Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK 50 Years Later: The New Haven History

(JFK 1917-1963) 50 Years Later: The New Haven History from #NHV on Vimeo.

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was one of the greatest to ever take the oath of office.  During his short presidency, he is noted as being responsible for de-escalating the Cold War, averting nuclear armageddon, and energizing the initiative to put an American on the Moon.  Kennedy visited the city of New Haven, Connecticut on several occasions.  This video (and article) documents all of those events with original media from that very time period. 

Photographs in this article are from the Greenberg Collection may not be reproduced without permission.
JFK with Richard C. Lee in 1960
Just days before the presidential election, Kennedy campaigned in New Haven on November 6th, 1960, in a procession of vehicles from Whalley Avenue to downtown.  He gave an impassioned speech on the Green.  He was elected two days later on November 8th, and took the oath of office on January 20th, 1961.

In this picture to the left, Kennedy is seen on a large stage with then-mayor Richard C. Lee; it was one of the largest assemblies of people that the New Haven Green had ever seen at the time.  (at 1:15)

On June 11, 1962, Kennedy returned to New Haven to receive an honorary degree from Yale University.  He is quoted as saying "I have the best of both worlds; a Harvard education, and a Yale degree," he quipped, "I am particularly glad to become a Yale man, because as I think about my troubles, I find that a lot of them have come from other Yale men." (at 1:15)

JFK on the Green (Greenberg Collection)

Later the same year, on October 17, 1962, the President toured Connecticut and made another powerful and well-attended speech on the New Haven Green (1:41)

He was infamously assassinated 50 years ago today on Friday, November 22, 1963.  The video highlights the headlines from the New Haven Register from the days during the weekend proceeding that event.  In addition to the national reports about Oswald being captured and Johnson being sworn in, one article also features a letter which includes a prediction made by a New Haven man. 

Before the attempt on Kennedy's life, a young man stationed in Dallas had apparently wrote his mother in New Haven, "Kennedy is coming next week! Ten to one he'll be assassinated by some of these Dallas maniacs! (of course your realize that that would make Johnson president!)  Aft the Steventson incident I'm seriously worred about his safety!  I mean I'm no Kennedy supporter but..." (3:29)

The Harvard-Yale game, scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 23, 1963, was postponed. Reports from the papers that day prominently feature that information in the headline.  A rare program for The Game, which was never played on the date printed, is also featured in the video.