JFK | KERA News

JFK

President John F. Kennedy's assassination is an unforgettable part of Dallas' history.

Nearly 54 years later, scholars and enthusiasts alike are still processing details from that fateful drive through Dealey Plaza now that the remaining investigation files have been unsealed. 

For the 50th anniversary in 2013, KERA produced special stories and reports from the commemoration:

  • The 50th: Remembering John F. Kennedy was KERA's live, two-hour special covering the official commemoration event at Dealey Plaza in Dallas on Nov. 22, 2013. Hosted by Krys Boyd and Shelley Kofler, the special includes reports from KERA reporters before the ceremony begins. Listen to the special here.
  • Bells tolled across the city, and the event featured historian David McCullough, who read from Kennedy’s presidential speeches; Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; religious leaders; the U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club; and a moment of silence. Read highlights from the event from KERA's live blog from that day.
  • Throughout the month, KERA posted an online series called 22 Days In November, which takes a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country and how it affected Dallas.
  • We shared stories and memories in a series called “JFK Voices.” 

Explore our archives below.

Dane Walters / KERA News

Fifty years ago today an assassin’s bullet ended the life of President John F. Kennedy as his limousine passed admiring crowds in Dallas.

For the first time, Dallas officially marked that moment today with a midday ceremony at Dealey Plaza.

But what was the commemoration meant to achieve?

Dane Walters / KERA News

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' office has released the text of the speech he gave early this afternoon at Dealey Plaza at the ceremony that marked the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination:

A new era dawned and another waned a half century ago when hope and hatred collided right here in Dallas.

We watched the nightmarish reality that in our front yard our President had been taken from us, taken from his family, taken from the world.

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North Texans reflect on where they were 50 years ago when President Kennedy was assassinated in downtown Dallas.

It was supposed to be a five-city tour of Texas.

Over the course of two days in November 1963, President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline were scheduled to visit San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth and Dallas – ending with a stop in Austin. 

The Kennedys arrived in San Antonio Thursday, Nov. 21. From there, they traveled to Houston and before packing it in at the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Fresh Air's Dave Davies discusses John F. Kennedy's abbreviated term in office with presidential historian Robert Dallek, who finds that while you can make an argument that Kennedy accomplished little, he represents something special in the American experience. Dallek's latest book is Camelot's Court: Inside The Kennedy White House.

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: A special JFK edition. Today, both Dallas and Fort Worth honor President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Boston will, too.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Doctors Robert McClelland and Charles Baxter were part of the Parkland Hospital team that tried to save President John Kennedy. Earlier this year, McClelland talked at a conference about how the two witnessed the president’s last rites.

The two doctors were with the body in Trauma Room 1 when a priest arrived.  The position of the gurney made it impossible to leave without disturbing the priest. So, McClelland says, they stood "frozen" by the wall.

AXS

On Nov. 22, 1963, Dan Rather was far down the journalism totem pole, but he was in Dallas for President Kennedy’s visit. He was near Dealey Plaza when the president’s motorcade arrived. KERA recently talked with the legendary Texas newsman to get his impressions of what happened 50 years ago. He’s taking a look back at the assassination in a special on the AXS cable channel on Friday night.

Very few of us need to be reminded about what happened 50 years ago today in Dallas.

And with all the remembrances of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the news media this week, there's no need for us to post yet another.

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Roads are already being closed in preparation for Friday’s Dealey Plaza ceremony that marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination.

Both Dallas police and city officials remain tight-lipped about security plans. Expect a heavy police presence before, during and after Friday’s ceremony.

Here’s what you need to know:

In Images: When A Nation Lost A President

Nov 21, 2013

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Friday's 50th anniversary of assassination of President John F. Kennedy is an important moment for Dallas: The city wants to use the occasion to demonstrate how much it has changed.

In the 1960s — after the president's murder — Dallas became known around the world as "The City of Hate." And it was a hotbed of right-wing politics, a magnet for the extremes of the conservative movement at the time.

If the world would like to see evidence that Dallas is no longer the City of Hate, it need not look further than the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Tom Orr was just a kid when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. After witnessing Jack Ruby gun down Lee Harvey Oswald on television, Orr was surprised at how the assassination came to affect him.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Crowds have filled Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas throughout the day. They include media members, conspiracy theorists and tourists. Spotted in the crowd: a man playing bagpipes.

And Elvis has entered the plaza. A man impersonating Elvis Presley is playing his guitar -- and taking donations.

The plaza will be shut down soon as organizers prepare for Friday's midday ceremony that commemorates the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination.

Eighth graders at Kennedy-Curry Middle School in Dallas entered an essay contest about the legacy of John F. Kennedy. The winners were announced Wednesday. Here's the winning essay, written by Teriana Ward:

The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Larry Allums was a freshman at Auburn University in Alabama when he heard the news of President Kennedy's assassination. Coming from the Deep South, Allums has had to come to terms with the tumultuous social climate as well as the traditionalist views of his parents in a time where neutrality wasn't an option.

Dr. Catalina Garcia isn't a Dallas native, but she fell in love with the city when she came for medical school. She learned about President Kennedy's assassination from a patient. She didn't pay much attention to politics at the time, but she learned quickly of the simmering tensions in Dallas.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra premieres its composition in memory of John F. Kennedy on Thursday night. When the orchestra decided to commission an original piece for this 50th anniversary weekend, it didn’t turn to one of the graybeard composers with memories of that fateful day. It chose 19-year-old Conrad Tao, who was born three decades after the assassination.

YouTube/UNT

Five stories that have North Texas talking: UNT produces a rap video; a Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler trade; Sulphur Springs is home to one of America’s best bathrooms, and more.

Pete Souza/The White House via Twitter

Honoring the legacy of John F. Kennedy, President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the assassinated president's gravesite as a nation remembers that terrible day in Dallas a half-century ago Friday.

Obama also recognized a group of distinguished Americans - including Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey - with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award created by Kennedy.

Walton Muyumba is a professor of English at UNT. He found something telling while discussing literature as a response to terrorism with his students. Though writers processed other horrific events immediately, Muyumba says, much more time passed before there was a novel about JFK's murder. That's not unlike stories and feelings just now emerging from North Texans after 50 years.

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For years, the widow of Lee Harvey Oswald has avoided cameras while she tries to live a quiet life in Rockwall, northeast of Dallas. But earlier this month, the Daily Mirror, the British tabloid, published pictures and video of the widow, now Marina Oswald Porter, as she walked out of a Walmart.

Katie Sherrod was 16 when President John F. Kennedy was killed. She shares her memory of a small town united in front of the TV, wracked with sorrow. But she goes on to describe the Dallas she came to know as a journalist and producer - and a Texas she sees now, which has forgotten the need to stick together.

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