1775 – The first abolition society in North America is established. The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage is organized in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.
1828 – Noah Webster copyrights the first edition of his dictionary.
1846 – The Donner Party of pioneers departs Springfield, Illinois, for California, on what will become a year-long journey of hardship, cannibalism, and survival.
1860 – The first Pony Express rider reaches San Francisco.
1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford's Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.
1865 – U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward and his family are attacked in his home by Lewis Powell.
1881 – The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight is fought in El Paso, Texas.
1890 – The Pan-American Union is founded by the First International Conference of American States in Washington, D.C.
1894 – The first ever commercial motion picture house opened in New York City using ten Kinetoscopes, a device for peep-show viewing of films.
1935 – "Black Sunday Storm", the worst dust storm of the U.S. Dust Bowl.
1939 – The Grapes of Wrath, by American author John Steinbeck is first published by the Viking Press.
1956 – In Chicago, videotape is first demonstrated.
1958 – The Soviet satellite Sputnik 2 falls from orbit after a mission duration of 162 days. This was the first spacecraft to carry a living animal, a dog named Laika. The female dog likely lived only a few hours.
1981 – STS-1: The first operational Space Shuttle, Columbia completes its first test flight.
1986 – In retaliation for the April 5 bombing in West Berlin that killed two U.S. servicemen, U.S. president Ronald Reagan orders major bombing raids against Libya, killing 60 people.
1994 – In a U.S. friendly fire incident during Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq, two United States Air Force aircraft mistakenly shoot-down two United States Army helicopters, killing 26 people.
2003 – U.S. troops in Baghdad capture Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner the MS Achille Lauro in 1985.
2005 – The Oregon Supreme Court nullifies marriage licenses issued to gay couples a year earlier by Multnomah County.
1866 – Anne Sullivan, American educator (d. 1936)
1905 – Elizabeth Huckaby, American author and educator (d. 1999)
1936 – Frank Serpico, American-Italian soldier, police officer and lecturer
1964 – Rachel Carson, American biologist and author (b. 1907)
1995 – Burl Ives, American actor, writer and folk singer (b. 1909)
2007 – Don Ho, American singer and ukulele player (b. 1930)
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