JFK’s assassination capped a violent year in America.
The assassination of Medgar Evers in June 1963 challenged Kennedy’s profile in courage. He responded by embracing Martin Luther King’s civil rights agenda in Congress for the first time. It was a bold, if belated, move, and it further enraged the visceral, violent opposition to Kennedy’s presidency on the right. In September 1963 four girls were killed in the Birmingham church bombing. In November JFK was shot dead in front of a friendly crowd that included many black people.
What would JFK do today?
The award, established by members of the Kennedy family to honor JFK after his 1963 assassination, recognizes and celebrates “the quality of political courage that he admired most,” according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.