Race/Ethnicity and Religion - Events By Name

Autobiography of a Yogi Published

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.

1978 Revelation on Priesthood

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

African Methodist Episcopal Church

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

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

Albert Cleage and The Black Madonna

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

American Chapter of Soka Gakkai Formed

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

American Indian Religious Freedom Act

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

Augustus Tolton Becomes Ordained Catholic Priest

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

Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois

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.

Barbara Harris Ordained as Anglican Bishop

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

Billy Graham Holds First Integrated Crusade in Chattanooga, TN

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

Birmingham Church Bombing

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

Buddhist Churches of America

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

Bureau of Immigration

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

Chief Seattle's Speech

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

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

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

Church of God in Christ

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.

Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America Founded

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

Dzemijetul Hajrije

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

First African Presbyterian Church Organized

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

First Buddhist Temples Built

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.

First Buddhists Elected to U.S. Congress

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

First Daoist/Traditional Chinese Temples in the U.S.

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 Purpose-Built Mosque

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

First Shinto Shrine in the U.S.

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

First Sikh Gurdwara

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.

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple

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

Freedmen's Aid Society

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

George Bourne Dismissed for His Opposition to Slavery

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

Hindu Temple Established in San Francisco

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

Immigration and Nationality Act of 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.

Indian Manual Training School Founded in Oregon

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

International Society for Krishna Consciousness

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.

Islamic Center of America

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.

John Chivington Leads Sand Creek Massacre

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

Keith Ellison Elected to U.S. Congress

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.

Major Upsurge in Hindu Temples

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

Methodist Episcopal Church, South

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

Million Man March

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.

Mother Mosque of America

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

Muhammad Ali Converts to Islam

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.

Murders of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman

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

Nat Turner's Rebellion

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

Nation of Islam Founded

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.

National Baptist Convention

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

Native American Peyote Controversy

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.

Oblate Sisters of Providence Founded

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

Papal Condemnation of Slave Trade

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.

Peyote Religion and the Native American Church

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.

Presbyterian Church in the U.S.

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.

Progressive National Baptist Convention

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.

Publication of Appeal to the Christian Women of the South

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

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

Ququnok Patke Prophesies

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

Silver Bluff Baptist Church

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

Sojourner Truth's Methodist Conversion

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

Southern Baptist Convention Founded

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.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

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.

Sufism Comes to United States

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.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church Connection

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

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

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.

Union Church of Africans

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

UPCUSA Confession of 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.

Vietnamese Buddhists Come to United States

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

Xavier University of Louisiana Founded

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

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