Jean Jacques Dessalines proclaimed the independence of Haiti (the second republic in the Western Hemisphere).
The federal law prohibiting the importation of African slaves went into effect on this day.
Lincoln University, One of the first Black colleges was chartered as Ashmun Institute in Oxford, Pennsylvania on this day.
A law went into effect in Arkansas which prohibited the employment of free blacks on boats and ships navigating the rivers of that state.
President Lincoln signed Emancipation Proclamation which freed slaves in rebel states with exception of thirteen parishes (including New Orleans) in Louisiana, forty-eight counties in West Virginia, seven counties (including Norfolk) in Eastern Virginia. The Proclamation did not apply to slaves in Border States.
First issue of Journal of Negro History published.
Sudan claimed independence.
Edmonia Lewis (given the indian name Wildfire) was born to a Chippewa mother and African father. In the fall of 1859 she was admitted to Oberlin College and later studied sculpting privately with Edmund Brackett. Lewis became known for her busts of famous figures as Abraham Lincoln, Longfellow, and John Brown. Her Statue "The Death of Cleopatra" received critical acclaim. Most popular was her statue "Forever Free" depicting African American man and woman removing their shackles.
Kofi Annan of Ghana became the First black secretary of United Nations.
The former prison for Nelson Mandela and many other South Africans is turned in to a museum at Robben Island.