1663—The first documented slave rebellion in America is set to take place. The revolt in Gloucester County, Va., involved Black slaves and White indentured servants. However, it was betrayed by a White indentured servant.
1885—Alain L. Locke, philosopher and the first Black Rhodes scholar is born. He became a professor at Howard University and one of Black America’s leading intellectual figures.
1962—In an event which demonstrated the tenacity of racism, especially in the South, Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett pledged to defy the federal government and block the court ordered admission of a Black man—James Meredith—to the University of Mississippi. He made his declaration during a statewide television and radio address. Barnett said he would go to jail to prevent integration, arguing, “There is no case in history where the Caucasian race has survived social integration.” Despite his talk, Barnett would eventually relent and Meredith (with the aid of U.S. Marshals) was allowed to attend the university.
1971—Approximately 1,500 state troopers are ordered by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to storm New York’s Attica prison to breakup a takeover of the prison by Black inmates demanding better conditions. When the dust settled, the storming of the prison resulted in the deaths of 32 inmates and 10 guards who had been held hostage.
1996—Pioneering rapper Tupac Shakur dies from his wounds after being shot in Las Vegas, Nev. He was only 25. Shakur has now become a near cult figure among rappers. His killers were never brought to justice.
1940—Blacks are allowed for the first time to enter all branches of the U.S. military when President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on this day, signs the Selective Service Act.