This Day in History: April 12

This Day in History: April 12

Take a look at all of the important historical events that took place on April 12.

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.

FILE – In this April 8, 1955 file photo, Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine, describes how the vaccine is made and tested in his laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. (AP Photo)

  • 1955: The Salk vaccine against polio is 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 suffered.
  • 2006: In the Zacarias Moussaoui trial, the court listens 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.

FILE – Richard Phillips. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

  • 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 (SAG) 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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