A New Kennedy: John F. Kennedy and Civil Rights 1960-1963 Virtual Lecture
June 11, 2020 | 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. | Free
In the November 1964 issue of LOOK magazine, Martin Luther King, Jr. reflected on John Kennedy one year after his assassination. In the interview, King marveled at President Kennedy’s capacity to listen, learn and grow. He mused that “there were, in fact, two John Kennedys. One presided in the first two years under pressure of the uncertainty caused by his razor-thin margin of victory. In 1963 a new Kennedy had emerged…. He was, at his death, undergoing a transformation from a hesitant leader with unsure goals to a strong figure with deeply appealing objectives.”
Join Dr. Sharron Wilkins Conrad, Postdoctoral Fellow at Southern Methodist University’s Center for Presidential History, as she documents how African Americans—initially dubious about his commitment—were won over by the candidate’s optimism and by the symbolic steps he took to demonstrate his sincerity. For black voters, Kennedy’s transformation served as belated fulfillment of his political obligation for their help securing his narrow election victory. The assassination of the “New Kennedy” hit African Americans particularly hard, largely because black mourners believed that this new President Kennedy embodied their hopes and was killed as a result.
Note: This program will be offered through Zoom. The program is free, but registration is required. To register, visit http://www.bit.ly/TSFMNewKennedy
Program format: Lecture with question and answer session at the end.