Los Angeles, California - The Rodney King Uprisings (L. A. riots) began.
At 1 p.m. (PST), Monday, April 29th, Judge Stanley Weisberg announced the not guilty verdict, in the Rodney King case. Four white male police workers, of the Los Angeles Police Department had brutally beaten, Rodney King. The jury allowed them to escape punishment for beating an unarmed Black American man.
The verdict, by the all-white jury, outraged the Black American Los Angeles community. Many in Los Angeles felt the white police workers should have been tried in the city. But, they were allowed a trial in the white-friendly area of Simi Valley. Almost no Black Americans lived there.
By 4. p.m., civil disturbances erupted in parts of Los Angeles. By 5 p.m., the disturbances exploded into what became known as the Rodney King Uprisings (L. A. riots).
This period of civil unrest lasted until May 4th, with 63 people killed.
New York, New York - The Cosby Show ended after the 8th season. It ran from 1984-1992. The ground-breaking Black Americans cast was headed by Bill Cosby. The Cosby Show introduced affluence and middle-class aspirations to audiences across America.
In the 1970s, television (TV) showed Black Americans with modest lives. The stories showed the daily financial struggles of Black Americans. This was usually done in a comedic manner (Sanford and Son, Good Times, What's Happening). The Cosby Show represented a hard shift from the dynamic of economic struggles to one of economic affluence.
First, was The Jeffersons (1975-1985). It showed a solidly middle-class Black American family. The husband was self-made, with modest schooling. His hard work made his family upwardly mobile. He owned a retail service business. His wife stayed home. They employed a Black American maid.
The Cosby Show presented Black Americans as high-earning, educated, professionals. The father, Cosby, was a doctor. The mother, Claire, was a lawyer. They owned a valuable home in a white neighborhood.
It was part of a wave of TV shows that flaunted wealth. Dallas (1978-1991), Dyansty (1981-1989), and Falcon Crest (1981-1990) were the white versions of this era.
During its time, The Cosby Show was a ratings powerhouse. It allowed NBC to create an entire night of highly rated television (TV) shows. From Cosby, white shows such as Cheers, Family Ties, Night Court, Seinfeld, and Frasier enjoyed tremendous success.
Before The Cosby Show, NBC did not have very many successful shows on Thursday night. For this reason, many say Cosby saved NBC's prime-time lineup.
Some criticized The Cosby Show for not showing Black American life properly. Cosby made no mention of the War on Drugs, AIDS, and street crime. These were raging issues during its run. The show ignored issues of poverty, police brutality, housing, and job discrimination.
Lisa Bonet got pregnant, while a part of the cast. She was unwed. It was an opportunity to show single motherhood. Instead, Lisa Bonet was fired from the cast and the issue was dropped.
Despite the criticisms, The Cosby Show gave Black Americans a positive and uplifting image. Its impact shaped future TV shows that had Black Americans, for decades.
New York, New York - Spike Lee released the film of the life of Malcolm X. It began with his youth as Malcolm Little. The movie showed his change into Detroit Red, and time in jail. Lastly, it covered his life as Malcolm X with the Nation of Islam, until his death, in 1965.
Denzel Washington played the lead role, as Malcolm X.