What follows is a partial, developing timeline on the histories of black poetry:
1854: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's volume of poetry Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects is published.
1864: Frances E. W. Harper's poem "Bury Me in a Free Land" is published in Liberator, January 14.
1893: Paul Laurence Dunbar's first collection of poems Oak and Ivy is published.
1895: Alice Moore's Violets and other tales is published.
1896: Dunbar's Lyrics of Lowly Life are published.
1900: "Lift Every Voice and Sing," written by James Weldon Johnson, is performed for Booker T. Washington.
1905: John Johnson, brother of James Weldon Johnson, sets "Lift Every Voice and Sing" to music.
1913: Fenton Johnson's first volume A Little Dreaming is published.
1918: Georgia Douglas Johnson's The Heart of a Woman is published. "The Heart of a Woman."
1919: The NAACP adopts "Lift Every Voice and Sing" as "The Negro National Anthem."
1919: Claude McKay's "If We Must Die" is published in the July issue of Liberator.
1921: Langston Hughes's "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is published in the June issue of The Crisis magazine.
1922: The Book of American Negro Poetry, edited by James Weldon Johnson, is published.
1923: Jean Toomer's Cane is published.
1925: The New Negro, edited by Alain Locke, is published.
1925: Countee Cullen's first volume Color is published.
1926: Langston Hughes's first volume The Weary Blues is published by Knopf.
1926: Langston Hughes's "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" appears in the June issue of The Nation.
1932: Sterling A. Brown's Southern Road is published.
1937: Margaret Walker's "For My People" is published in the November 1937 issue of Poetry magazine.
1942: Margaret Walker's For My People, recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets award, is published.
1945: Gwendolyn Brooks's A Street in Bronzeville is published by Harper & Row.
1945: A version of Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage” is published in the journal Phylon (Vol. 6, No. 3 3rd Qtr., 1945).
1945: Another version of Hayden’s “Middle Passage” is published in Cross Section 1945.
1947: Melvin B. Tolson named poet laureate of Liberia.
1950: Gwendolyn Brooks is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her volume Annie Allen (1949).
1959: Gwendolyn Brooks's "We Real Cool" is published in the September issue of Poetry magazine.
1962: Third published version of Hayden’s “Middle Passage” is published in his volume A Ballad of Remembrance.
1963: Blues People: Negro Music in White America by Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones) is published.
1965: Malcolm X is assassinated in Harlem on February 21. Poet and essayist Larry Neal witnesses the murder.
1965: The Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School opens in Harlem in April.
1965: Broadside Press is created by Dudley Randall in Detroit, Michigan.
1965: "A Poem For Black Hearts" (a tribute poem for Malcolm X) by Amiri Baraka published in Negro Digest.
1965: "Black Art" composed, performed by Amiri Baraka in November on Sonny Murray's album Sonny's Time Now.
1966: A fourth published version of Hayden’s “Middle Passage” appears in his Selected Poems.
1966: "Black Art" by Amiri Baraka is published in the January issue of Liberator.
1966: John Oliver Killens organizes a major black writers conference at Fisk University in Nashville in April.
1967: John Coltrane dies July 17, and quickly becomes a major subject of tribute for black poets.
1967: Third World Press is created by Haki Madhubuti in Chicago, Illinois.
1968: Poet Henry Dumas is killed May 23, New York City Transit Authority police officer.
1968: Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing edited by Baraka and Neal is published.
1969: Nikki Giovanni has a book party promoting Black Judgement; receives coverage in the Times.
1969: Carolyn Rodgers's essay "Black Poetry--Where It's At" appears in Negro Digest in September.
1973: Understanding the New Black Poetry, edited by Stephen Henderson, is published.
1976: Black World magazine, a major venue for the publication of black poetry, ceases publication.
1976: Eugene B. Redmond publishes Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry, A Critical Study.
1976: Robert Hayden appointed Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
1984: Eroding Witness (1985) by Nathaniel Mackey, selected by M. Harper as a National Poetry Series Winner.
1985: Gwendolyn Brooks appointed the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
1985: Robert Hayden: Collected Poems, edited by Frederick Glaysher, is published.
1987: Rita Dove awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Thomas and Beulah.
1987: The Dark Room Collective is founded by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange.
1988: Good Woman and Next: New Poems (1987), both by Lucille Clifton, finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.
1988: Dien Cai Dau by Yusef Komunyakaa is published.
1989: Gwendolyn Brooks is awarded the Robert Frost Medal.
1990: Elizabeth Alexander's The Venus Hottentot is published.
1990: Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky (1991) by Thylias Moss, National Poetry Series Winner.
1992: Derek Walcott receives Nobel Prize for Literature.
1992: In the Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers, edited by Kevin Powell & Ras Baraka, published.
1993: Maya Angelou reads poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at inauguration of Bill Clinton.
1993: Rita Dove appointed Poet Laureate of U.S.
1993: Kevin Young's Most Way Home (1995) is selected by Lucille Clifton as a National Poetry Series Winner.
1994: The Furious Flower Poetry conference, organized by Joanne Gabbin, takes place September 29 - October 1.
1994: Yusef Komunyakaa wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1996: Cave Canem, retreat for African American poets, is founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady.
1996: The Norton Anthology of African American Literature eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Nellie Y. McKay.
1997: The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde is published.
1999: Natasha Trethewey's Domestic Work (2000), selected by Rita Dove for the inaugural Cave Canem prize
1999: Ai wins the National Book Award for Poetry for Vice: New and Selected Poems.
2000: Lucille Clifton wins the National Book Award for Poetry for her volume Blessing the Boats.
2001: Yusef Komunyakaa awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.
2001: Terrance Hayes's Hip Logic (2002) is selected by Cornelius Eady as a National Poetry Series Winner.
2001: Sonia Sanchez is awarded the Robert Frost Medal.
2001: Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady is published.
2002: Langston Hughes symposium, organized by Maryemma Graham, takes place.
2002: A. Baraka appointed Poet Laureate of New Jersey in July.
2002: Tracy K. Smith's volume The Body's Question selected by Kevin Young for Cave Canem Prize for poetry.
2004: Tyehimba Jess's Leadbelly: poems (2005), selected by Brigit P. Kelly as a National Poetry Series Winner.
2004: Second Furious Flower Poetry conference, organized by Joanne Gabbin, takes place September 22 - 25.
2005: Patricia Smith's Teahouse of the Almighty (2006) is a National Poetry Series Winner.
2006: Nathaniel Mackey wins the National Book Award for Poetry for his volume Splay Anthem.
2007: Lucille Clifton awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.
2007: Elizabeth Alexander becomes first-ever recipient of Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize.
2007: Natasha Trethewey wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her volume Native Guard (2006).
2007: Nikki Giovanni reads poem on April 17, commemorating the April 16 Virginia Tech massacre.
2008: Michael S. Harper is awarded the Robert Frost Medal.
2008: Douglas Kearney's The Black Automaton (2009) selected as a National Poetry Series Winner.
2008: Adrian Matejka's Mixology (2009) is selected by Kevin Young as a National Poetry Series Winner.
2009: Elizabeth Alexander reads "Praise Song for the Day" at inauguration of Barack Obama.
2009: Praise Song For The Day by E. Alexander and Bicycles by Nikki Giovanni are top best selling volumes.
2010: Terrance Hayes wins National Book Award for Poetry for his volume Lighthead.
2010: Lucille Clifton is awarded the Robert Frost Medal.
2010: "73 Poems for 73 Years: Celebrating the Life of Lucille Clifton" held on September 21.
2010: Harryette Mullen wins the Jackson Poetry Prize.
2011: Nikky Finney wins National Book Award for Poetry for her volume Head Off & Split.
2011: Sonia Sanchez appointed Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.
2011: The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, edited by Rita Dove, is published.
2012: Elizabeth Alexander begins her "twitter poem project."
2012: Marilyn Nelson is awarded the Robert Frost Medal.
2012: Tracy K. Smith wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her volume Life on Mars.
2012: N. Giovanni, M. Angelou & Joanne Gabbin organize a celebration for Toni Morrison on October 16.
2012: The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 is published by BOA Editions Ltd
2012: Natasha Trethewey is appointed Mississippi's Poet Laureate.
2012: Natasha Trethewey is announced as the new U.S. Poet Laureate.
2012: Kevin Young's book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness is published by Graywolf Press.
2013: Natasha Trethewey is reappointed as the U.S. Poet Laureate.