This Day in History

Posted: Monday, April 12, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1901, the city of Nome was incorporated as a first-class municipality.

• In 1918, Thomas Riggs Jr. took office as the third governor of the Territory of Alaska.

• In 1960, two nine-year old boys safely escaped from a drifting ice floe in Cook Inlet after a hair-raising ride on an outgoing tide.

• In 1976, Nome edged out Bethel to win the 9th Annual Native Youth Olympics in Anchorage.

In the nation

• In 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

• In 1934, "Tender Is the Night," by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published.

• 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 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight.

• In 1983, Chicagoans went to the polls to elect Harold Washington the city's first black mayor.

• In 1985, Senator Jake Garn of Utah became the first senator to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off.

• In 1989, radical activist Abbie Hoffman was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pa., at age 52. Former middleweight boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson died in Culver City, Calif., at age 67.

• In 1994, Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell declined to be nominated to the Supreme Court. Playwright Edward Albee won his third Pulitzer prize for "Three Tall Women." The Pulitzer prize for fiction went to E. Annie Proulx for "The Shipping News." The gold-medal award for public service journalism went to the Akron Beacon-Journal of Ohio.

• In 1999, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright cited President Clinton for contempt of court, concluding that the president had lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in a deposition in the Paula Jones case. A jury in Little Rock, Ark., acquitted Susan McDougal of obstructing Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's Whitewater inquiry and deadlocked on two other charges, causing a mistrial.

• In 2003, finance officials from the seven richest industrial countries, meeting in Washington, agreed to support a new UN 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.

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