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JACK KENNEDY, ELUSIVE HERO: GOALS I

February 16, 2012


JACK KENNEDY, ELUSIVE HERO: GOALS I


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 reports on Chapter 15 of Chris Matthews’ new book, Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero, published by Simon & Schuster.

The title of Chapter 15 is GOALS.

Jack Kennedy, according to Chris Matthews, was an original & consummate politician who “was always most committed to what interested him.”

“What made all the difference,” Chris writes, was his “love of history.”

But just like President Barack Obama today, JFK needed to be re-elected, so in 1963 he proposed a tax cut to “juice the economy.” (Our economy needs some juice today, don’t you think?)

President John F. Kennedy would give 3 “epochal” speeches in the summer of 1963.  

The 1st was on the subject of peace, the 2nd on civil rights & the 3rd on Berlin.

On June 10, JFK spoke to the graduating class at American University in Washington, D.C.   

The subject was a nuclear test ban treaty & world peace.

JFK said:

“For in the final analysis…we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, & we are all mortal.”

He said negotiations would soon begin in Moscow on a nuclear test ban agreement.  

The proposed treaty would prohibit nuclear testing in the atmosphere.

JFK at American University, Washington, D.C., June 10, 1963, Photo by Cecil Stoughton, JFK Library

On June 11, JFK spoke to the nation on television on the topic of civil rights.

This speech, the 1st ever given by an American president in which civil rights was the only topic, followed Alabama Governor George C. Wallace’s unsuccessful attempt to stop the admittance of two African-American students to the state university in Tuscaloosa.

JFK called it “a moral issue….as old as the Scriptures & as clear as the American Constitution.”

President Kennedy said:

“If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his child to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who represent him, who would be content to have the color of his skin changed & stand in his place.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. called it “the most sweeping & forthright ever presented by an American president.”

JFK Gives Speech on Civil Rights, June 11, 1963. Photo by Abbie Rowe, JFK Library

Finally, on June 26, President Kennedy spoke to a million Germans in West Berlin.

JFK said:

“All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin & therefore as a free man I take pride in the words Ich Bin ein Berliner.”

JFK Speaks in West Berlin, June 26, 1963, Photo by Robert Knudsen, JFK Library

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