- 1935 – Jesse Owens sets or ties four track and field world records in a span of 45 minutes.
- 1935 – Babe Ruth hits his 714th home run.
- 1961 – As part of the Space Race, President John F. Kennedy states that the USA will put a man on the moon and bring him back to earth safely, by the end of the decade.
- 1963 – 32 African countries form a coalition against white rule. The Organisation of African Unity was founded to promote decolonization and end white minority governments in Africa. The OAU was replaced by the African Union in 2002.
- 1977 – The movie Star Wars is released.
- 1979 – Etan Patz disappears. The disappearance and murder of the 6-year-old boy from New York City and the extensive publicity it received helped spark the missing children’s movement.
- 1979 – American Airlines flight 191 crashes shortly after takeoff. The photo showing the lopsided DC-10 hurtling towards the ground at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is one of the most horrifying images in aviation history. All 258 people on board died.
- 1986 – Hands Across America took place.
- 1994 – After 20 years in exile, Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland. He had been expelled from Soviet Russia in 1974 after his three-volume work exposing the Soviet prison camp system, The Gulag Archipelago, was published in the West.
- 2002 – A China Airlines jumbo jet breaks apart in mid-air. The Boeing 747 aircraft crashed into the Taiwan Strait, leaving no survivors among the 225 people on board. The accident was caused by improper repairs 22 years earlier, and the airplane was far beyond the serviceable life recommended by Boeing in terms of the number of flights, total hours in the air, and the number of years in service.
- 1803 – Ralph Waldo Emerson (Writer and philosopher)
- 1899 – Kazi Nazrul Islam (Indian flute player, poet)
- 1927 – Robert Ludlum (Author of the Bourne Identity)
- 1939 – Ian McKellan (Actor was Gandolf in Lord of the Rings)
- 1944 – Frank Oz (Puppeteer – Yoda)
- 1963 – Mike Myers (Actor)
- 1970 – Jaime Kennedy (Actor)
- 1974 – Frank Klepacki (American drummer, composer)
- 1976 – Cillian Murphy (Irish/English actor)
- 1978 – Brian Urlacher (NFL Football player)
- 1979 – Jonny Wilkinson (English rugby player)
- 1994 – Ally Raisman (Olympic Gymnast)
- 992 – Mieszko I of Poland
- 1848 – Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (German author, composer)
- 1934 – Gustav Holst (English composer)
- 2005 – Graham Kennedy (Australian actor)
- 2006 – Desmond Dekker (Jamaican singer-songwriter)