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.

LBJ Library

John F. Kennedy, the young President from Massachusetts, had a complicated relationship with his vice president, Texas dealmaker Lyndon Johnson.

But historian Mark Updegrove, director of the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, believes the two men had developed mutual respect by the time they visited Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

fantabandfrugal / flickr

As the anniversary of JFK’s assassination grows closer, so do the memories of people in Dallas who welcomed the president to the city where he would die. Many of them were children, who went back to school after hearing the news of Kennedy's death -- their distraught parents didn't know what else to do but take them back. Howard Weiner was one of those kids. He was 12 – a crossing guard for his 7th grade class. His dad insisted Howard not miss school on the morning of November 22, 1963, but his mom picked him up and took him to Love Field to greet President Kennedy.  

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at hate letters sent to Dallas following the assassination.

After John F. Kennedy was shot 50 years ago, hundreds of folks mailed letters to Dallas, many of them furious at the city.

The letters wound up at Southern Methodist University.

I met Shannon Hall at South Side Ballroom, in the shadow of downtown Dallas. We were there for a day-long symposium called Understanding Tragedy: The Impact of the JFK Assassination on Dallas. As a junior at UNT, Shannon drives down as often as she can - to hear music at South Side, see exhibits at the Dallas Museum of Art, peruse the shops at Riverfront. As a small-town kid, though, her first impression of Dallas was terrifying - and for all her fondness toward Dallas, she hasn't totally shaken the feeling.

Suncreek United Methodist Church

Before the nation mourned, news of President John F. Kennedy's death made its way around a broken city. Some Dallasites were waiting to hear JFK speak at the Trade Mart when they heard he would never arrive. Rev. Zan Holmes remembers a party frozen in grief.

Shutterstock

Five stories that have North Texas talking: No more 'X' in Dealey Plaza, architect Renzo Piano is in town, the Dallas Museum of Art gets two African works, and more:

Jerome Weeks / KERA News

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at a citywide effort to turn the ‘City of Hate’ into the ‘City of Love’ through art. KERA’s Jerome Weeks has the story:

In the 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the public has never tired of books about the charismatic young president and his tragic death.

This year, the market has been particularly flooded with Kennedy books — from glossy photograph collections to serious biographies and histories to a new round of books devoted to conspiracy theories.

kennedy-photos.blogspot.com

 As a child in London, 93-year-old Daphne Silwood was taken to see royalty whenever the public was invited. So as a supporter of President John F. Kennedy, she didn't think twice about taking her two kids out of school to see the First Couple at Love Field. What happened at the fence would stay with her for 50 years.

The image of Walter Cronkite taking off his glasses as he announced President John F. Kennedy's death on Nov. 22, 1963, is one that seems seared into our collective memory — even for those of us who weren't around to see it live.

Nearly 40 years later, Cronkite revisited that moment and the rest of that unsettling day in a piece that aired on All Things Considered on Nov. 22, 2002.

How Texas Changed, And Changed The Nation, Since JFK

Nov 17, 2013

Texas wasn't exactly a backwater in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, but it wasn't the economic and political powerhouse that it has become today.

Over the past 50 years, three of the nation's presidents have hailed from Texas.

"For the past few decades, Texas politicians have found a natural habitat on the national political stage in the way Dominican shortstops have found a natural habitat in baseball," the humorist Calvin Trillin wrote a couple of years ago.

When John F. Kennedy began his run for the White House more than 50 years ago, there was plenty of excitement and anticipation. He was energetic, handsome and from a famous Boston political family.

But his candidacy was far from a sure bet. At the time, few would have predicted the lasting impact his campaign would have on every election to follow.

Recognizing The Power Of TV

Kennedy made the most of his youth and novelty, says historian Robert Dallek, author of several books about JFK.

It's been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and polls show that a majority of Americans still believe Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, not a lone assassin. Though an official investigation concluded that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone, conspiracy theories about the assassination were spawned almost immediately, and they keep coming to this day: Republican consultant Roger Stone has a new book — The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ — arguing Lyndon Johnson was behind the crime.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at Dr. Red Duke, who worked to save the life of John Connally, the Texas governor who was wounded after bullets struck Kennedy's motorcade. Connally sat in front of Kennedy. KERA's BJ Austin has the story:

YouTube/Burlesque Hall Of Fame

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at one of Jack Ruby's most prominent dancers.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at an Oak Cliff businessman who has created his own personal tribute to JFK. KERA’s BJ Austin sat down with Ralph Isenberg.

The first thing T. Jeremy Gunn says when you ask him about President John F. Kennedy's assassination is, "I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't have a theory about what happened."

The American Experience/PBS

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at a documentary about JFK that’s airing on PBS.

Tonight and Tuesday, “American Experience” explores John F. Kennedy – his life and legacy.

“JFK,” a four-hour two-part special, airs at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday on KERA-TV, Channel 13.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas and more.

Today, we take a look at JFK’s final hours:

So much attention has been given to the hours following the assassination. But what about JFK’s final hours before he entered Dealey Plaza?

Nov. 22 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, a moment that left an indelible mark on those who remember it.

It also permanently changed the agency charged with protecting the president — the U.S. Secret Service.

Looking back at the images of Kennedy, first lady Jackie Kennedy, Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife waving as they rode through the streets of Dallas in an open Lincoln, it all looks terribly innocent and naive.

Jerome Weeks / KERA News

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at a local effort to commemorate the anniversary -- a video project that captures parts of a speech that Kennedy was to deliver in Dallas. The project is being called a "tribute to JFK from the citizens of Dallas." The creators are determined that his words live on through Dallasites.

colonyofcolor.com

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we look back at what Jackie Kennedy wore when she was in Dallas with her husband on Nov. 22, 1963.

YouTube

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we look back at television coverage of the president's killing.

RR Auction

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we look at JFK (and Oswald) auctions.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

A half-century later, has Dallas come to terms with the Kennedy assassination? The answer to that question, explored at a citywide symposium on Saturday, depends on whom you ask.

Shutterstock

Hundreds gathered on Nov. 2 to discuss the impact of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Dallas. "Understanding Tragedy" brought together writers, politicians, journalists, religious leaders, scholars and others. KERA live-blogged the event. Here are highlights: 

Update, 2:51 p.m.: There has been lots of praise today for J. Erik Jonsson, who became Dallas mayor shortly after Kennedy was assassinated. He worked to improve the image of the city in the years following the assassination.

“I applaud Erik Jonsson for his goals and guiding, weaving us so carefully through this labyrinth of trying to get out of this dark shame that we felt as a city,” said Gail Thomas, president and CEO of the Trinity Trust.

Nate D. Sanders Auction/natedsanders.com

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we look back at newspaper photographer Bob Jackson. As a photographer for the Dallas Times Herald, Jackson won a Pulitzer Prize for capturing on camera the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Shutterstock

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Who killed President Kennedy?, keep your umbrellas handy, the Nasher hosts a ceramic show, and more:

Fifty years after President John F. Kennedy was killed in downtown Dallas, Americans are still uncertain as to who ended his life. A new national survey shows that more than 70 percent of those polled don’t believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

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