1849 – Born on October 16th in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. American historian, clergyman, politician, lawyer, lecturer, and soldier who was the first person to write an objective and scientifically researched history of black people in the United States.
1863 – The son of a laborer, Williams enlisted at age 14 in the Union Army and fought in the Civil War.
1868-1874 – Upon leaving the army, he underwent training as a minister at the Newton Theologial Institution and was ordained.
– He served as pastor of several churches, edited and published several short-lived journals.
1879 – Served in the Ohio House of Representatives.
1882 – By this time he had become interested in the study of history, and after doing copious research he had his "History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880" published.
1888 – Williams’ research for his next work, "A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion", involved the gathering of oral histories from black Civil War veterans and the culling of newspaper accounts, both techniques which subsequently became basic resources in American historiography.
1889 – He became interested in the prospect of employing black Americans in the Congo Free State under the auspices of the Belgian king Leopold.
1890 – A visit to the Congo shocked him into an appreciation of Leopold’s brutal exploitation of the people of the Congo, and Williams spent the short remainder of his life publicizing the outrages that were being perpetrated there.
1891 – Died on August 2nd in Blackpool, England.