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Archive for the category “J K Historic Conversations 6th Conversation VI”


March 26, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 continues our report on “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” published by Hyperion.

The sixth conversation was recorded on June 3, 1964.

Arthur Schlesinger asks:

“How about Governor (Ross) Barnett in Mississippi?  Was he mad then?”*

Jacqueline Kennedy responds:

“It was just so hopeless (but) I was in Newport…& (Jack) called me at 5 o’clock in the morning.  I was so touched….because he just wanted to talk, &…said, ‘Oh, my God!’

You wouldn’t realize what it had been like….the tear gas started to run out & the troops that were meant to get there in an hour were still 4 hours away.  And I guess it was just one of the worst nights of his whole life.”

Mr. Schlesinger wants to know if the civil rights “thing” is something he talked much about.

Mrs. Kennedy says:

“It was over such a long period, & there were always–all the Barnetts & then the (Governor George) Wallaces, & I mean one…awful problem after another.”

Arthur Schlesinger asks:

“What did he think of the Negro leaders? Martin Luther King, for example?”

She responds:

“Well, (Jack) said what an incredible speaker (King) was during that freedom march.”

Mrs. Kennedy continues….

“Then he told me of a tape that the FBI had of…King when he was her for the freedom march.  And he said this with no bitterness…how he was calling up all these girls….

I said ‘Oh, but Jack, that’s so terrible (but) he would never judge anyone in any sort of way….he never really said anything against Martin Luther King.”

She adds…

“I know at the time of the freedom march when (all the civil rights leaders) came into his office….he was touched by Philip Randolph.**

*Ross Barnett (1898-1987) was Mississippi’s governor from 1960 to 1964.  In Sept 1962, JFK & Bobby talked with him over the telephone to allow the peaceful admittance of James Meredith, the 1st African-American student to enroll at Ole Miss.  

The Kennedys got nowhere with Barnett & JFK had to send in the army to put down the riots.

**A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979) was chief of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters & one of the organizers of the March on Washington.


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