Today is Friday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2013. There are 263 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight in history:
On April 12, 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Ala., charged with contempt of court and parading without a permit. (During his time behind bars, King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”; he was released on bond on April 20.)
On this date:
In 1606, England’s King James I decreed the design of the original Union Flag, which combined the flags of England and Scotland.
In 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
In 1862, Union volunteers stole a Confederate locomotive near Marietta, Ga., and headed toward Chattanooga, Tenn., 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 1912, Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, died in Glen Echo, Md., at age 90.
In 1934, “Tender Is the Night,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published in book form after being serialized in Scribner’s Magazine.
In 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.
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 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight. Former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis died in Las Vegas, Nev., at age 66.
In 1983, Chicagoans went to the polls to elect Harold Washington the city’s first black mayor.
In 1985, Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, became the first sitting member of Congress to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off.
Ten years ago: Finance officials from the seven richest industrial countries, meeting in Washington, agreed to support a new U.N. Security Council resolution as part of a global effort to rebuild Iraq and promised to begin talks on reducing Iraq’s massive foreign debt burden. Rescued POW Jessica Lynch returned to the United States after treatment at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. Women’s activists took their fight against the all-male Augusta National as close as they could get to the Masters tournament.
Five years ago: Democrat Barack Obama conceded that comments he’d made privately during a fundraiser about bitter working class voters who “cling to guns or religion” were ill chosen. Boston College won the NCAA hockey championship, 4-1, over Notre Dame. The United States won its second women’s world hockey championship, upsetting Canada 4-3 in Harbin, China.
One year ago: Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder, made his first courtroom appearance in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Jury selection began in Greensboro, N.C., for the corruption trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards, charged with six counts of campaign finance fraud. (The jury ended up acquitting Edwards of accepting illegal campaign contributions but deadlocking on the other five counts.)
Today’s birthdays: Country singer Ned Miller is 88. Actress Jane Withers is 87. Opera singer Montserrat Caballe is 80. Playwright Alan Ayckbourn is 74. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock is 73. Actor Frank Bank (“Leave It to Beaver”) is 71. Rock singer John Kay (Steppenwolf) is 69. Actor Ed O’Neill is 67. Author Tom Clancy, actor Dan Lauria and talk show host David Letterman are 66. Author Scott Turow is 64. Singer David Cassidy is 63. Actor-playwright Tom Noonan is 62.
Rhythm-and-blues singer JD Nicholas (The Commodores) is 61. Singer Pat Travers is 59. Actor Andy Garcia and movie director Walter Salles are 57. Country singer Vince Gill and actress Suzzanne Douglas are 56. Rock musician Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen) is 55. Rock singer Art Alexakis Everclear) is 51. Singers Deryl Dodd and Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) are 49. Actress Alicia Coppola is 45. Rock singer Nicholas Hexum (311) is 43. Actors Nicholas Brendon and Shannen Doherty are 42. Actress Marley Shelton is 39. Actresses Sarah Jane Morris and Jordana Spiro are 36. Rock musician Guy Berryman (Coldplay) is 35. Actresses Claire Danes and Jennifer Morrison are 34. Musicians Joe Rickard (Red) and Brendon Urie (Panic at the Disco) are 26. Actress Saoirse Ronan is 19.
Thought for today: “Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” — President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945).