Today in history


By the Associated Press



Today is Sunday, April 12, the 103rd day of 2020. There are 263 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 12, 1861, the Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

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 1912, Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, died in Glen Echo, Maryland, at age 90.

In 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.

In 1954, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission opened a hearing on whether Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, should have his security clearance reinstated amid questions about his loyalty (it wasn’t). Bill Haley and His Comets recorded “Rock Around the Clock” in New York for Decca Records.

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 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight. Former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, 66, died in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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 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.

In 2009, 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.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama opened a 47-nation nuclear summit in Washington, boosted by Ukraine’s announcement that it would give up its weapons-grade uranium. The musical “Next to Normal” won the Pulitzer for drama; Paul Harding’s “Tinkers” was the surprise fiction winner.

Five years ago: Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics, announcing in a video her much-awaited second campaign for the White House. Pope Francis marked the 100th anniversary of the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks, calling it “the first genocide of the 20th century,” a politically explosive declaration that provoked a furious reaction from Turkey. Jordan Spieth (speeth) romped to his first major championship with a record-tying performance at the Masters, shooting an 18-under 270 to become the first wire-to-wire winner of the green jacket since 1976.

One year ago: A 5-year-old boy was seriously injured when he was thrown from a third-story balcony at the Mall of America in Minnesota by a stranger who had randomly grabbed the child. (Emmanuel Aranda pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to 19 years in prison; the injured child was hospitalized for months.) A former Florida prep school administrator, Mark Riddell, pleaded guilty to taking college entrance exams for students in exchange for cash to help wealthy parents get their kids into elite universities. (Riddell later cooperated with investigators.) Former NFL player and coach Forrest Gregg died in Colorado Springs from complications of Parkinson’s disease; he was 85. Actress Georgia Engel, best known as Georgette on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died in New Jersey at the age of 70.

Today’s Birthdays: Children’s author Beverly Cleary is 104. Actress Jane Withers is 94. Playwright Alan Ayckbourn (AYK’-bohrn) is 81. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock is 80. Rock singer John Kay (Steppenwolf) is 76. Actor Ed O’Neill is 74. Actor Dan Lauria is 73. Talk show host David Letterman is 73. Author Scott Turow is 71. Actor-playwright Tom Noonan is 69. Rhythm-and-blues singer JD Nicholas (The Commodores) is 68. Singer Pat Travers is 66. Actor Andy Garcia is 64. Movie director Walter Salles (SAL’-ihs) is 64. Country singer Vince Gill is 63. Actress Suzzanne (cq) Douglas is 63. Model/TV personality J Alexander is 62. Rock musician Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen) is 62. Rock singer Art Alexakis (al-ex-AH’-kihs) (Everclear) is 58. Country singer Deryl Dodd is 56. Folk-pop singer Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) is 56. Actress Alicia Coppola is 52. Rock singer Nicholas Hexum (311) is 50. Actress Retta is 50. Actor Nicholas Brendon is 49. Actress Shannen Doherty is 49. Actress Marley Shelton is 46. Actress Sarah Jane Morris is 43. Actress Jordana Spiro is 43. Rock musician Guy Berryman (Coldplay) is 42. Actor Riley Smith is 42. Actress Claire Danes is 41. Actress Jennifer Morrison is 41. Actor Matt McGorry is 34. Actress Brooklyn Decker is 33. Contemporary Christian musician Joe Rickard (Red) is 33. Rock singer-musician Brendon Urie (Panic! at the Disco) is 33. Actress Saoirse (SUR’-shuh) Ronan is 26.

Thought for Today: “The surest test of discipline is its absence.” — Clara Barton (1821-1912).

By the Associated Press