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The 1980s Portal

From left, clockwise: The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, lifts off in 1981; American president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev eases tensions between the two superpowers, leading to the end of the Cold War; The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 is considered to be one of the most momentous events of the 1980s; In 1981, the IBM Personal Computer is released; In 1985, the Live Aid concert is held in order to fund relief efforts for the famine in Ethiopia during the time Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled the country; Ukraine and much of the world is filled with radioactive debris from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster; The Iran–Iraq War leads to over one million dead and $1 trillion spent.

The 1980s (pronounced "nineteen-eighties", commonly shortened as the "'80s", pronounced "eighties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1980, and ended on December 31, 1989.

Selected article

Tawana Glenda Brawley (born 1972) is an African-American woman from Wappingers Falls, New York, who gained notoriety in 1987–88 for accusing six white men of having raped her.

The charges received widespread national attention because of her age (15), the persons accused (including police officers and a prosecuting attorney), and the shocking state in which Brawley was found after the alleged rape (in a trash bag, with racial slurs written on her body and covered in feces). Brawley's accusations were given widespread media attention in part from the involvement of her advisers, including the Reverend Al Sharpton and attorneys Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason.

After hearing evidence, a grand jury concluded in October 1988 that Brawley had not been the victim of a forcible sexual assault and that she herself may have created the appearance of such an attack. The New York prosecutor whom Brawley had accused as one of her alleged assailants successfully sued Brawley and her three advisers for defamation.

Brawley initially received considerable support from the African-American community. Some suggested that Brawley was victimized by biased reporting that adhered to racial stereotypes. The mainstream media's coverage drew heated criticism from the African-American press and many black leaders who could brook no degree of skepticism or disbelief of the teenager and her story. The grand jury's conclusions decreased support for Brawley and her advisers. Brawley's family has maintained that the allegations were true.

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Atari 5200 game console with Pac Man game cartridge.
Credit: Daniel McConnell

Atari 5200 game console with Pac Man game cartridge.

Selected biography

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley meets with Rodolfo Escalera
Thomas J. "Tom" Bradley (December 29, 1917 – September 29, 1998) was the 38th Mayor of Los Angeles, serving from 1973 to 1993. He was the only African-American mayor of that city, and his 20 years in office mark the longest tenure by any mayor in the city's history. His 1973 election made him the second African-American mayor of a major U.S. city. Bradley retired in 1993, after his approval ratings began dropping subsequent to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Bradley unsuccessfully ran for Governor of California in 1982 and 1986 and was defeated each time by the Republican George Deukmejian. The racial dynamics that appeared to underlie his narrow and unexpected loss in 1982 gave rise to the political term "the Bradley effect." In 1985, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.

Bradley, the grandson of a slave, was born on December 29, 1917, to Lee Thomas and Crenner Bradley, poor sharecroppers who lived in a small log cabin outside Calvert, Texas. He had four siblings — Lawrence, Willa Mae, Ellis (who had cerebral palsy) and Howard. The family moved to Arizona to pick cotton and then in 1924 to the Temple-Alvarado area of Los Angeles, where Lee was a Santa Fe Railroad porter and Crenner was a maid.


Did you know...

...that in 1982, Canada gained official independence from the United Kingdom?
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