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  • 1861

    Southern states secede and create the Confederate States of America.

    News announces that South Carolina secedes from the Union
  • 1861-1865

    The Civil War takes place and ends with the surrender of the South and formal end to slavery.

    General Robert E. Lee surrenders at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia
  • 1861-1900

    The first colleges for African Americans were established largely through the efforts of black churches with the support of the American Missionary Association and the Freedmen’s Bureau. The second Morrill Act of 1890 required states—especially former confederate states—to provide land-grants for institutions for black students if admission was not allowed elsewhere. As a result, many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were founded. Between 1861-1900, more than 90 institutions of higher learning were established, among them Shaw University, Morehouse College, and Hampton University.

    Medical dormitory at Shaw University, the first HBCU in the Southern United States
  • 1863-1877

    In the Reconstruction Era, the end of slavery gives way to sharecropping. Cotton continues to be a major crop for the South.

  • 1867

    The Southern Education Fund (formerly the Peabody Education Fund) is established to aid in the education of the South, namely newly freed African American slaves.

  • 1870s-1960's

    Jim Crow laws are passed in the South which codify racial segregation and limit access to voting, education, and jobs for many Black Southerners.

    Drinking fountain at the Halifax County Courthouse in North Carolina
  • 1909

    John D. Rockefeller Jr. Foundation made a $1 million grant ($26 million in today's dollars) to support a comprehensive public health initiative that established the Rockefeller Sanitation Commission to eradicate hookworm and other diseases in the South. It changed public health policy in the region and began the strategic philanthropy approach to grant making.

  • 1912

    The sons of the late Dr. and Mrs. Montfort Jones of Kosciusko, Mississippi, establish the first grantmaking foundation in the South by Southerners, to honor their mother, Sallie Thomas Feild. Still in operation, the Feild Co-Operative Association, originally established in Tennessee, is now based in Jackson, Mississippi.

  • 1912-1932

    In 1912, Booker T. Washington joined forces with philanthropist Julius Rosenwald to build rural schools for African American children across the segregated south. That partnership resulted in more than 5,300 schools, vocational shops, and teacher’s homes across 15 Southern states from 1912-1932.

    Booker T. Washington
  • 1916-1970

    The Great Migration sees the movement of more than 6 million African Americans in the South to Northern cities.

  • 1919

    The Winston-Salem Foundation, the first community foundation in the Southeast (and still in operation), launches with a $1,000 endowment gift from “Colonel” Francis Fries, a banker and railroader, whose wealth was derived primarily from the textile mill that he built on the banks of the New River in Grayson County, Virginia.

  • 1923

    The Garland Fund awards a grant to the NAACP, the beginning of a partnership that ultimately results in the NAACP's focus on education desegregation and the landmark Brown decision.

  • 1924

    Industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke establishes The Duke Endowment.

  • 1937

    Robert W. Woodruff, the chief executive of The Coca-Cola Company, insistent that his generosity remain anonymous, establishes the Trebor (“Robert” spelled backward) Foundation. Only after his death did this multi-billion dollar institution become the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.

  • 1942

    Wealth from the textile industry contributes to growing philanthropy in South Carolina. The Self Foundation (later the Self Family Foundation) and the Springs Close Foundation, both established in 1942, are examples.

    First floor, Picker - Bamberg Cotton Mill, Bamberg, SC
  • 1943

    The Spartanburg County Foundation, the first community foundation in South Carolina, is established in 1943 by Walter Scott Montgomery and seven key business leaders who saw community philanthropy as a way to address issues in the area.

  • 1945

    The agarian economy, especially cotton farms, begin to decline as manufacturing and other industries begin to grow in the "New South."

  • 1949

    Robert Sutherland, director of the Hogg Foundation, hosts a meeting in Austin attended by the donors and trustees of ten grantmakers, leading to the establishment of the first U.S. regional association of grantmakers, Philanthropy Southwest.

  • 1950

    Knight Foundation formed by John S. and James L. Knight, brothers whose wealth came from newspaper publishing.

  • 1951

    Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta founded.

  • 1953

    Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation established in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

  • 1953

    The Field Foundation, based in Chicago, becomes of the largest funders of the Highlander Folk School, which trained hundreds of civil rights activists, including Rosa Parks and John Lewis.

  • 1954

    From its inception in 1954, the New World Foundation, based in Chicago (and later New York) funded civil rights advocacy in the South, particularly through its support for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and gatherings of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

  • 1954-1968

    The Civil Rights Movement brings dramatic social and political change to the country as African Americans seek to secure legal rights and fight segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South.

  • 1956

    Foundation Library Center (later known as Foundation Center, and now known as Candid) established in New York City.

  • 1957

    National Council on Community Foundations (later Council on Foundations) incorporated in New York City; membership expands to private and company foundations in 1958.

  • 1958

    Foundation for the Carolinas (FFTC) established in Charlotte, NC.

  • 1961

    The Voter Education Project (VEP) was a discreet civil rights agency that funded African American voter registration campaigns throughout the South. Supported by civil rights leaders, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, and philanthropists, the VEP operated within the Southern Regional Council (SRC) to finance local movements and collect data on black disfranchisement.

  • 1963

    The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the Birmingham campaign help build momentum that ultmately leads to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Demonstrators at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
  • 1965

    The Selma to Montgomery marches demonstrate the desire of African American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression. Part of a broader voting rights movement throughout the American South, the marches contributed to passage year of the Voting Rights Act.

    Abernathy children on the front lines in the march from Selma to Montgomery