Timeline 1903 – 1939
The Great Migration begins as thousands of African Americans flee the Jim Crow South
Fueled by the runaway success of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, the Klu Klux Klan, dormant since 1871, is revived in Stone Mountain, GA.
The U.S. enters World War I. The first black regiment to go, the 369th Infantry (a.k.a. "the Harlem Hellfighters"), led by James Reese Europe, wins accolades from the French for their fighting— and their band introduces jazz to Europe.
A race riot in East St. Louis, IL leaves forty black people dead and drives 6,000 from their homes. In the first major civil rights protest of the century, the NAACP stages a "silent parade" of thousands in Harlem to protest the East St. Louis riot as well as lynching, racial violence, and discrimination across the United States.
December 18 Ossie Davis is born in Cogdell, Georgia to Kince and Laura Davis.
Hear Ossie's birth story
Ossie is sent to live with his grandparents and attend elementary school in Waycross, Georgia. His parents move to Waycross the following year.
Edward Wallace and his second wife, Emma, moves the family to Harlem.
Barred by the Daughters of the American Revolution from performing at Constitution Hall, Marian Anderson sings at the Lincoln Memorial for an audience of 75,000 - including one Ossie Davis.
Following the advice of Alain Locke (albeit prematurely), Ossie leaves Howard for Harlem and joins the Rose McClendon Players, where he makes his stage debut in Joy Exceeding Glory, a play about Father Divine.
Ruby graduates from Hunter High School, enters Hunter College in the fall.
Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American actor to receive an Academy Award for her role in Gone with the Wind.