The Timeline
The Timeline

THE LIVES AND TIMES OF SADIE AND BESSIE DELANY (1889 - 2000)

Choose dates in the following time line to see events in Sadie & Bessie's life and what was happening in the world.

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1880

    1889
  • Sarah Louise "Sadie" Delany, the second child of ten, is born in Virginia to the mixed-race Nanny Logan and born-slave Henry Beard Delany. It is 24 years after the Civil War ended.
  • The number of states in the Union increases from 38 to 42.
Diahann Carroll as Sadie and Ruby Dee as Bessie hold a photograph of Lonette McKee as Mama and Mykeoti Williamson as Papa in the film, <B>Having Our Say</B>
Diahann Carroll as Sadie and Ruby Dee as Bessie hold a photograph of Lonette McKee as Mama and Mykeoti Williamson as Papa in the film, Having Our Say

1890

Sadie and Bessie.
Sadie and Bessie.
    1891
  • Annie Elizabeth "Bessie" Delany, the third child in the family, is born in North Carolina.
  • There are 112 recorded lynchings.
  • Street cars in some southern states are segregated for the first time.
Kiara Harris as Sadie at 7 and Haleigh Porter as Bessie at 5.
Kiara Harris as Sadie at 7 and Haleigh Porter as Bessie at 5.
    1896
  • Sadie is 7, Bessie is 5.
  • The United States captures Puerto Rico in the Spanish American War.
  • There are 40,000 phones in the U.S.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court rules that "separate but equal" public accommodations are legal.

1900

Delany Family photograph from 1906.
Delany Family photograph from 1906.
    1900
  • Sadie is 11, Bessie is 9.
  • W.E.B. DuBois proclaims, "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line."
  • Scientists transmit human speech by radio waves.
  • Average life expectancy in U.S. is 49.
  • Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery is published.
Lisa Arrindell Anderson, Audra McDonald, Lonette McKee and Mykelti Williamson scanned into the family photograph from 1906.
Lisa Arrindell Anderson, Audra McDonald, Lonette McKee and Mykelti Williamson scanned into the family photograph from 1906.
    1903
  • Sadie is 14. Bessie is 12.
  • The first powered airplane is flown.
  • The first motor car company is founded.

1910

Sadie learning greek from Professor Boyer.
Sadie learning greek from Professor Boyer.
    1910
  • Sadie is 21. Bessie is 19.
  • Halley's Comet makes its first 20th century appearance.
  • Boxer Jack Johnson, an African American, wins the world heavyweight championship.
  • The NAACP is incorporated.
    1913
  • Sadie is 24. Bessie is 22.
  • Federal income tax is introduced in the U.S. through the 16th Amendment.
  • Zippers become popular.
    1914
  • Sadie is 25. Bessie is 23.
  • All Southern state now have "Jim Crow Laws" relegating Black Americans to a lower status than White Americans.
Lisa Arrindell Anderson scanned in as Sadie (with Professor Boyer).
Lisa Arrindell Anderson scanned in as Sadie (with Professor Boyer).
    1917
  • Bessie (26) follows Sadie (28) to Harlem.
  • The United States enters WWI.
  • There are 10 million phones in the U.S.
  • Literacy becomes a requirement for U.S. citzenship.
    1918
  • Sadie (29) graduates from Pratt Institute and continues her education at Columbia University.
  • Daylight Savings Time begins in the U.S.
  • Spanish American acress Rita Hayworth (Margarita Carmen Cansino) is born in Brooklyn, N.Y.
    1919
  • Bessie (28) attends Columbia Dental School and the sisters rent their first apartment in Harlem (2505 7th Ave. at 145th St.).
  • Alcohol becomes illegal when the 18th Amendment passes.

1920

Delany Family photograph from 1928
Delany Family photograph from 1928
    1920
  • Sadie (31) graduates from Columbia Teachers College and starts her first teaching job at PS 119 in Harlem.
  • American women win the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment.
    1922
  • Sadie is 33. Bessie is 31.
  • The results of the Presidential election are broadcast on the first homemade radio sets.
  • The Lincoln Memorial is dedicated in a segregated ceremony.
    1923
  • Bessie (32) graduates from Columbia Dental School.
  • Garrett Morgan, the African American inventor of the gas mask, sells his patent for the automatic traffic light to General Electric for $40,000.
Delany family in 1928 with Lisa Arrindell Anderson and Audra McDonald scanned in.
Delany family in 1928 with Lisa Arrindell Anderson and Audra McDonald scanned in.
    1925
  • Sadie (36) finishes her Master's Degree in Education at Columbia University. Bessie (34) starts her dental practice at 2305 Seventh Avenue at 135th Street.
  • Louis Tawanima, a Native American from the Hopi, is disqualified from a cross-country derby for running too fast and spoiling the fun of the race.
    1929
  • Sadie is 40. Bessie is 38.
  • The U.S. stock market crashes.
  • The 22-year-old Cab Calloway performs at the Cotton Club in Harlem.

1930

    1930
  • Sadie (41) becomes the first African American teacher of domestic science in NYC's high schools.
  • Anglo American Grant Wood paints "American Gothic" and African American painter William H. Johnson receives the Harmon Award.
  • Paul Robeson performs "Othello" in London, England.
    1936
  • Sadie is 47. Bessie is 45.
  • When a Black American minister offers the prayer at the Democratic National Convention, a S.C. senator and Charleston's mayor walk out in protest.
  • African American Jesse Owens wins 4 gold medals in the Olympics; Adolf Hitler refuses to shake his hand.
    1939
  • Sadie is 50. Bessie is 48.
  • Commercial television sets are tested for the 1st time in NYC.
  • Marian Anderson sings at the Lincoln Memorial after being denied access to Constitutional Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigns membership.
Left: Young Bessie at the beach.<br>Right: Audra McDonald scanned in as young Bessie.
Left: Young Bessie at the beach.
Right: Audra McDonald scanned in as young Bessie.

1940

St.Augustine's School in Raleigh, North Carolina.
St.Augustine's School in Raleigh, North Carolina.
    1941
  • Sadie (52) and Bessie (50) move to 80 Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem.
  • The U.S. enters WWII by declaring war on Japan, and later, on Germany and Italy.
  • Average life expectancy in the U.S. is 64.
  • 30 million U.S. homes have radios.
Having Our Say - The Film.
Having Our Say - The Film.
    1945
  • Sadie (56) and Bessie (54) move to the Bronx.
  • Atom bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, putting an end to WWII.

1950

    1950
  • Bessie (59) retires from her dental practice.
  • Poet Gwendolyn Brooks is the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize.
  • 1.5 million TV sets are in use.
  • The Korean War begins.
    1954
  • Sadie is 65. Bessie is 63.
  • Segregation in public education is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. The ruling is based, to a large degree, on research done by African American Doctors Kenneth and Mamie Clark.
    1955
  • Sadie is 66. Bessie is 64.
  • Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a White American man. A bus boycott, organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. follows.
  • White American Jonas Salk develops polio vaccine.
    1957
  • Sadie (68) and Bessie (66) move to Mount Vernon, New York.
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles.
  • Althea Gibson is the first African American tennis champion at Wimbledon.
Having Our Say - The Film.
Having Our Say - The Film.
    1958
  • Sadie is 69. Bessie is 67.
  • NASA is established; the U.S. launches its first moon rocket and the U.S.S.R. lauches Sputnik.

1960

    1960
  • Sadie (71) retires.
  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 into law.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee's novel about prejudice, is published.
    1963
  • Sadie is 74. Bessie is 72.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I Have A Dream" speech to over 250,000 people at the March on Washington, the largest protest in U.S. history.
  • President Kennedy is assassinated.
    1964
  • Sadie is 75. Bessie is 73.
  • Congress passes a Civil Rights Bill, banning discrimination in public accommodations, education and employment.
    1968
  • Sadie is 79. Bessie is 77.
  • Richard Nixon is elected President.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy are assassinated.
  • With increased U.S. bombing in the Vietnam War, the country erupts in protest.
Della Reese as Martha Logan
Della Reese as Martha Logan
    1969
  • Sadie is 80. Bessie is 78.
  • Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon.

1970

    1972
  • Sadie is 83. Bessie is 81.
  • Sixteen Black Americans are elected to Congress, including two women.
    1976
  • Sadie is 87. Bessie is 85.
  • The Episcopal Church approves the ordination of women as priests.
  • College enrollment among Black Americans has risen from 282,000 in 1966 to 1,062,000.
    1978
  • Sadie is 89. Bessie is 87.
  • I.M. Pei, a Chinese American, designs the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Having Our Say - The Film.
Having Our Say - The Film.

1980

Amy Madigan as Amy Hill Hearth.
Amy Madigan as Amy Hill Hearth.
    1986
  • Sadie is 97. Bessie is 95.
  • Dr. Martin Lurther King, Jr.'s birthday is celebrated as a federal holiday.
  • Halley's Comet returns.
Sadie and Bessie's scrapbook created for the film <B>Having Our Say</B>.
Sadie and Bessie's scrapbook created for the film Having Our Say.
    1989
  • Sadie celebrates her 100th birthday.
  • Fax machines emerge as a major communication tool.
  • David Dinkins is elected mayor of New York, the first Afican American tohead the government of the nation's largest city.

1990

    1991
  • Bessie celebrates her 100th birthday.
  • African American Dr. Mae C. Jemison begins training for her historic 1992 flight into outer space in the space shuttle Endeavor.
  • Amy Hill Hearth writes a feature aricle on the Delany sisters for The New York Times.
    1993
  • Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years is published by Kodansha America. Sadie is 104. Bessie is 102.
  • Mexican American Ellen Ochoa launches in shuttle Atlas II & walks in space.
  • Mexican American Cesar Chavez, United Farmworkers' Committee president, dies in Ca.
  • Clinton's inaugural celebration is attended by a record number of Black Americans.
    1995
  • Sadie Delany is 106.
  • September 25, Dr. "Bessie" died at her home in Mt. Vernon in her sleep at age 104.
  • The Delany Sisters' Book of Everyday Wisdom is published.
  • HAVING OUR SAY opens on Broadway.
Having Our Say - The Film.
Having Our Say - The Film.
    1997
  • Sadie Delany is 108.
  • On My Own at 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie is published in February.
    1999
  • January 25, the remarkable Miss Sadie died peacefully at her home in Mt. Vernon at age 109.
  • January 18, production begins for the Kraft sponsored CBS movie of HAVING OUR SAY - Airs April 18, 1999.
  • 1880
  • 1890
  • 1900
  • 1910
  • 1920
  • 1930
  • 1940
  • 1950
  • 1960
  • 1970
  • 1980
  • 1990

** All Paintings by Dahl Taylor **

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