I Remember The Day That President John Kennedy Was Killed!
I Remember The Day President John Kennedy Was Killed!
The reason I put these three pictures here is that in the 1960's and 1970's black people put three pictures in their homes. They were of Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy.
John Kennedy affected my life profoundly. He was in Houston the night before, not far from Prairie View College where I was Associate Professor of Music and we watched him on television. We were soooo proud.
The next day at noon, I was having lunch in Waller, Texas with faculty colleagues. Suddenly in the middle of lunch, I stopped dead in my tracks, left in my car and headed back to campus speeding at 85 miles an hour and I didn't know why.
Suddenly the music on the radio was interrupted with the news that the President had been shot. Tears started streaming from my eyes that I could hardly drive.
JFK was the first USA President to say publicly that it was wrong and unAmerican for a person to be discriminated against simply because he/she is a Negro.
A few weeks later he was killed.
When they announced in the white schools in Texas that the President had been killed, it was reported that the school children cheered.
Later the reporters tried to say that the children cheered because they said that the schools would be dismissed.
Yeah, right, my friends and I all said.
You see, I still had memories of only a few weeks earlier, as a voice professor, I had led two vans of students from Prairie View College to The University of Oklahoma in Norman to participate in a National Association of Singing Teachers voice competition. On the way, in Dallas, Texas, we tried to stop at a drive in restaurant for hamburgers to go. We were chased out of the parking lot by burly white men with axe handles shouting "Niggers!" "Niggers!"
Not one black person that I know from that era ever thought that President Kennedy' death was the result of the Mafia, or the Cubans, or the Communists as some postulated.
Oh No, for us it had a most familiar ring.
In the 1960's,
Throughout the South, in the homes of black people, even in the poorest black sharecroppers shack, three pictures could be found:
2. Martin Luther King, Jr. and
3. John F. Kennedy.