1820 – The first organized emigration to Africa begins when 86 free African Americans leave New York Harbor aboard the Mayflower of Liberia. They are bound for the British colony of Sierra Leone, which welcomes free African Americans and fugitive slaves.
1832 – New England Anti-Slavery Society organized at African Baptist Church on Boston’s Beacon Hill.
1838 – Alfred Vail demonstrates a telegraph system using dots and dashes (this is the forerunner of Morse code).
1874 – On this day in 1874, Congressman Robert Brown Elliot delivered one of the most eloquent speeches of the times in defense of Charles Sumner’s civil rights bill. Elliot’s hour-long speech began: ‘I regred, sir, the dark hue of my skin may lend color to the imputation that I am controlled by motives personal to myself in advocacy of this great measure of national justice. Sir, the motive that impels me is restricted to no such narrow boundary, but is as broad as your Constitution. I advocate it, sir, because it is right.’ A major sourthern Reconstruction politician, Elliot was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at the age of 38 and was among the first African-Americans in the U.S. government.
1907 – Maria Montessori opens her first school and daycare center for working class children in Rome, Italy.
1921 – Formation of the Iraqi Army.
1941 – United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his Four Freedoms speech in the State of the Union address.
1950 – The United Kingdom recognizes the People’s Republic of China. The Republic of China severs diplomatic relations with the UK in response.
1951 – Ganghwa massacre: Korean War.
1953 – The first Asian Socialist Conference opens in Rangoon, Burma.
1960 – National Airlines Flight 2511 is destroyed in mid-air by a bomb, while en route from New York City to Miami, Florida.
1974 – In response to the 1973 oil crisis, daylight saving time commences nearly four months early in the United States.
1993 – Indian Border Security Force units kill 55 Kashmiri civilians in Sopore, Jammu and Kashmir, in revenge after militants ambushed a BSF patrol.
1994 – Nancy Kerrigan is clubbed on the knee at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, Michigan.
2005 – American Civil Rights Movement: Edgar Ray Killen is arrested as a suspect in the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers.
2005 – A train collision in Graniteville, South Carolina, releases about 60 tons of chlorine gas.
2009 – Israel conducts an assault on Gaza. Operation Cast Lead
1412 – Joan of Arc, French historical figure and saint (d.1431)
1811 – Charles Sumner, American politician (d. 1874)
1812 – Melchora Aquino, Filipino activist (d. 1919)
1878 – Carl Sandburg, American poet and historian (d. 1967)
1883 – Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet (d. 1931)
1912 – Danny Thomas, American actor and producer (d. 1991)
1915 – Alan Watts, English-American philosopher (d. 1973)
1924 – Earl Scruggs, American banjo player (Flatt and Scruggs) (d. 2012)
1931 – E. L. Doctorow, American author
1946 – Syd Barrett, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (Pink Floyd and Stars) (d. 2006)
1968 – John Singleton, director,screenwriter (Boyz N the Hood)
1919 – Theodore Roosevelt, American politician, 26th President of the United States (b. 1858)
1993 – Rudolf Nureyev, Russian dancer (b. 1938)
1993 – Dizzy Gillespie, American singer-songwriter and trumpet player (b. 1917)
2006 – Lou Rawls, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (b. 1933)
2007 – Sneaky Pete Kleinow, American guitarist and songwriter (The Flying Burrito Brothers) (b. 1934)
2009 – Ron Asheton, American guitarist, songwriter, and actor (The Stooges) (b. 1948)
Sources: The People History; Wikipedia List of Historical Anniversaries; This Day in Women’s History; This Day in Jewish History; This Day in African History;History.com; History Orb; Yenoba; Phil Konstantin’s North American Indian History; and This Day in Music