On June 25, African-American Samuel David Ferguson was ordained a bishop of the Episcopal church.

The American Federation of Labor was organized on December 8, signaling the rise of the labor movement. All major unions of the day excluded black Americans.

Two of America's first black-owned banks -- the Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain United Order of the Reformers, in Richmond Virginia, and Capital Savings Bank of Washington, DC, opened their doors.

Ninety-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1889.

On January 25, under the leadership of Timothy Thomas Fortune, the militant National Afro-American League was founded in Chicago.

African-Americans are disenfranchised. The Mississippi Plan, approved on November 1, used literacy and "understanding" tests to disenfranchise black American citizens. Similar statutes were adopted by South Carolina (1895), Louisiana (1898), North Carolina (1900), Alabama (1901), Virginia (1901), Georgia (1908), and Oklahoma (1910).

Populist "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman was elected governor of South Carolina. He called his election "a triumph of ... white supremacy."