1860 The Pony Express begins service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California.
1948 President Truman signs legislation establishing the Marshall Plan which provided billions of dollars in aid to help Europe get back on its feet at the close of World War II.
1974 In New York City, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper makes the first call on a portable, handheld cell phone, which he had just invented.
1949 The United States and eleven other Western nations sign a treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Oganization (NATO).
1968 The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., age 39, is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee at 6:01 PM Central Time. James Earl Ray, a drifter and escaped convict, was convicted of the assassination.
1614 Indian princess Pocahontas and Jamestown, Virginia, colonist John Rolfe are married.
1933 Dr. Evarts A. Graham performs the first operation to remove a lung in St. Louis, Missouri.
1984 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar becomes the highest-scoring NBA player, with 31,421 career points (later retiring with 38,387 points).
1889 George Eastman begins selling the Kodak camera.
1909 Robert Peary, a 52-year-old U.S. Navy commander, and Matthew Henson reach the North Pole.
1862 Union forces commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant defeat Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee.
1970 John Wayne wins his only Oscar for his role in True Grit.
1952 President Truman orders the seizure of the nation's steel mills to avert a strike, an act later ruled illegal by the Supreme Court.
1974 Hank Aaron hits his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's record.
1865 Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant in a farmhouse at Appomattox Court House.
2003 In Baghdad, Iraqis and U.S. soldiers celebrate the fall of Saddam Hussein by toppling a giant statue of the dictator in Firdos Square.