Race/Ethnicity and Religion - Events By Date
Search Timelines:

Silver Bluff Baptist Church (1775)

Silver Bluff Baptist Church was founded over the course of 1773-1775 as the first black Baptist church in America.

Thomas Coke's Anti-Slavery Resolution, "Christmas Conference" (1784)

The Christmas Conference of 1784 allowed American Methodists to establish their new denominational identity in the United States and to reaffirm their opposition to slavery.

First African Presbyterian Church Organized (1807)

In May 1807, John Gloucester organized the first African American Presbyterian Church.

Ququnok Patke Prophesies (1809)

Ququnok Patke (c.1790s-1837) was a Kootenai Indian whose prophecies in the early 1800s made her legendary throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Union Church of Africans (1813)

In 1813, the Union Church of Africans became the first independently organized black church in the United States.

George Bourne Dismissed for His Opposition to Slavery (1815)

Presbyterian minister George Bourne lost his pastor position in 1815 for advocating the immediate emancipation of the slaves.

African Methodist Episcopal Church (1816)

In 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal Church formed after years of unequal treatment with white Methodists. It is the oldest existing African-American denomination in the U.S.

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (1821)

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church formed in 1821 as a response to racial discrimination and segregation.

Oblate Sisters of Providence Founded (1829)

The Oblate Sisters of Providence, founded in Baltimore, Md., in 1829, was the first Roman Catholic congregation founded by women of African descent.

Nat Turner's Rebellion (8/21/1831-8/23/1831)

Nat Turner’s rebellion (1831) is the most famous slave revolt in American history.

Indian Manual Training School Founded in Oregon (1835)

In 1835, Methodist missionaries established a mission and manual labor school for American Indians, which was largely unsuccessful.

Publication of Appeal to the Christian Women of the South (1836)

In 1836, Angelina Grimke published Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, which urged other southern Christian women to denounce slavery.

Publication of Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee (1836)

Jarena Lee’s 1836 autobiography is one of the first extended life accounts of a black woman in America.

Papal Condemnation of Slave Trade (1839)

In 1839, Pope Gregory XVI condemned the slave trade in the papal bull entitled In supremo apostolatus, but American Catholics were tentative about ending slavery.

Sojourner Truth's Methodist Conversion (1843)

In 1843, Sojourner Truth converted to Methodism and found her calling as an important social activist for blacks as well as women.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church Connection (1843)

In 1843, abolitionists split from the Methodist Episcopal Church over slavery and church governance.

Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1845)

In 1845, the contentious issue of American slavery divided the Methodist Episcopal Church into Northern and Southern denominations.

Southern Baptist Convention Founded (5/8/1845-5/12/1845)

The Southern Baptist Convention (1845) resulted from a split between Northern and Southern Baptists over slavery. It is now the largest Protestant denomination in America.

Murders of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman (11/29/1847)

In 1847, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, early missionaries to the Oregon territory, were killed by the Cayuse Indians in a widely publicized massacre.

First Daoist/Traditional Chinese Temples in the U.S. (1849)

Daoism (i.e., Taoism), one of China’s recognized religions, arrived in San Francisco in the 19th century as Chinese immigrants sought work in California’s gold rush.

First Buddhist Temples Built (1853-1889)

In the 1850s-1880s, Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought Buddhism to America as they searched for work in Hawaii's plantations and California's gold rush.

Chief Seattle's Speech (1854)

An 1854 speech by Native American Chief Seattle (1780-1866) inspired the 20th century environmental movement, despite being heavily rewritten.

Freedmen's Aid Society (1861)

In the 1860s, the Freedmen's Aid Society formed with the goal of increasing educational opportunities for blacks in the American South.

Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (1861)

The Civil War divided northern and southern Presbyterians, leading those in the South to secede and form the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. in 1861.

John Chivington Leads Sand Creek Massacre (11/29/1864)

In 1864, former Methodist Episcopal Church pastor John Chivington led a massacre against Colorado Native Americans, now known as the Sand Creek Massacre.

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (1870)

In 1870, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church formed after southern black Methodists desired to form their own denomination following the Civil War.

Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America Founded (1874)

In 1874, former slaves in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church founded an independent denomination, later named the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America.

Peyote Religion and the Native American Church (1885-1918)

Use of peyote, a psychedelic source for Native American spirit ceremonies, became widespread in the mid-1880s. In 1906, peyote groups formed the Native American Church.

Augustus Tolton Becomes Ordained Catholic Priest (4/24/1886)

On April 24, 1886, Augustus Tolton became the first fully and recognizably African-American Catholic priest.

National Baptist Convention (9/24/1895)

The National Baptist Convention has been the largest national association of African-American Baptists since 1895 despite major denominational splits in 1915 and 1961.

Church of God in Christ (1897)

The Church of God in Christ was formed in 1897 in Mississippi. It is the oldest and largest black Pentecostal body in the United States.

First Shinto Shrine in the U.S. (11/3/1898)

On November 3, 1898, Japanese immigrants built the first Shinto shrine in the United States in Hilo, Hawaii.

Dzemijetul Hajrije (1906)

Dzemijetal Hajrije, America's oldest existing Muslim organization, was formed in 1906 by Bosnian immigrants who came to Chicago to help dig subway tunnels.

Hindu Temple Established in San Francisco (1/7/1906)

On Jan. 7, 1906, Indian-born Swami Trigunatita helped build one of the first Hindu temples of the western world in San Francisco.

Sufism Comes to United States (1910)

Fulfilling the wishes of his Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan sailed to America in 1910 to spread the message of this mystical arm of Islam.

First Sikh Gurdwara (1912)

The first gurdwara, a Sikh gathering place, was built in 1912 in Stockton, C.A., by settlers attracted to the fertile farmland similar to their native Punjab.

Xavier University of Louisiana Founded (1915)

Xavier University of Louisiana (est. 1915) is the only historically black Catholic institution of higher learning in America.

Bureau of Immigration (1920)

In 1920, the National Catholic Welfare Council gave aid and guidance to new Catholic immigrants through its Bureau of Immigration.

First Purpose-Built Mosque (1929)

In 1929, Syrian-Lebanese immigrants constructed the first purpose-built mosque in America in Ross, N.D., to serve their small community of Muslims.

Nation of Islam Founded (7/4/1930)

On July 4, 1930, W.D. Fard founded the Nation of Islam, one of the most radical and militant religious movements of the 20th century.

Mother Mosque of America (1934)

The "Mother Mosque of America," established by immigrants in 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the oldest purpose-built mosque still in use.

Buddhist Churches of America (1944)

The Buddhist Churches of America, formed in 1944 and headquartered in San Francisco, represents mainstream Japanese American Buddhism.

Autobiography of a Yogi Published (1946)

Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi, published in 1946, continues to be used by followers of his Self-Realization Fellowship and as college textbooks.

Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois (1953)

The Baha'i House of Worship, located near Chicago in Wilmette, Ill., was opened in 1953 and is the only Baha'i temple in North America.

Billy Graham Holds First Integrated Crusade in Chattanooga, TN (3/15/1953-4/14/1953)

In 1953, Billy Graham's decision to hold an integrated crusade in the South helped shift racial attitudes among white evangelicals.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (2/15/1957)

Founded in 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) believed that racial equality was a Christian imperative and utilized non-violent protests to combat racism.

American Chapter of Soka Gakkai Formed (1960)

The Japanese-based Soka Gakkai Buddhist society commissioned its U.S. chapter in 1960. In 1991, the chapter reorganized as Soka Gakkai International-USA.

Progressive National Baptist Convention (11/14/1961-11/15/1961)

In 1961, the Progressive National Baptist Convention split from the National Baptist Convention, USA, due to disputes regarding Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights activism.

Birmingham Church Bombing (9/15/1963)

On September 15, 1963, a bomb detonated inside 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama. Four young African-American girls were killed, sparking national outrage.

Islamic Center of America (9/20/1963)

In 1963, after years of fundraising, Lebanese Muslims in the Detroit area opened the Islamic Center of America, one of the oldest Shi'a mosques in America.

Muhammad Ali Converts to Islam (1964)

After winning his first heavyweight championship in 1964, boxer Cassius Clay (1942-2016) announced he had converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (1965)

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (i.e., Hart-Celler Act) permitted more Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu immigrants into the United States, changing the U.S. religious landscape.

International Society for Krishna Consciousness (1966)

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Parbhupada (1896-1977) founded the International Society of Krishna Consciousness in 1966 in New York to bring Krishna worship to the West.

UPCUSA Confession of 1967 (1967)

The 1967 Confession added calls for racial and social reconciliation, but conservatives in the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) accused it of hedging on essential doctrines.

Albert Cleage and The Black Madonna (3/26/1967)

In 1967, Albert Cleage revealed to his congregation a painting called "The Black Madonna," a provocative start to the Black Christian Nationalist Movement.

Vietnamese Buddhists Come to United States (1975)

Vietnamese Buddhism spread across America as thousands of refugees arrived after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

Major Upsurge in Hindu Temples (6/8/1977)

The 1970s, and early 1980s, saw an explosion of Hindu temples in America, courtesy of a new law allowing for more immigrants from India.

1978 Revelation on Priesthood (1978)

In 1978, the Church of Latter-day Saints opened the priesthood to male members of African descent for the first time.

American Indian Religious Freedom Act (1978)

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, passed in 1978, acknowledged the importance of Native American religious traditions and pledged to protect their rights.

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple (1988)

Built in 1988, Hsi Lai Temple near Los Angeles is the largest Buddhist temple in the western hemisphere.

Barbara Harris Ordained as Anglican Bishop (1989)

The Right Rev. Barbara Harris (1930-present), an African-American Episcopalian, was consecrated the first female bishop in the Worldwide Anglican Communion in 1989.

Native American Peyote Controversy (1994)

Despite passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, legal judgments continued to challenge the use of peyote in religious services until 1994.

Million Man March (10/16/1995)

The Million Man March in 1995, organized by the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, was the largest gathering of African Americans in U.S. history.

First Buddhists Elected to U.S. Congress (11/7/2006)

In November 2006, voters in Georgia and Hawaii elected the first two Buddhists --Democrats Hank Johnson and Mazie Hirono -- to the U.S. Congress.

Keith Ellison Elected to U.S. Congress (11/7/2006)

On Nov. 7, 2006, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to national office, joining the U.S. House of Representatives for Minnesota's fifth district.


Bookmark and Share