May 1, 1867 - First four students enter Howard University.
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 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 Education decision.
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 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 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.