1775 – The American Revolutionary War's first naval engagement, the Battle of Machias, results in the capture of a small British naval vessel.
1776 – The Continental Congress appoints Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence.
1788 – Russian explorer Gerasim Izmailov reaches Alaska.
1805 – A fire consumes large portions of Detroit in the Michigan Territory.
1825 – The first cornerstone is laid for Fort Hamilton in New York City.
1837 – The Broad Street Riot occurs in Boston, fueled by ethnic tensions between Yankees and Irish.
1898 – Spanish–American War: U.S. war ships set sail for Cuba.
1919 – Sir Barton wins the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse to win the U.S. Triple Crown.
1920 – During the U.S. Republican National Convention in Chicago, U.S. Republican Party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel to come to a consensus on their candidate for the U.S. presidential election, leading the Associated Press to first coin the political phrase "smoke-filled room".
1935 – Inventor Edwin Armstrong gives the first public demonstration of FM broadcasting in the United States at Alpine, New Jersey.
1942 – World War II: The United States agrees to send Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union.
1942 – Free French Forces retreat from Bir Hakeim after having successfully delayed the Axis advance.
1944 – USS Missouri, the last battleship built by the United States Navy and future site of the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, is commissioned.
1962 – Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin allegedly become the only prisoners to escape from the prison on Alcatraz Island.
1963 – American Civil Rights Movement: Governor of Alabama George Wallace defiantly stands at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in an attempt to block two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending that school. Later in the day, accompanied by federalized National Guard troops, they are able to register.
1963 – Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức burns himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest the lack of religious freedom in South Vietnam.
1963 – John F. Kennedy addresses Americans from the Oval Office proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would revolutionize American society. Proposing equal access to public facilities, end segregation in education and guarantee federal protection for voting rights.
1970 – After being appointed on May 15, Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington officially receive their ranks as U.S. Army Generals, becoming the first females to do so.
1971 – The U.S. Government forcibly removes the last holdouts to the Native American Occupation of Alcatraz, ending 19 months of control.
1993 – The film Jurassic Park is released in the United States, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of Titanic in 1997.
1998 – Compaq Computer pays US$9 billion for Digital Equipment Corporation in the largest high-tech acquisition.
2001 – Timothy McVeigh is executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.
2002 – Antonio Meucci is acknowledged as the first inventor of the telephone by the United States Congress.
2004 – Cassini–Huygens makes its closest flyby of the Saturn moon Phoebe.
2008 – The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is launched into orbit.
1880 – Jeannette Rankin, American social worker and politician (d. 1973)
1910 – Jacques Cousteau, French biologist, author, and inventor, co-developed the aqua-lung (d. 1997)
1913 – Vince Lombardi, American football player, coach, and manager (d. 1970)
1913 – Coby Whitmore, American painter and illustrator (d. 1988)
1930 – Charles Rangel, American soldier, lawyer, and politician
1933 – Gene Wilder, American actor, director, and screenwriter
1943 – Henry Hill, American mobster (d. 2012)
1945 – Adrienne Barbeau, American actress
1956 – Joe Montana, American football player and sportscaster
1960 – Mehmet Oz, American surgeon, author, and television host
1982 – Diana Taurasi, American basketball player
1986 – Shia LaBeouf, American actor, director, and producer
1989 – Maya Moore, American basketball player
1920 – William F. Halsey, Sr., American captain (b. 1853)
1941 – Daniel Carter Beard, American author and illustrator, founded the Boy Scouts of America (b. 1850)
1963 – Thích Quảng Đức, Vietnamese monk and martyr (b. 1897)
1979 – John Wayne, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1907)
1999 – DeForest Kelley, American actor and screenwriter (b. 1920)
2001 – Timothy McVeigh, American terrorist (b. 1968)
2003 – David Brinkley, American journalist and author (b. 1920)
2006 – Michael Bartosh, American engineer and businessman (b. 1977)
2013 – Carl W. Bauer, American lawyer and politician (b. 1933)
2013 – Robert Fogel, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1926)
2014 – Ruby Dee, American actress, singer, and poet (b. 1922)
2014 – Susan B. Horwitz, American computer scientist, engineer, and academic (b. 1955)
2015 – Dusty Rhodes, American wrestler and trainer (b. 1945)
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