1793 - Austin Stewart born
1804 - New Jersey Legislature approved a law calling for "gradual" emancipation of African Americans. In so doing, New Jersey became the last Northern state to outlaw slavery.
1820 - Susan B. Anthony born
1848 - Sarah Roberts barred from white school in Boston. Her father, Benjamin Roberts, filed the first school integration suit on her behalf.
1851 - Black abolitionists broke into a Boston courthouse and rescued Shadrach Minkins, a fugitive slave.
1862 - Grant's major assault on Ft Donelson, TN
1900 - The British threaten to use natives in their war with the Boers.
1901 - Kokomo Arnold born
1902 - Fay Jackson born
1941 - Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded "Take the "A" Train" for the first time.
1942 - Caroline Robinson Jones born
1943 - Thomas "Fats" Waller dies
1954 - Big Joe Turner recorded the original "Shake, Rattle & Roll".
1957 - Impresario Irvin Feld debuts his Greatest Shows of 1957 in Pittsburgh. On the bill: Clyde McPhatter, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Lavern Baker, Bill Doggett, the Moonglows, the Five Satins and more. Before it closes on May 5, the tour goes through every region of the U.S.
1961 - U.S. and African nationalist protesting the slaying of Congo Premire Patrice Lumumba distrupts U.N.
1964 - Louis Armstrong's "Hello Dolly" recording becomes his first and only number one record.
1965 - Nat "King" Cole dies of complications following surgery for lung cancer
1968 - Little Walter dies
1969 - Sly and the Family Stone's "Everyday People" hits #1 on the pop chart.
1969 - A Florida woman is arrested for impersonating Aretha Franklin during a concert. Vickie Jones' impersonation is so convincing that nobody in the club asks for a refund.
1978 - Leon Spinks beats Muhammad Ali in 15 for world heavyweight crown
1978 - Zaire revises constitution
1992 - The Ivory Coast village of Krinjabo named Michael Jackson "King of the Sanwis."
1994 - US asks Aristide to adopt a peace plan from Haiti
1995 - Burundi premier Anatole Kanyenkiko resigns
1999 - The body of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African gunned down by New York City police, was returned to his native Guinea.