Memories of November 22, 1963
It was November 22, 1963 and I was 6 days into my 9th birthday. It was a cold blistery November day in Winnsboro Louisiana and I had stayed home from school. It was just my mom and me. All my sisters and brothers had went to school. My mom was in the kitchen and I sat on the floor watching television. All of a sudden a special news report came on the TV; Walter Cronkite said the President had been shot in Dallas Texas;
This was the President who African American felt would help us to finally get the freedom we deserved. Although, Kennedy's presidency is more famed for the Cuban Missile Crisis and issues surrounding the Cold War.
The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was introduced in Eisenhower’s presidency and was the act that kick-started the civil rights legislative program; that was to include the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Eisenhower had not been known for his support of the civil rights movement. John Kennedy voted against this Act. However, during his presidential campaign and after he was nominated by the Democrats, Kennedy made it clear in his speeches that he was a supporter of civil rights.
As I sat on the floor watching the news report, I felt a sadness because I knew my parents and relatives would be sad if he died.
Kennedy did more than any president before him to have more African Americans appointed to federal government posts. The FBI only employed 48 African Americans out of a total of 13,649 and these 48 were nearly all chauffeurs. He appointed his brother Robert as Attorney General, which put him head of the Justice Department. Their tactic was to use the law courts as a way of enforcing already passed civil rights legislation.
John Kennedy died that day in November and I was truly a sad little girl. As I watched his funeral unfold on the Television with his 4 year son John Saluting his casket and Mrs Kennedy looking as though she had not slept for days. I was thinking in my 9 year old mind, his daddy died; Who will take care of them? Some years later John John as he was called met a untimely death on July 16, 1999.