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As 2013 Winds To An End, So Do The Tweets Of 1963

The limousine carrying mortally-wounded President John F. Kennedy races toward Parkland Hospital in Dallas just seconds after he was shot.
Justin Newman
/
AP
The limousine carrying mortally-wounded President John F. Kennedy races toward Parkland Hospital in Dallas just seconds after he was shot.

As 2013 winds down, so does @Todayin1963, Code Switch's historical Twitter account. Since June, I've been "live-tweeting" moments from 50 years ago as if they were happening today, picking slices of that year that might have made their ways into people's Twitter timelines had tweeting been a thing back then.

It's been an obsessive project, to say the least.

Some of the tweets situated in events — the desegregation of the University of Alabama, the March on Washington, the Birmingham church bombing, President John F. Kennedy's assassination — may be a bit more compelling when read in the Twitter feed. I intended for the events of those days to play out as narratives, with tensions peaking at specific times, following specific rhythms. (And yes, the events mentioned above were tweeted at times as close as possible to when they actually occurred, 50 years ago.)

At a few points throughout the year, I wrapped up some of what had occurred on the Twitter feed. Here at Code Switch, we're always attuned to history and the ways events unfolded and have formed our present. As we dive into 2014, we'll continue to look for ways that we can learn from the past.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Kat Chow is a reporter with NPR and a founding member of the Code Switch team. She is currently on sabbatical, working on her first book (forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing/Hachette). It's a memoir that digs into the questions about grief, race and identity that her mother's sudden death triggered when Kat was young.