NAACP timeline


The NAACP launches a nationwide protest against D.W. Griffith's film "The Birth of a Nation" and its inaccurate, racially outrageous depiction of black Americans.

Oscar Micheaux releases "The Homesteader" and becomes the first black to write, produce and direct a feature film.

"Show Boat" debuts on Broadway. Featuring both a black and white chorus and African-American performers, it is the first racially integrated stage musical.

Lincoln Perry becomes Hollywood's highest-paid black actor under the guise of Stepin Fetchit. But the black community is outraged by the character's lazy and stupid mannerisms. Perry eventually is forced out of films and "Stepin Fetchit" soon becomes a synonym for an offensive black stereotype.

Oscar's color barrier is broken when Hattie McDaniel wins a supporting actress Academy Award for her role in "Gone With the Wind."

Through the efforts of the NAACP, Hollywood studios agree to stop creating overly stereotypical black characters and to hire more African-American employees.

MGM's feature adaptation of "Show Boat" hits theaters with Ava Gardner playing the pivotal role of Julie, the mulatto showboat performer.

The NAACP seeks a federal injunction stopping CBS from airing the racially offensive comedy "The Amos 'n Andy Show." CBS cancels the show in 1953.Dan Bronson 2/6/09 The NAACP sought the injunction in 1951. The cancellation did not come until 1953.

Civil rights activist Medgar Evers spearheads a complaint to the FCC, accusing local affiliate WLBT of racially biased news reporting. The station's license is eventually revoked in 1969, marking the only time the FCC has taken this action for racial reasons.

Harry Belafonte becomes the first black honored by the Television Academy as he wins an Emmy for his CBS show "Tonight With Belafonte, The Revlon Review."

Sidney Poitier becomes the first black performer to win a best actor Oscar, for his performance in "Lilies of the Field."

The first NAACP Image Awards is held Feb. 4 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, established to promote the image of black artists and honor those who support them.

Sidney Poitier becomes the first black performer to top Quigley's Annual List of Boxoffice Champions. It takes another 40 years to repeat this when Will Smith captures the top spot in 2008.

The NBC sitcom "Julia" debuts, and Diahann Carroll becomes the first black actress to portray a lead character not subservient to her white co-stars.

Independent filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles launches the Blaxploitation movement with "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song." Made for about $150,000, the film goes on to gross more than $15 million domestically and opens the gates for a flood of black-oriented titles.

The Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame opens in Oakland, Calif.

The miniseries "Roots" premieres on ABC and becomes an immediate sensation. The highest-rated installment of the 12-hour, six-night presentation is watched by 36.4 million households, earning a Nielsen share of 71%.

The NAACP spearheads a movement to boycott the NBC miniseries "Beulah Land" because of its insensitive portrayal of Southern slaves. The broadcast is delayed nine months and ultimately re-edited to address the concerns.

NAACP executive director Benjamin L. Hooks appoints a committee to investigate the lack of opportunities for blacks in the film industry.

Walt Disney Prods., MGM and United Artists agree to expand employment opportunities for blacks under an NAACP-led "fair share" program.

NBC airs the Image Awards in primetime for the first time.

"The Cosby Show" finishes its second season as primetime's No. 1-rated series. The comedy stays atop the Nielsens for the next five seasons, making the sitcom format hot again and turning NBC's Thursday nights into "Must See TV."

Fox becomes the new primetime home for the Image Awards.

The Hollywood Black Film Festival debuts. The Los Angeles-based, six-day celebration grows into one of the premiere showcases for up-and-coming black filmmakers.

NAACP president Kweisi Mfume initiates a campaign to pressure CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox into making their primetime lineups more diverse.

NBC president Bob Wright announces that his network is initiating a program to encourage minority hirings. Within weeks, the NAACP pressures ABC, CBS and Fox to follow suit.

Black is beautiful at the 74th Annual Academy Awards. With Whoopi Goldberg hosting, Denzel Washington wins the best actor trophy for "Training Day" and Halle Berry wins the best actress award for "Monster's Ball" -- the first time in Oscar history that blacks take the two top performing honors. Sidney Poitier also is presented with an honorary Oscar.

Producer Vicangelo Bulluck is tapped to head the Hollywood Bureau and supervise production of the Image Awards.

The Image Awards honors Sen. Barack Obama with the Chairman's Award.

Oscar chills as Three 6 Mafia's "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," from the motion picture "Hustle & Flow," wins the Academy Award for best original song.

The Fox broadcast of the Image Awards goes live for the first time.

The striking WGA grants a rare interim agreement to the NAACP for the Image Awards, ensuring a picket-free ceremony.