A public memorial service is held for Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. An estimated 1 billion viewers watch the service broadcasted around the world. In New York, crowds watch the service outdoors on Jumbotrons in Times Square and at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building Plaza. The Apollo Theater also hosts a public memorial catering to thousands of fans.

New York City native Ursula Burns becomes the first African-American woman to be in charge of a Fortune 500 company when she becomes CEO of the Xerox Corporation. Forbes magazine names her the 14th most powerful woman in the world.

Due to a coup in Albany, the State Senate doesn’t vote on renewing Mayor Bloomberg’s control of city schools, giving control back to the Board of Education.

Bernie Madoff is sentenced to 150 years in federal prison for being the perpetrator of a Ponzi scheme.

The Rev. Dr. Brad R. Braxton resigns as senior minister of the Riverside Church after only nine months on the job. Braxton cites differences between him and the congregation as his reason for leaving.

Opera singer Betty Allen Lee dies at age 82.

Gov. Paterson announces he will appoint Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor.

Elias Ramirez, 23, is fatally shot at Louis H. Pink Houses in Brooklyn. The shooting outrages residents because the incident happened less than 150 feet from an NYPD Mobile Command Center.

Retired NFL football great Steve McNair is fatally shot in a murder-suicide by his mistress, who turned the gun on herself after shooting him in Nashville, Tenn.

Former Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry is arrested and charged with stalking his former girlfriend.

President Obama makes a two-day trip to the African nation of Ghana.

“The Wendy Williams Show” premiers, starring the famed WBLS radio personality, with her famous greeting, “How you doin?” The daytime talk show is broadcasted several times a day on FOX, My Networks and BET.

Vibe magazine folds after 16 years in publication. The magazine, founded by Quincy Jones, is later bought by Uptown Media Group and begins publishing quarterly.

Celebrating 100 years, the NAACP holds it’s national convention in New York City. The six-day event brings thousands of members of the civil right organization to the Big Apple. President Obama also addresses the organization and Julian Bond receives the Spingarn Medal.

Jaselle Page is killed during a shooting at a playground in Bushwick, Brooklyn, while protecting her nephew from flying bullets.

A report issued by City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson indicates that the Black unemployment rate has risen four times as fast as it has for the rest of New Yorkers.

Shem Walker, 49, is fatally shot by an undercover NYPD officer. Walker confronted the man, who he didn’t know was an officer, standing in front of his mother’s house.

CNN airs “Black in America 2.” The two-part series focuses on solutions for problems that are faced by Blacks and celebrates triumphs.

Beloved former principal of Brooklyn’s Boys and Girls High School Frank Mickens dies at age 63.

President Obama hosts a Black reporters roundtable on Air Force One. AmNews reporter Herb Boyd is among the journalist on board.

New York State Rep. Carolyn Maloney uses the “N-word” during an interview quoting a comment made by someone she spoke with about Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Famed Black scholar and Harvard University professor Henry “Skip” Louis Gates is arrested outside of his own home in Cambridge, Mass., by a white police officer. Gates, who locked himself out his house, was trying to break into his house and was charged with disorderly conduct. He accuses the officer of racial profiling. President Obama invites Gates and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, to the White House to discuss the incident over a beer.

Known as “Rev. Ike,” the Rev. Frederick Joseph Eikerenkoetter II of the Christ United Church dies at age 74. A judge rules that the FDNY uses discriminatory testing and recruitment practices to exclude qualified people of color the opportunity to serve as New York City firefighters. The Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization of Black firefighters, originally filed the suit.

Author E. Lynn Harris dies at age 54. The Harlem Branch Library celebrates 100 years. Boxer and humanitarian Vernon Forrest dies at age 38.


Bronx native Sonya Sotomayor is confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. She is the first-ever Latina justice.

Harlem Week celebrates its 35th anniversary.

Black supermodel Naomi Sims dies at age 61.

New Yorkers who are on government assistance get a share of a one-time grant for back-to-school purchases for their children. Thousands of EBT cardholders flood check cashing centers to get the money. President Obama’s stimulus package and the Open Society Institute provide the grant.

Juanita Young, the mother of police brutality victim Malcolm Ferguson, alleges that NYPD officers raided her home while her family was having a barbecue. Six of her family members are arrested.

A manhunt is on for an accused rapist in Harlem after two women are raped in a 10-day period.

The officer accused of fatally shooting NYPD officer Omar Edwards, Andrew Dunton, is not indicted for the “friendly fire.”

DC37 announces they will endorse Bill Thompson for mayor.

Guitarist Les Paul dies at age 94 and drummer Rashied Ali dies at age 76. Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy dies at age 77 after a long battle against brain cancer.

The Los Angeles County coroner announces that Michael Jackson’s death is being ruled a homicide. A search warrant indicates that Jackson’s death was caused by a lethal mix of the prescription drug propofol, a powerful anesthesia. Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, becomes the subject of an investigation.

A celebration takes place in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on what would have been Jackson’s 51st birthday. Thousands of fans from across the city attend the event hosted by filmmaker Spike Lee.


Millions of spectators and political candidates come out to the 42nd annual West Indian Day Parade taking place in Brooklyn.

Michael Jackson is laid to rest during a private ceremony at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, Calif.

East Harlem community leader Rosa Pascale dies at age 92.

President Obama gives a speech on the importance of education. Many schools refrain from showing the broadcasted speech, fearing that Obama is pushing his political agenda on children. A day after, the president addresses a joint session of Congress about the importance of health care reform. During his speech, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson heckles Obama, yelling out “You lie!”

Bill Thompson wins the Democratic primary for mayor, beating City Councilman Tony Avella.

Kanye West makes headlines after he goes on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards when county singer Taylor Swift accepts her award for Best Female Video. West takes the mic from Swift and says Beyonce Knowles video for “Single Ladies” was “one of the best videos of all time.”

The NYPD is accused of beating Yolanda Matthew, a 54-year-old disabled Black woman, after she tells officers to stop beating a Black man in front of her home.

The 40th annual African-American Day Parade takes place in Harlem.

Dancer and choreographer Shawneequa Baker-Scott dies at age 76.

The 38th annual Urban League Classic is held at Giants Stadium between Morgan State University and Winston-Salem State University. Morgan State University wins the game 16 to 10.

Tennis player Serena Williams is slapped with a $10,000 fine after she yells at a linewomen for making a call that resulted in her opponent getting two points at the U.S. Open.

Gov. David Paterson announces that he will still run for New York State governor in 2010, even though President Obama tried to detour him from doing so.

An 18-year-old Hofstra University co-ed accuses four Black and Latino men of raping her in a bathroom stall. The student later recants her story, confessing that the sex act was consensual.

Oprah Winfrey holds a live taping of her talk show in Central Park.

Jamaican playwright Trevor Rhone dies at age 69.

In runoff races, John Liu and Bill de Blasio win the Democratic nomination for comptroller and public advocate. Assemblyman Keith Wright is elected the new county leader.

The nation is in shock when reports from Chicago surface about the beating death of 17-year-old Derrion Albert. The honor student is caught in a fight between two rival gangs. The beating is caught on video and attracts national attention about youth violence.

President Obama becomes the first U.S. president to preside over the United Nations Security Council.

The third annual African Day Parade takes place in Little Senegal in Harlem.


As the race for mayor rolls on, reports surface that Michael Bloomberg has spent $200 million to defeat Democratic candidate Bill Thompson

Violence erupts in Harlem when several gang members are involved in a shootout in front of P.S. 123 Mahalia Jackson School. The incident occurs during early morning hours while students are in school. Three teens involved are taken to the hospital for injuries.

Off-duty NYPD Officer Andrew Kelly fatally mows down Brooklyn resident Vionique Valnord while she is hailing a cab. Kelly was allegedly driving drunk and a blood alcohol test is taken seven hours after the incident showing that there is no alcohol in his system.

Activist and photographer Eugene “Kwame” Gervin dies at age 77.

Michael Bloomberg and Bill Thompson face off in two mayoral debates. The mother of leukemia patient Jasmina Anema reports that things for the young girl have taken a turn for the worse when she develops graft-versus-host disease. Anema’s leukemia has returned and is growing rapidly.

Kevin Miller, 13, of Queens is fatally shot in the head in the crossfire when gang members of the Crips and Bloods are involved in an altercation.

President Obama is announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Fela!,” a musical about the life of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti, premiers on Broadway.

The film “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” hits theaters. The documentary is comprised of footage of Jackson preparing for his much-anticipated concert series in London before his death. Gross revenue for the movie is over $250 million.

Basketball great Cecil Watkins dies at age 79.

Controversy arises when Michael Bloomberg appears at an Orthodox Jewish gathering with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who tells the group “the city might be turned back to the way it was before 1993–and you know what I’m talking about.” Giuliani is referring to the 1991 Crown Heights riots when the city was under the control of Black Mayor David Dinkins.

State Sen. Hiram Monserrate is acquitted of two felony charges and one misdemeanor charge after an incident in December 2008 where he was accused of slashing his girlfriend’s face with a piece of glass. Several politicians call for him to step down.

The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York holds its 24th annual Minority/Woman Business Enterprise Conference. Over 900 participants attend the event held in Albany.

Heather Ellis, 24, outrageously faces 15 years in prison for an altercation at a Kennett, Mo., Wal-Mart, where she cut in line.

NY1 political reporter Dominic Carter is placed on indefinite leave of absence from the news network after he is accused and put on trial for spousal abuse. He is later found guilty of the charges.

Daughter and ex-wife of the Rev. Al Sharpton, Dominique and Cathy Jordan, are arrested by an NYPD officer for an alleged traffic dispute in Harlem. The two condemn the arrest, saying the incident was racially motivated.


Bill Thompson narrowly loses to Michael Bloomberg by only 5 percent in the race for New York City mayor. Bill de Blasio is elected as public advocate and John Liu is elected comptroller, making him the first Asian American to be elected to citywide office. Several new City Council members are elected, and for the first time, people of color are the majority in the municipal governing body.

Deborah Rose is elected as a City Council member in Staten Island, making her the first Black elected official representing the borough.

The New York Yankees win the 2009 World Series, beating the Philadelphia Phillies.

The musical “Dreamgirls” premiers at the Apollo Theater for a six-week engagement kicking off a national tour of the production.

At the New York City Marathon, Meb Keflezighi becomes the first American winner in over 25 years to win, completing the marathon in 2 hours and 9 minutes.

Gov. Paterson begins airing his first TV ads for his 2010 gubernatorial reelection campaign.

The much-anticipated movie “Precious,” based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, hits theaters. The groundbreaking drama directed by Lee Daniels stars comedienne Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe. The film centers on an obese, illiterate, teenage Black girl living in Harlem in the 1980s who deals with life issues.

Tragedy strikes at the Fort Hood military base in Killeen, Texas, when Muslim army psychiatrist Maj. Malik Hasan opens fire, killing 12 and injuring several others. Hasan is later shot down by police and is injured.

Vada Vasquez, 15, becomes the victim of gun violence when she is shot in the back of the head. Luckily, she is only injured and is expected to make a full recovery. Vasquez was caught in crossfire between two rival groups fighting over an incident that happened in a prison. A 16-year-old male suspect is taken into custody.

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network holds a National Day of Outrage Against Gun Violence in Times Square.

As a result of the “friendly fire” shooting of NYPD Officer Omar Edwards earlier in the year, Gov. Paterson holds the first public forum for the Police-on-Police Shooting Task Force.

Wholesale retailer Costco open a store in East Harlem.

Former AmNews photojournalist Robert Cottrol dies at age 91.

Oprah Winfrey announces that her daytime talk show will end in 2011 after 25 seasons on the air.

The New York Amsterdam News celebrates its 100th anniversary with a star-studded gala at Lincoln Center. Don Peebles, Hillary Clinton, Bill Lynch and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are among the honorees at the event.

City Councilman Charles Barron announces that he will run for City Council speaker against Christine Quinn.

The national unemployment rate drops to 10 percent.


Barron becomes the victim of heckling when CUNY trustee Jeffery Wiesenfeld yells at him from his seat during a groundbreaking ceremony for Fiterman Hall for BMCC at Ground Zero. The two engage in a shouting match.

Revelations of infidelity come to light for championship golfer Tiger Woods after he was involved in a car accident in front of his Florida home. The affairs that are highly publicized in the media prompt Woods to leave professional golf indefinitely to concentrate on his marriage.

Harlem says goodbye to Black cowboy Bennie Miller, who dies at age 97. Miller was the first African-American to win the World Championship for Bull Riding in 1929.

After a long battle, an appeals court stops New York State from seizing private property in order to further the planned $6.3 billion expansion of Columbia University.

Leukemia patient Jasmina Anema meets President Obama through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The Department of Education announces the closure of 12 public schools due to low enrollment and low graduation rates. New laws for mayoral control allow the public 45 days to comment before the final vote.

President Obama announces that he plans to send 30,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan.

The Disney animated film, “The Princess and the Frog,” is released in theaters. The movie features the first Black princess ever in a Disney film.

The MTA announces that in order to fill a nearly $400 million budget gap, service cuts are necessary, including eliminating discount MetroCards for over half a million school students.

Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie urges the FDNY to look to the city’s citizens for potential recruits. The call out is an attempt to get diversity numbers up in the FDNY.

President Obama receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.

Famed jazz club Birdland celebrates 60 years.

Widow of civil rights leader Whitney Young Jr., Margaret Buckner Young, dies at age 88. HIV/AIDS activist and former Human Rights Commissioner Dennis de Leon dies at age 61.

The city is shocked when reports surface that two EMT workers allegedly refused to help pregnant 25-year-old Eutisha Revee Rennix, who suffers a seizure at a Brooklyn restaurant. As a result, Rennix and her unborn child die.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani announces he will not run for any political office in the upcoming 2010 state races.

Protests spark across the city as students make their voices heard about the MTA’s possibility of eliminating discount student MetroCards.

New York City Housing Authority officials announce that 3,000 Section 8 vouchers are being revoked that had already been distributed, affecting well over 2,300 homeless New Yorkers. NYCHA blames a cut in funding from the state government.

Moving one step closer to universal health care, the U.S. Senate passes the Affordable Health Care for America Act on Christmas Eve in a 60-39 vote along party lines.

The City Council approves a bill that renames three blocks of Liverpool Street in Jamaica, Queens, “Sean Bell Way” after the 2006 police shooting victim.

Journalist Dale R. Wright dies at age 86.

Nigerian Islamist terrorist Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab attempts to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from Amsterdam to Detroit. His attempt to detonate explosives on the plane fails and he is arrested when the aircraft lands.

The city mourns the death of civil rights attorney, politician and Harlem giant Percy Sutton, who dies at age 89.