On October 7, 1765, the Stamp Act Congress convened in New York to draw up colonial grievances against England.
In 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore at age 40.
In 1910, a major wildfire devastated the northern Minnesota towns of Spooner and Baudette, charring at least 300,000 acres; some 40 people are believed to have died.
In 1913, for the first time, Henry Ford’s entire Highland Park, Michigan automobile factory is run on a continuously moving assembly line when the chassis–the automobile’s frame–is assembled using the revolutionary industrial technique. A motor and rope pulled the chassis past workers and parts on the factory floor, cutting the man-hours required to complete one “Model T” from 12-1/2 hours to six.
In 1949, the Republic of East Germany was formed.
In 1954, Marian Anderson became the first Black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York.
In 1985, Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro (ah-KEE’-leh LOW’-roh) in the Mediterranean. (The hijackers shot and killed Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish-American tourist in a wheelchair, and pushed him overboard, before surrendering on Oct. 9.)
In 1991, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments when she worked for him; Thomas denied Hill’s allegations.
In 1992, trade representatives of the United States, Canada and Mexico initialed the North American Free Trade Agreement during a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas, in the presence of President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (muhl-ROO’-nee) and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
In 1996, Fox News Channel made its debut.
In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was beaten and left tied to a wooden fencepost outside of Laramie, Wyoming; he died five days later. (Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney are serving life sentences for Shepard’s murder.)
In 2001, the war in Afghanistan started as the United States and Britain launched air attacks against military targets and Osama bin Laden’s training camps in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
In 2003, California voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger their new governor.
In 2004, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney conceded that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction as they tried to shift the Iraq war debate to a new issue, arguing that Saddam was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program.