- 1841 – Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, spoke before an audience in the North for the first time. During an anti-slavery convention on Nantucket Island, he gave a powerful, emotional account of his life as a slave. He was immediately asked to become a full-time lecturer for the Massachusetts Antislavery Society.
- 1929 – Babe Ruth becomes the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs
- 1934 – Alcatraz federal prison is opened on the Island near San Francisco.
- 1948 – The first Olympic Games after the 1938 Berlin Olympics open in London. The next two games after Berlin, scheduled to be held in Tokyo and Helsinki were cancelled due to the Second World War. The first Olympics to be broadcast on television, the London Olympics was popularly known at the time as the Austerity Games. This was because of the cutbacks the host nation had to do due to the post-war economy.
- 1960 – Chad gains its independence from the French. The Central African country came under French rule in 1900 after the Battle of Kousséri. Francois Tombalbay became independent Chad’s first president.
- 1962 – The Soviet Space Agency Launches Vostok 3. The spacecraft was piloted by Andriyan Nikolayev, the first cosmonaut to have orbited the Earth 64 times in 4 days.
- 1965 – Six days of riots began in the Watts area of Los Angeles, triggered by an incident between a white member of the California Highway Patrol and an African-American motorist. Thirty-four deaths were reported and more than 3,000 people were arrested. Damage to property was listed at $40 million.
- 1981 – IBM introduces the IBM PC.
- 1987 – Alan Greenspan becomes Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve. He will serve for nearly 20 years.
- 1992 – Mall of America opens its doors to sShoppers. Located in in Bloomington, Minnesota, the mall is the largest shopping Mall in the United States. Spanning 4,870,000 sq ft, it has an indoor theme park and attracts about 40 million visitors each year.
- 1999 – A total solar eclipse is visible from Europe and Asia.
- 1897 – Enid Blyton (English author)
- 1921 – Alex Haley (Author of Roots)
- 1925 – Mike Douglas (TV Host)
- 1933 – Jerry Fallwell (TV Evangelist)
- 1943 – Pervez Musharraf (Pakistani general, politician, 10th President of Pakistan)
- 1950 – Steve Wozniak (Co-founder of Apple Computer)
- 1953 – Hulk Hogan (Wrestler)
- 1967 – Joe Rogan (TV Host)
- 1978 – Jermain Taylor (American boxer)
- 1983 – Chris Hemsworth
- 1890 – John Henry Newman (English cardinal)
- 1908 – Khudiram Bose (Indian activist)
- 1919 – Andrew Carnegie (Scottish/American businessman, founded the Carnegie Steel Company)
- 1956 – Jackson Pollock (American painter)
- 1984 – Alfred A. Knopf, Sr. (American publisher, founded Alfred A (Knopf Inc. )