1899
Duke Ellington is born on April 29th

1900
Eastman Kodak makes photography accessible with a $1 camera

1901
President McKinley is assassinated. Roosevelt becomes president

1902
United Mine Workers lead a five-month coal strike, crippling the U.S.

1903
Wright Brothers First Flight

1904
The first flat-disk phonograph is introduced

1905
Albert Einstein proposes his theory of relativity

1906
A great earthquake hits San Francisco, 2,500 people die

1907
A record 1.29 million immigrants enter the United States

1908
Jack Johnson becomes the first black heavyweight champion

1909
Regular radio broadcasts begin playing ragtime

1910
Angel Island in San Francisco opens as a quarantine station for immigrants from Asia

1911
Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” popularizes ragtime

1912
The Titanic sinks, 1,513 passengers are lost, 711 are rescued

1913
First model T assembly line

1914
World War I begins

1915
U-boat sinks the passenger ship S.S. Lusitania, killing 1,198
Billy Strayhorn is born

1916
Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman elected to Congress
Declines art scholarship to Pratt

1917
War infiltrates music; popular songs include “You’re In The Army Now”

1918
On its tour of Europe, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band spreads the taste for jazz
Formed his first band

1919
Race riots break out in 29 American cities
Marries Edna Thompson

1920
Women get the vote
Duke’s son, Mercer Ellington born

1921
Channel No. 5 makes a splash, becoming the world’s best-selling perfume

1922
Insulin is isolated, marking the first successful treatment for diabetes
Family moves to Harlem, New York

1923
Harlem Renaissance begins
Hires musician Bubber Miley, trumpeter

1924
George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue

1925
Electric recording is invented by Bell Labs and Western Electric

1926
Langston Hughes publishes The Weary Blues
Recorded East St. Louis Toodle-OO

1927
Lindbergh crosses the Atlantic
Begins his stint at the Cotton Club

1928
Physicians prescribe whiskey as a therapeutic substance during Prohibition
Writes Black Beauty

1929
Stock Market crash
Writes Black & Tan Fantasie

1930
Pluto, the ninth planet, is discovered by astronomers
Recorded Mood Indigo

1931
The Star Spangled Banner becomes the National anthem by order of Congress
Recorded Rockin ‘in Rhythm & Creole Rhapsody

1932
FD Roosevelt elected President
His band increases to 14 instrumentalists

1933
Frequency modulations (FM) permit radio reception without static
Made his first our of Europe

1934
The FCC is created to oversee U.S. Telephone and radio communications
Wrote Symphony in Black for a film short

1935
First public housing projects are established on New York’s Lower East Side
Daisy Ellington, his mother, dies

1936
Joe DiMaggio joins the New York Yankees

1937
George Gershwin dies at age 38

1938
Woody Guthrie takes his one-man folk music show on the road
Billy Strayhorn joins the band

1939
World War II begins
Duke and his band tour Europe, amidst WWII

1940
Walt Disney’s animated motion picture Fantasia, starring Mickey Mouse, debuts

1941
First jet airplane flight

1942
Maxwell House invents instant coffee at the request of the U.S. Army

1943
Race riots explode in Harlem, and 46 other U.S. cities
Makes his debut at Carnegie Hall

1944
Lillian Smith, a white southerner, publishes her anti-lynching classic, Strange Fruit

1945
Atomic bomb ends WWII — 50 million people dead

1946
As veterans return home, the birth rate increases this year by about 20%

1947
Jackie Robinson breaks baseball color barrier

1948
Television begins its boom; close to one million households have television sets

1949
President Truman promises to give Americans a “Fair Deal”

1950
Senator Joseph McCarthy begins his one-man anti-Communist witch hunt

1951
Marlon Brando stars in Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire”

1952
African-American novelist Ralph Ellison publishes “The Invisible Man”

1953
African-American novelist James Baldwin publishes “Go Tell It On The Mountain”

1954
Supreme court bans school segregation
Composes Satin Doll

1955
Rosa Parks/Alabama bus boycott

1956
Elvis appears on Ed Sullivan show
Newport Jazz Festival triumph

1957
Sputnick puts Russians in space

1958
Great Day in Harlem Photograph taken by Art Kane
He records his 6-part work, “Come Sunday”

1959
Jazz’s “Lady Day,” Billie Holiday, dies
Composes soundtrack, “Anatomy of a Murder

1960
Sit in at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, protesting segregation

1961
Bob Dylan produces his first album and becomes symbolic of the civil rights movement
Meets the Count (Bassie) on July 6th

1962
Marilyn Monroe dies and is eulogized as “a legend in her own time”

1963
John F. Kennedy assassinated
Starts an 81 day tour around the world

1964
Beatles appear on Ed Sullivan show
Duke starts to tour Japan

1965
Civil Rights Amendment passed

1966
Beatles play final concert in San Francisco

1967
Thurgood Marshall becomes the first black Supreme Court justice
Billy Strayhorn dies

1968
Martin Luther King assassinated

1969
First man-walk on the moon
Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

1970
Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both die this year
Johnny Hodges dies

1971
Supreme Court upholds measure to bus children in order to enforce school integration

1972
Nixon has an unprecedented state visit with Chairman Mao Zedong in Bejing

1973
U.S. withdraws from Vietnam
Duke publishes “Music is My Mistress”

1974
President Nixon resigns
Duke dies at the age of 75 on May 24th

1975
Microsoft is founded in Seattle by Paul Allen and Bill Gates

1976
Reversing the 1972 decision, the Supreme Court rules the death penalty constitutional

1977
Elvis Presley, Charlie Chaplin and Bing Crosby die this year

1978
98% of all American households have a television
Mercer publishes “Duke Ellington in Person”

1979
A nuclear-related accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania occurs

1980
Music legend John Lennon is shot in New York City

1981
Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court

1982
The first successful heart transplant is performed in Salt Lake City, Utah

1983
Michael Jackson’s Thriller tops the charts with “Beat It”

1984
Ronald Reagan wins re-election to the U.S. Presidency

1985
Disney buys ABC for $19 billion

1986
The space shuttle Challenger explodes after lift-off

1987
Toni Morrison will receive a Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved, published this year.
Archive is officially preserved at the Smithsonian

1988
Vice-president George Bush wins the presidential election

1989
10 million gallons of oil pollute Alaskan waters when the Exxon Valdez runs aground

1990
Iraq invades Kuwait, triggering Gulf War

1991
3 out of 4 U.S. homes own VCRs

1992
Rioting in Los Angeles following police acquittal for King beating

1993
Steven Spielberg directs Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List
John Edward Hasse publishes “Beyond Category”

1994
U.S. Government privatizes Internet management

1995
Terrorist explosion in Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Building kills 168 people

1996
Time Warner acquires CNN, creating the world’s largest media company

1997
Sojurner transmits messages from Mars

1998
Dolly the sheep is cloned

1999
The centennial of Ellington’s birth is celebrated worldwide