1543 - Nicolaus Copernicus published proof of a sun-centered solar system.
1607 - Captain Christopher Newport and 105 followers founded the colony of Jamestown at the mouth of the James River on the coast of Virginia.
1738 - The Methodist Church was established.
1819 - Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1836-1901), born
1844 - Samuel Morse tapped out the first telegraph message.
1854 - Lincoln University, first black college is founded. It was first named Ashmun Institute when it was founded in Oxford, PA
1854 - Anthony Burns, an escaped slave, was captured in Boston and was returned by federal and state troops to his owner.
1856 - John Brown attacked pro-slavery forces in Pottawatomie Creek, KS. It was one of the first blows against slavery.
1861 - Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler declared slaves "contraband of war."
1864 - Two regiments, First and Tenth U.S.C.T., repulsed attack by Confederate General Fitzhugh Lee.
1887 - Elijah McCoy patented Lubricator for Safety Valves (Patent No. 363,529)
1916 - The Lincoln Motion Picture Company founded
1918 - Coleman Young born
1931 - Otis Blackwell born
1937 - Archie Shepp born
1941 - Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman) born
1943 - Harold “Happy” Hairston born
1944 - Patti LaBelle (Patricia Louise Holte) born
1950 - "Sweetwater" (Nat) Clifton's contract was purchased by the New York Knicks making him the first black player in the NBA.
1951 - The Washington, DC Municipal Court of Appeals determined that racially segregated restaurants were illegal.
1951 - Willie Mays began playing for the New York Giants.
1954 - Dr. Peter Murray Marshall became the first Black to head an American Medical Association unit when he was installed as president of New York County Medical Society.
1955 - The Moulin Rouge, the first integrated American casino, opened in Las Vegas.
1956 - Larry Blackmon (Cameo) born
1961 - Twenty-seven Freedom Riders were arrested in Jackson, Mississippi.
1963 - Joe Dumars born
1966 - Leontyne Price opened Metropolitan Opera season
1967 - Heavy D born
1969 - Solomon Burke performed "Proud Mary" on American Bandstand.
1970 - Peter Green quit Fleetwood Mac.
1974 - Richard Pryor hosted "Midnight Special"; Olivia Newton-John and Boz Scaggs were guests.
1974 - William Kennedy "Duke" Ellington died
1983 - The US Supreme Court decided (Bob Jones University v. US) by a vote of 8- 1(Chief Justice William Rhenquist dissenting) that the government could not grant tax exemptions to private schools practicing racial discrimination. Bob Jones University had lost its tax exempt status in 1975 when it prohibited interracial dating.
1991 - Hal McRae was named manager of the Kansas City Royals making him one of two African-American managers serving in major league baseball.
1993 - Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia after a 30-year civil war.
1998 - The first Native American Music Awards took place at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT