Today in History
On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.
ON THIS DATE:
In 1861, the Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on For t Sumter in South Carolina.
In 1877, the catcher’s mask was first used in a baseball game by James Tyng of Harvard in a game against the L ynn Live Oaks.
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, Ala., charged with contempt of cour t and parading without a permit. (During his time behind bars, King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”)
In 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted of f from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight.
Rock singer John Kay (Steppenwolf) is 77. Talk show host David Letterman is 74. Model/tv personality J Alexander is 63. Countr y singer Der yl Dodd is 57. Folkpop singer Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) is 57. Actor Nicholas Brendon is 50. Actor Brooklyn Decker is 34. Rock singer-musician Brendon Urie (Panic! at the Disco) is 34.