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.

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, Tenn., on a mission to sabotage as much of the rail line as they could; the raiders were caught.

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 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 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.

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