mike Carey (Super Bowl XLII)::First African-American woman elected Speaker of a : California Rep. Karen Bass::First African-American governor of New York State: David Paterson (elected as lieutenant governor, succeeded on resignation of previous governor)::First African-American producer to own a running movie and TV studio: Tyler Perry

ee also

* List of first African-American mayors


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