On this day, April 12 …
1945: President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63; he is succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.
Also on this day:
- 1861: The Civil War begins as Confederate forces open fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
- 1877: The catcher’s mask is first used in a baseball game by James Tyng of Harvard in a game against the Lynn Live Oaks.
- 1934: “Tender Is the Night,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is first published in book form after being serialized in Scribner’s Magazine.
- 1955: The Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.
- 1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing.
- 1963: Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Ala., charged with contempt of court and parading without a permit. (During his time behind bars, King would write his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”)
- 1988: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues a patent to Harvard University for a genetically engineered mouse, the first time a patent is granted for an animal life form.
- 1989: Boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson dies in Culver City, Calif., at age 67.
- 1989: Radical activist Abbie Hoffman is found dead at his home in New Hope, Pa., at age 52.
- 1990: In its first meeting, East Germany’s first democratically elected parliament acknowledges responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust, and askes the forgiveness of Jews and others who had suffered.
- 2006: In the Zacarias Moussaoui trial listen to a recording of shouts and cries in the cockpit as desperate passengers twice charged hijackers during the final half hour of doomed United Flight 93 on 9/11.
- 2009: American cargo ship captain Richard Phillips is rescued from Somali pirates by U.S. Navy snipers who shot and killed three of the hostage-takers.
- 2018: The Screen Actors Guild issues new guidelines calling for an end to auditions and professional meetings in private hotel rooms and residences in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
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