1917 – Fannie Lou Hamer, voting rights activist and civil rights leader, is born in Montgomery County, Mississippi.
1921 – Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader and longtime president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is born in Huntsville, Alabama.
1971 – The first legal interracial marriage in North Carolina, between John A. Wilkinson and Lorraine Mary Turner, takes place.
1897 – Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad is born in Sandersville, Georgia.
1931 – Desmond Tutu, anti-apartheid activist and retired Anglican bishop, is born in Klerksdorp, South Africa.
1934 – Amiri Baraka, renowned African-American writer, is born in Newark, New Jersey.
1993 – Famed author Toni Morrison wins the Nobel Prize in literature.
1893 – Early 20th century jazz musician and composer Clarence Williams is born in Plaquemine, Louisiana.
1941 – The Rev. Jesse Jackson, famed civil rights leader, is born in Greenville, South Carolina.
1992 – Sir Derek Walcott, Saint Lucia poet and playwright, wins the Nobel Prize in literature.
2004 – Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmental and political activist, becomes the first first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
1806 – Benjamin Banneker, famed African-American astronomer, scientist, almanac author and surveyor, dies in Baltimore County, Maryland, at age 74.
1962 – African nation Uganda gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
1899 – Black inventor Isaac R. Johnson receives patent for bicycle frame.
1901 – Frederick Douglass Patterson, founder of the United Negro College Fund, is born in Washington, D.C.
1917 – Groundbreaking jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk is born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
1929 – Black inventor and engineer Elijah McCoy, who held patents for the folding ironing board and lawn sprinkler and made numerous revolutionary contributions to train travel, dies in Detroit at age 81.
1887 – Black inventor Alexander Miles receives patent for automatic opening and closing elevator door.
1991 – Comic icon Redd Foxx, best known for his starring role in the ’70s sitcom “Sanford and Son,” dies in Los Angeles at 68 of a heart attack.
1932 – Social activist and comedian Dick Gregory is born in St. Louis.
1968 – West African nation Equatorial Guinea gains its independence from Spain.
1999 – Basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain dies in his Bel Air, California, home of a heart attack at age 63.