MTV Takes To The Air on This Date in 1981

Today in 1790, the first United States census was completed, showing a population of nearly four million people. Today, the number of Americans has swelled to nearly 330-million.

Today in 1917, IWW organizer Frank Little was lynched in Butte, Montana. Dubbed the “Hobo Agitator,” for his union and anti-war activities, he had been dragged him from a bumper, beaten and hung from a railway trestle. The coroner’s report deemed his death as “strangulation by hanging.” His murder has never been solved.

Today in 1936, the Olympic games opened in Berlin with Adolf Hitler presiding over the opening ceremony.

Today in 1941, the first Army Jeep was produced.

Today in 1943, a race riot began in Harlem, New York after white police officer James Collins shot and wounded African-American soldier Robert Bandy. This was one of six riots in the nation that year related to black and white tensions during World War II. The others took place in Detroit; Beaumont, Texas; Mobile, Alabama; and Los Angeles. In the end, six were killed, hundreds were injured – and nearly 600 people were arrested.

Today in 1944, Anne Frank made her last diary entry – she was arrested three days later.

Today in 1957, the United States and Canada reached an agreement to create the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD)…it officially came into being the following May.

Today in 1966, 25-year-old Charles Joseph Whitman shot and killed 15 people at the University of Texas before he was gunned down by police.

Today in 1976, the Montreal Summer Olympics ended. In the medal round up, the Soviets took 49 medals, East Germany was second with 40 and the U.S. was third with 34.

Today in 1981, MTV premiered at 12:01am ET/PT.

Today in 1985, Russian KGB officer Vitaly Yurchenko "defected" to the US in Rome, naming Americans Ronald Pelton and Edward Lee Howard as KGB agents. He later slipped from the Americans and returned to the Soviets. Yurchenko later claimed he had been kidnapped and drugged by the Americans – and it’s possible that his defection was staged to fool the CIA with wrong leads, and to protect Aldrich Ames, an American who worked for the CIA and was then one of the USSR's most important moles within the CIA.

Today in 1996, at the Atlanta Olympics, Michael Johnson broke his world track record by more than three-tenths of a second, winning the 200 meters in 19-point-32 seconds.

Today in 1999, a heat wave that had gripped the nation for two weeks finally broke; authorities attributed nearly 500 deaths to the heat and humidity.

Today in 2001, it was revealed that Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore had a Ten Commandments monument installed in the judiciary building the night before – without his eight associate justices being aware. He DID, however, allow a Christian television ministry to film it. Ultimately, the act lead to a lawsuit to have it removed…and his own removal from office.

Today in 2007, the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapsed during the evening rush hour.

Today in 2012, eight Women’s badminton doubles players were disqualified from the 2012 summer Olympics for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match.” Basically they were busted for fixing the matches.

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