April 7. A slave insurrection occurred in New York City, resulting in the execution of 21 African Americans.
September 9. The Cato revolt was the first serious disturbance among slaves. After killing more than 25 whites, most of the rebels, led by a slave named Cato, were rounded up as they tried to escape to Florida. More than 30 blacks were executed as participants.
March 5. Crispus Attucks, an escaped slave, was among the five victims in the Boston Massacre. He is said to have been the first to fall.
Jean Baptiste Point DuSable decided to build a trading post near Lake Michigan, thus becoming the first permanent resident of the settlement that became Chicago.
April 19. Free blacks fight with the Minutemen in the initial skirmishes of the Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
June 17. Peter Salem and Salem Poor were two blacks commended for their service on the American side at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
July 2. Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery.
November 1. The African Free School of New York City was opened.
December 31. George Washington reversed previous policy and allowed the recruitment of blacks as soldiers. Some 5,000 would participate on the American side before the end of the Revolution.
April 12. Richard Allen and Absalom Jones organized the Free African Society, a mutual self-help group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
July 13. The Continental Congress forbade slavery in the region northwest of the Ohio River by the Northwest Ordinance.
September. The Constitution of the United States allowed a male slave to count as three-fifths of a man in determining representation in the House of Representatives.
Benjamin Banneker published the first almanac by a black.
February 12. Congress passed the first Fugitive Slave Law.
March 14. Eli Whitney obtained a patent for his cotton gin, a device that paved the way for the massive expansion of slavery in the South.
June 10. Richard Allen founded the Bethel African Methodist Church in Philadelphia.
August 30. A slave revolt near Richmond, Virginia, led by Gabriel Prosser and Jack Bowley, was first postponed and then betrayed. More than 40 blacks were eventually executed.