This Day in History: Sept. 12

On this day, Sept. 12 …

1987: Reports surface that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden borrowed, without attribution, passages of a speech by British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock for one of his own campaign speeches. (The Kinnock report, along with other damaging revelations, would prompt Biden to drop his White House bid.). 

Also on this day:

  • 1959: The Soviet Union launches its Luna 2 space probe, which makes a crash landing on the moon.

  • 1959: “Bonanza” premieres on NBC.
  • 1962: In a speech at Rice University in Houston, President John F. Kennedy reaffirms his support for the manned space program, declaring: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
  • 1977: South African Black student leader and anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, 30, dies while in police custody, triggering international outrage.
  • 1992: The space shuttle Endeavour blasts off, carrying with it Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space; Mae Jemison, the first Black woman in space; and Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese national to fly on a U.S. spaceship.
  • 1994: A stolen, single-engine Cessna crashes into the South Lawn of the White House, coming to rest against the executive mansion; the pilot, Frank Corder, is killed. (The Clintons are not home at the White House at the time, staying at Blair House across the street due to separate White House repairs.)
  • 2009: Tens of thousands of protesters march to the U.S. Capitol, showing their disdain for ObamaCare, President Barack Obama’s health care plan. 


  • 2014: A South African judge finds Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and declares the double-amputee Olympian not guilty of murder. (The verdict would be overturned and replaced with a murder conviction by South Africa’s Supreme Court; Pistorius is serving a 13-year prison sentence.)

FILE – In this Feb. 20, 2014, file photo, a patron exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at a store in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

  • 2018: The Food and Drug Administration warns that the use of e-cigarettes by teens is an “epidemic” and orders manufacturers to take steps to reverse the trend.

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