April 12, 1961
RUSSIA PUTS MAN IN ORBIT
The Soviet Union launched both the 1st man into space as well as the 1st man to orbit the earth today.
Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s space flight aboard the “Vostok I” lasted less than 2 hours.
President Kennedy was forced to acknowledge the United States is still behind in the space race & added “the news will be worse before it gets better.”*
*Gagarin became a Soviet hero & was awarded the Order of Lenin.
Yuri Gagarin in Sweden (1964)
Photo by Arkiv Sydsvenskan
April 12, 1961
ADVISER SENDS JFK A MEMO ON VIETNAM
Walt Rostow, 1st US Deputy National Security Adviser & White House specialist on Southeast Asia, sent President Kennedy a memorandum today saying that now is the time to “gear up the whole Vietnam operation.”
Rostow recommends sending Vice President Johnson to South Vietnam for a visit as well as increasing the number of American Special Forces there.
LBJ watches Rostow explain strategy
April 12, 1963
MARTIN LUTHER KING ARRESTED IN BIRMINGHAM
On this Good Friday civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Reverend Ralph Abernathy were arrested by Birmingham police for defying an Alabama court ordered ban on demonstrations*
*4 days later, King will write his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.
Fred Shuttlesworth, Abernathy & King
April 12, 1945
FDR DIES IN WARM SPRINGS
President Franklin D. Roosevelt died shortly after 1 p.m. today of a cerebral hemorrhage at the “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Little White House at Warm Springs
April 12, 1861
FORT SUMTER IS UNDER SIEGE
In Charleston, South Carolina this morning at 4:30 a.m., Confederate shore batteries began to bombard United States Fort Sumter in the middle of Charleston Harbor.
The firing on Sumter came after Commander Robert B. Anderson refused to surrender.
Confederate authorities maintain the fort, garrisoned by US troops & located now in their territory, is rightly the property of the Confederacy.
The bombardment of the fort is expected to continue throughout the day.*
*4000 Confederate shells were fired on Fort Sumter in the space of 33 hours.
Bombardment of Fort Sumter
April 12, 1954
BILL HALEY & THE COMETS RECORD “ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK”
Rock ‘n Roll history was made on this date when “Bill Haley & the Comets” recorded a song written by Max C. Freedman & James E. Myers titled “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock Tonight”.
The song was to be on the “B” side of “Thirteen Women” which the group spent most of the session recording.
“Rock Around the Clock”, as it would later be known, was almost an afterthought.
There were only 2 takes in 40 minutes of the 3 hour recording session.*
*The single sold a modest 75,000 copies but when actor Glenn Ford’s son, Peter, “fell” for the “B” side, Glenn Ford convinced movie producers to use it as the background soundtrack for his latest film “Blackboard Jungle”. “Rock Around the Clock” then sold 1 million copies in a single month in 1955.