On This Day

Historical Events in May 1971

  • May 1 97th Kentucky Derby: Gustavo Ávila wins aboard Canonero II (wins Preakness May 15)
  • May 1 Amtrak Railroad begins operation
  • May 1 Rolling Stones release "Brown Sugar"
  • May 3 "All Things Considered" premieres on 112 National Public Radio stations
  • May 3 Erich Honecker succeeds Walter Ulbricht as East German communist party leader
  • May 3 National Public Radio begins programming
  • May 3 Nixon administration arrests 13,000 anti-war protesters in 3 days
  • May 3 Pulitzer prize awarded to John Toland (Rising Sun)
  • May 5 Courtney, Courtney, and Link's musical "Earl of Ruston" opens at Billy Rose Theater, NYC, runs for 5 performances
  • May 5 Race riot in Brownsville section of Brooklyn (NYC)
  • May 8 Courtney, Courtney, and Link's musical "Earl of Ruston" closes at Billy Rose Theater, NYC, after 5 performances
  • May 9 23rd Emmy Awards: All in the Family, Jack Klugman & Jean Stapleton win
  • May 9 Elizabeth Bonner runs female world record marathon (3:01:42)
  • May 9 Friends of Earth return 1500 non-returnable bottles to Schweppes
  • May 9 Largest walk in crowd (31,626) in Baltimore Oriole history
  • May 10 US special delivery rates go from 45 cents to 60 cents

  • May 11 Cleveland's pitcher Steve Dunning hits a grand slam off Oakland Athletics pitcher Diego Seguí
  • May 13 Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane seriously injured in a car accident
  • May 15 "70, Girls, 70" closes at Broadhurst Theater NYC after 35 performances
  • May 15 96th Preakness: Gustavo Avila aboard Canonero II wins in 1:54
  • May 15 Radio Nordsee International's ship bombed
  • May 15 Irish Republican Army member William 'Billy' Reid is shot dead by British soldiers in Belfast
  • May 16 US 1st class postage now costs 8 cents (was 6 cents)

Music releaseMusic Premiere

May 16 Benjamin Britten's opera "Owen Wingrave" premieres in Aldwych, London

  • May 16 Bulgaria adopts its constitution
  • May 17 Stephen Schwartz' musical "Godspell" premieres off-Broadway
  • May 17 Washington State bans sex discrimination
  • May 18 4th ABA Championship: Utah Stars beat Kentucky Colonels, 4 games to 3
  • May 18 Bulgarian constitution goes into effect

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 18 US President Richard Nixon rejects 60 demands of Congressional Black Caucus

37th US President Richard Nixon
37th US President
Richard Nixon

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 18 Stanley Cup Final, Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL: Henri Richard scores twice as Montreal Canadiens beat Chicago Black Hawks for a 4-3 series victory

Ice Hockey Great Henri Richard
Ice Hockey Great
Henri Richard
NHL Legend Frank Mahovlich
NHL Legend
Frank Mahovlich
  • May 18 Vampire rapist Wayne Boden's last victim found in Calgary, Alberta
  • May 19 USSR launches Mars 2, 1st spacecraft to crash land on Mars
  • May 20 Pentagon reports blacks constitute 11% of US soldiers in SE Asia
  • May 21 Chelsea win 11th European Cup Winner's Cup against Real Madrid 2-1 in Athens (replay)
  • May 21 National Guard mobilizes to quell riot in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Historic CommunicationWhite Night Riots

May 21 White Night riots occur in San Francisco after Dan White is given a lenient sentence for assassinating Mayor George Moscone and the openly gay elected official Harvey Milk

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Rioters outside San Francisco City Hall on the night of May 21, 1979
Rioters outside San Francisco City Hall on the night of May 21, 1979
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  • May 22 A British soldier is killed by members of the Official Irish Republican Army in Belfast
  • May 23 American rock group Iron Butterfly ("In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida") disbands
  • May 24 A commuter bus plunges into Panama Canal, killing 38 of 43 aboard
  • May 25 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • May 25 The Provisional Irish Republican Army throw a time bomb into Springfield Road British Army base in Belfast, killing British Army Sergeant Michael Willetts and wounding seven officers
  • May 27 23rd Walker Cup: Britain-Ireland, 13-11
  • May 27 24th Cannes Film Festival: "The Go-Between" directed by Joseph Losey wins the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film

Music releaseMusic Recording

May 27 John Lennon records the song "Imagine" at his Ascot Sound home studio at Tittenhurst Park, England

Musician and Beatle John Lennon
Musician and Beatle
John Lennon

Music releaseAlbum Release

May 28 Paul McCartney releases "Ram", his 2nd solo album

Musician and Beatle Paul McCartney
Musician and Beatle
Paul McCartney
  • May 28 USSR Mars 3 launched, 1st spacecraft to soft land on Mars
  • May 29 "Court Room" by Clarence Carter hits #61
  • May 29 Indianapolis 500: Defending champion Al Unser Snr becomes first and only driver to win race on his birthday; leads for final 83 laps
  • May 30 36 hospitalized during Grateful Dead concert; drunk LSD apple juice
  • May 30 Train crash at Duivendrecht, Netherlands, 5 die
  • May 30 US Mariner 9 1st satellite to orbit Mars launched

Sports record brokenBaseball Record

May 30 Willie Mays hits his 638th HR, sets NL record of 1,950 runs scored

MLB Legend Willie Mays
MLB Legend
Willie Mays
  • May 31 WDXR (now WKPD) TV channel 29 in Paducah, KY (PBS) begins broadcasting