1452 - Leonardo da Vinci
1850 - California Fugitive Slave Law was adopted by the State Legislature
1878 - The Great Exodus of freed slaves to Kansas begins in order to escape harsh treatment and forced labor by ex-overseers, KKK, and southern raiders.
1884 - John Lloyd born
1889 - A(sa) Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and architect of the March on Washington Movement in 1941, born
1894 - Bessie Smith born
1896 - Harvard University gives an honorary degree to Booker T. Washington, the first African American so recognized in Harvard's 260-year history.
1896 - May Chinn born
1915 - Walter E. Washington born
1915 - Jack Johnson lost the world's heavyweight boxing title to Jess Willard
1919 - Elizabeth Catlett born
1919 - Loften Mitchell born
1920 - Hilda Simms born
1922 - Harold Washington born
1928 - Norma Merrick Sklarek, the first licensed woman architect in the U.S., born
1936 - Frank Frost born
1942 - Congress Of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded
1947 - Jackie Robinson played his first major league baseball game for the Brooklyn Dodgers
1955 - Ray Kroc started McDonald's
1959 - African Freedom Day was declared at the All-African People's Conference
1960 - The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded at Shaw University
1980 - Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia gained its independence.
1985 - Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns won the World Middleweight title becoming the first Black to win boxing titles in five different weight classes
1987 - Asinamali! by Mbongeni Ngema opened as the first South African play on Broadway
1996 - South Africa's "truth commission" began its public hearings.
2000 - White farmer shot dead in Zimbabwe
2001 - Associated Press reported that a decrepit vessle suspected of carrying more than 100 children slaves was believed to be drifting off western Africa.