Today in 1794, Bethel African Methodist Church of Philadelphia was dedicated– it remains the oldest African-American church in the country that is still in operation.
Today in 1890, prolific artist Vincent van Gogh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in France.
Today in 1905, Secretary of War William Howard Taft made a secret agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Katsura agreeing to Japanese free rein in Korea in return for non-interference with the US in the Philippines.
Today in 1907, Sir Robert Baden-Powell formed Boy Scouts in England.
Today in 1954, "Fellowship of the Ring" – the first volume of "Lord of the Rings" by J. R. R. Tolkien – was published by George Allen and Unwin in London.
Today in 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating NASA.
Today in 1967, an accidental rocket launch on the deck of the supercarrier USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin resulted in a fire and explosions that killed 134 servicemen. Among the survivors was future Arizona senator John McCain.
Today in 1975, President Gerald R. Ford became the first American president to visit the site of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland.
Today in 1981, Britain’s Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The elaborate ceremony was broadcast to eager royal-watchers around the world. After conducting the vows, the Archbishop of Canterbury said, "This is the stuff of which fairy tales are made." The couple divorced fifteen years later.
Today in 1986, the United States Football League was ruined when a federal jury awarded them $3 in damages following their $1.5-billion dollar anti-trust suit against the NFL.
Today in 1999, a shooter killed nine and wounded 13 others in a shooting rampage in Atlanta, Georgia. His wife and two children had been found bludgeoned to death earlier in the day. The shootings occurred at two Atlanta day trading firms – and it was believed that the man, a day trader, was motivated by losses of more than $100-thousand over the previous two months. Just four hours after the shootings began, the gunman turned his gun on himself.
Today in 1999,Surgeon General David Satcher declared suicide a serious national threat, saying, "People should not be afraid or ashamed to seek help."
Today in 2005, astronomers announced the discovery of the dwarf planet, Eris.
Today in 2013, the FBI said authorities had rescued 105 young people and arrested 150 alleged pimps and others in a three-day sweep in 76 cities.
Today in 2014, President Barack Obama expanded U.S. penalties targeting key sectors of the Russian economy that resulted from the downing of a Malaysian airliner over rebel-held eastern Ukraine. The European Union had previously approved economic sanctions as well as an arms embargo and restrictions on state-owned banks. Moscow denied the allegation that Russia was arming rebels in Eastern Ukraine.
Today in 2015, Zion Harvey became the first pediatric patient to receive a double hand transplant at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He’s since succeeded at his dream…of playing baseball.
Today in 2015, the Eagles performed at CenturyLink Center in Bossier City, Louisiana. It marked the final concert for founding member Glenn Frey, who died six months later.
Today in 2018, Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb was within one strike of a no-hitter before Chris Taylor singled for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the game, the 25-year-old Newcomb apologized for racist, homophobic and sexist tweets he had sent as a teenager; he described the tweets as “some stupid stuff” he said with friends.
Today in 2021, following Simone Biles' withdrawal, teammate Sunisa Lee became the first Hmong-American Olympic champion in any sport when she won women's artistic individual all-around gymnastics gold in Tokyo.