Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.
On this date:
In 1776, North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress authorized the colony’s delegates to the Continental Congress to support independence from Britain.
In 1861, the Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
In 1862, Union volunteers stole a Confederate locomotive near Marietta, Georgia, and headed toward Chattanooga, Tennessee, on a mission to sabotage as much of the rail line as they could; the raiders were caught.
In 1877, the catcher’s mask was first used in a baseball game by James Tyng of Harvard in a game against the Lynn Live Oaks.
In 1934, “Tender Is the Night,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published in book form after being serialized in Scribner’s Magazine.
In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.
In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing.
In 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Alabama, charged with contempt of court and parading without a permit. (During his time behind bars, King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”)
In 1988, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to Harvard University for a genetically engineered mouse, the first time a patent was granted for an animal life form.
In 1989, former boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson died in Culver City, California, at age 67; radical activist Abbie Hoffman was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pennsylvania, at age 52.
In 1990, in its first meeting, East Germany’s first democratically elected parliament acknowledged responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust, and asked the forgiveness of Jews and others who had suffered.
In 2006, jurors in the Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE’-uhs moo-SOW’-ee) trial listened 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.
Ten years ago: American cargo ship captain Richard Phillips was rescued from Somali pirates by U.S. Navy snipers who shot and killed three of the hostage-takers. Angel Cabrera became the first Argentine to win the Masters. Actress Marilyn Chambers, who’d starred in the 1972 adult film “Behind the Green Door,” was found dead at her home in Canyon Country, California, 10 days before her 57th birthday.
Five years ago: The policy-setting panel of the 188-nation International Monetary Fund concluded a meeting in Washington by expressing confidence that the global economy finally had turned the corner to stronger growth. Devastating wildfires erupted in the hills of Valparaiso, Chile, killing 15 people and destroying nearly 3,000 homes.
One year ago: Police in Philadelphia arrested two black men at a Starbucks; the men had been asked to leave after one of them was denied access to the restroom. (Starbucks apologized and, weeks later, closed thousands of stores for part of the day to conduct anti-bias training.) Carl Ferrer, the chief executive of Backpage.com, which authorities described as an “online brothel,” pleaded guilty to California and federal charges including conspiracy and money laundering, and agreed to testify against others at the website. Schoolteachers in Oklahoma ended two weeks of walkouts, shifting their focus to electing pro-education candidates. The Screen Actors Guild issued 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.
Today’s Birthdays: Children’s author Beverly Cleary is 103. Actress Jane Withers is 93. Playwright Alan Ayckbourn (AYK’-bohrn) is 80. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock is 79. Rock singer John Kay (Steppenwolf) is 75. Actor Ed O’Neill is 73. Actor Dan Lauria is 72. Talk show host David Letterman is 72. Author Scott Turow is 70. Actor-playwright Tom Noonan is 68. Rhythm-and-blues singer JD Nicholas (The Commodores) is 67. Singer Pat Travers is 65. Actor Andy Garcia is 63. Movie director Walter Salles (SAL’-ihs) is 63. Country singer Vince Gill is 62. Actress Suzzanne (cq) Douglas is 62. Model/TV personality J Alexander is 61. Rock musician Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen) is 61. Rock singer Art Alexakis (al-ex-AH’-kihs) (Everclear) is 57. Country singer Deryl Dodd is 55. Folk-pop singer Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) is 55. Actress Alicia Coppola is 51. Rock singer Nicholas Hexum (311) is 49. Actress Retta is 49. Actor Nicholas Brendon is 48. Actress Shannen Doherty is 48. Actress Marley Shelton is 45. Actress Sarah Jane Morris is 42. Actress Jordana Spiro is 42. Rock musician Guy Berryman (Coldplay) is 41. Actor Riley Smith is 41. Actress Claire Danes is 40. Actress Jennifer Morrison is 40. Actor Matt McGorry is 33. Actress Brooklyn Decker is 32. Contemporary Christian musician Joe Rickard (Red) is 32. Rock singer-musician Brendon Urie (Panic! at the Disco) is 32. Actress Saoirse (SUR’-shuh) Ronan is 25.
Thought for Today: “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).