January 5. The Ohio legislature passed "Black Laws" designed to restrict the legal rights of free blacks. These laws were part of the trend to increasingly severe restrictions on all blacks in both North and South before the Civil War.
January 1. The federal law prohibiting the importation of African slaves went into effect. It was largely circumvented.
April 9. The African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at the first independent black denomination in the United States.
August 18. General Andrew Jackson defeated a force of Native Americans and African-Americans to end the First Seminole War.
May 30. The Denmark Vesey conspiracy was betrayed in Charleston, South Carolina. It is claimed that some 5,000 blacks were prepared to rise in July.
September. David Walker's militant antislavery pamphlet, An Appeal to the Colored People of the World, was in circulation in the South. This work was the first of its kind by a black.
September 20-24. The first National Negro Convention met in Philadelphia.
August 21-22. The Nat Turner revolt ran its course in Southampton County, Virginia.
July. The slaves carried on the Spanish ship, Amistad, took over the vessel and sailed it to Montauk on Long Island. They eventually won their freedom in a case taken to the Supreme Court.
July. Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery. She would return South at least twenty times, leading over 300 slaves to freedom.