For Kids

Read Through History: Black History Timeline Since 1968


The campaign to build a museum honoring black citizens is nearly 100 years old. Building the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture itself and assembling its amazing collection of artifacts is a story in our time though, and the museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016.

All kinds of people helped: educators, activists, politicians, architects, curators, construction workers, and ordinary Americans who donated cherished belongings. According to the Museum's website, it has collected more than 36,000 artifacts. You can explore the Museum's collection of artifacts from home. In fact, if you have a family item you would like to donate, you can fill out an online form to see if the Museum would like to add it.

Listed below is a timeline of important events and milestones of the last 50 years or so of black history in the United States. For each event a few books are listed, both fiction and non-fiction, that bring the events and people to life. Take a book walk through history to learn about these fascinating, determined, brave people who stood together so no one stood alone. To learn more black history, try:

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

~ Barack Obama, Victory Speech November 4, 2008

Late 1960s

1968: The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


January 20, 1986: Martin Luther King Jr. Day first Celebrated as a National Holiday

2008: Barack Obama Elected 44th President of the United States

2013: The Black Lives Matter Movement

To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.

~ IndyPL_CarrieW