The Stamp Act Congress convened in New York to draw up colonial grievances against England.
Poet-writer Edgar Allan Poe died at age 40.
The Republic of East Germany was formed.
The Motion Picture Association of America adopted its film-rating system, ranging from "G" for general audiences to "X" for adults only.
The Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked by Palestinian gunmen in the Mediterranean.
Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, robbed, and left tied to a fence. He died five days later.