1775 - The Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery (The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage), the first anti-slavery society, was organized by Ben Franklin
1828 - The first edition of Noah Webster's "American Dictionary of the English Language" was published.
1865 - Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth. He actually died early the next morning.
1868 - South Carolina voters approved constitution and elected state officers, including the first Black cabinet officer, Francis L. Cardozo, secretary of state.
1873 - Slaughterhouse Case, the Supreme Court decides that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution protects only federal, not state, civil rights.
1902 - J.C. Penney opened his first store
1906 - William Seymour began preaching at Azusa Street, initiating the world-wide Pentecostal movement.
1907 - François "Papa Doc" Duvalier born
1915 - James Hutton Brew died
1925 - Gene Ammons born
1925 - Rod Steiger born
1928 - Robert Mugabe born
1932 - Anthony Perkins born
1935 - Loretta Lynn born
1940 - Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Oscar.
1943 - Howardena Pindell born
1955 - Elston Howard became the first Black man to play for the New York Yankees
1957 - Malcolm X intercedes in a police brutality case in New York
1962 - John Bell born
1966 - David Justice born
1974 - Da Brat born
1976 - Motown Records and Stevie Wonder announced the largest contract renewal to date, worth $13 million
1976 - William H. Hastie died
1986 - Desmond Tutu elected Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town
1991 - Mule Bone closed at Ethel Barrymore Theater NYC after 67 performances
1991 - Memory and Metaphor, the retrospective exhibition of Romare Bearden's art, opened at Harlem's Studio Museum
1993 - Millions of black workers in South Africa went on strike to protest the slaying of activist Chris Hani
1995 - Burl Ives died
2002 - Tiger Woods became only the second person to win two Masters titles in a row