In 1963

Nov. 23, 1963, 10:30 am: ‘I didn’t shoot John Kennedy’

Under interrogation by Dallas police on the morning after JFK’s assassination, Lee Oswald denied shooting the president and denied owning a rifle.

Oswald said:

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November 11, 1963: a right-wing racist talked about how JFK would be shot

“13 days before that dark day in Dallas, Somersett elicited a chilling, police tape-recorded threat from a right-wing racist who talked of how the President would soon be shot ‘from an office building with a high-powered rifle’ and how ‘they’ll pick up somebody within hours after … just to throw the public off.’”

via A Miami police informant, a prophetic racist and fresh questions about JFK’s death | Broward Bulldog.

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The events of 1963

As the 50th anniversary of November 22 draws closer, now is a good time to revisit selected moments from the last year of John F. Kennedy’s presidency.

In early 1963, when the public infatuation with JFK and First Lady Jacqueline was at a peak, a popular deck of Kennedy Kards was published.

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Nov. 5, 1963: JFK considers secret talks with Castro

Fidel Castro, tormenter of empire.

Was JFK going to make peace with Cuba?

On November 5, 1963, President Kennedy was exploring the idea. You can hear JFK talking about it with aides on this White House tape recording. (The substantive conversation starts at :25 in the recording.)

The tape, first made public by the non-profit National Security Archive in 2003, was found by Peter Kornbluh, a Cuba scholar whose research makes clear that JFK came closer to normalizing relations with Cuba than any American president since the 1970s.

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November 22, 1963: the Air Force One flight back from Dallas

This Washingtonian magazine uses the new Air Force One tapes and other research to tell the dramatic story of the first few hours of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.

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April 1963: Oswald in New Orleans

“The five months that Oswald spent in New Orleans during the spring and summer of ’63 played a critical role in the assassination,” explains historian Michael L. Kurtz in the October issue of New Orleans Magazine.

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Oct. 10, 1963: top CIA officers vouch for Oswald’s maturity

Six CIA officers who knew about Oswald

Here’s a JFK story that the editors of the Washington Post and New York Times are still too timid to share with their readers, even 50 years after the fact.

In early October 1963 a young American man visited the Soviet and Cuban consulate in Mexico City, where CIA surveillance teams learned his name: Lee Oswald.

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Sept. 27, 1963: Oswald arrives in Mexico City

On this day 50 years ago, a strange American visitor appeared at the Soviet and Cuban consulates in Mexico City. His name would soon be world famous: Lee Harvey Oswald. Within 24 hours, a joint US-Mexico intelligence gathering operation received wiretap reports on his unusual actions.

The story of what happened next is told in Bill Simpich’s groundbreaking new book, “State Secret: Wiretapping in Mexico City, Double Agents, and the Framing of Lee Oswald,” which is being serialized by MaryFerrell.org.

In a season of JFK sotries distinguished by ill-informed experts, bogus revelations, and a Fox News fibber, Simpich’s book qualifies as the most important piece of JFK scholarship to be published this year.

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Dec. 1, 1963: The origins of doubt

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

One common misconception about the JFK assassination story is that suspicions of conspiracy originated with authors who dreamed up sensational theories. In fact, the controversy over JFK’s death emerged from the circumstances of the crime before any conspiracy theories had been published.

Case in point: On December 1,1963, Richard Dudman, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who was in Dallas, wrote an unusual article about JFK’s assassination. He did not assume the truth of public statements by law enforcement agencies. Rather, he compared those statements to what he had observed, and he asked “Did Assailant Have an Accomplice?”

Dudman was no conspiracy theorist. He went on to a long career in Washington journalism in which his independent reporting later would land him on  President Nixon’s so-called “enemies list.”

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Tableau of disaster

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline arrive in Dallas on November 22, 1963. As captured by White House photographer Arthur Rickerby, the first couple exude a charismatic style that did not impress or deter his enemies. The handsome head, the red, white and blue palette, the exploding roses, the uniformed onlookers compose a tableau of imminent disaster. The breakdown in presidential security is almost complete, thanks in part to the CIA’s mishandling (or manipulation) of a man named Oswald. Their limousine awaits.

The photo is part of an archival photography exhibition about JFK that will go up in Little Rock, Arkansas, on March 25. Read more

Silence like a cancer grows

Did you know that Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” was a response to JFK’s assassination? I didn’t.

A glimpse of 1963

The current issue of the Atlantic has a fascinating photo gallery of 1963, a reminder of the deeply divided United States of America over which JFK presided.

 

Jan. 28, 1963: Jack Ruby pursues an exotic dancer

The business card of the man who silenced Lee Harvey Oswald.

On this day in 1963, Jack Ruby, owner of the Carousel Club in Dallas, returns to Dallas from Wichita, Kansas, where he visited the T-Bone Club to see Gail Raven, an exotic dancer. Read more

Jan. 27, 1963: Oswald thinks about buying a gun

On this day in 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald is thinking about buying a gun. The CIA is paying attention to him and his wife.

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Jan. 15, 1963: Jackie Kennedy dazzles at State of the Union

The press coverage of President Kennedy’s State of the Union address, on the morning of Tuesday January 15, 1963, while generally positive could not match the adulation shown his wife and family.

Jackie at the State of the Union address January 1963

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy arrives at the Capitol to listen to her husband’s State of the Union address on January 14, accompanied the Architect of the Capitol, J. George Stewart. The man gesturing with his had in the background is Secret Service agent Clint Hill who would be at her side when JFK was killed eleven months later. (JFK Library and Museum)

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