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Now don't anyone go into convulsions, hallucinate, hit, yell or send a nuclear weapon -- I have gossip. I just would like feedback.

After my writer's workshop last night, I bought The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour M. Hersh at a book sale. Reading it I learned a Democrat named Charles Engelhard, diamond merchant in S. Africa and an extremely wealthy man, was trying to get evidence of sexual liasons involving Jack Kennedy during Kennedy's early campaign. A former Senate aide of Kennedy's was told of this plan by a staunch Kennedy Democrat, whom Engelhard had approached. Kennedy became President. Certain Dems wanted Engelhard to be named an Ambassador to a high profile embassy.

Here's Kennedy's answer:

"I'm going to f---- him...I'm going to send him to one of those boogie republics in Central Africa."

(He named Engelhard the American Representative to the Independence Day ceremonies in Gabon and Zambia.)

Now the active word here is "boogie" republics. Was Kennedy referring to black people as "boogies"? Where I come from (across the river from NY), "boogie" meant a black peorson. It also meant snot. So it doesn't have a great connotation. I've heard Spanish people use it to describe black people too. Could we call John F. Kennedy a racist? I have to admit I was a little shocked, but I don't hold it against him. In those days those were their common words. It was handed down more or less; not something you would say publicly.

I would like to know others' opinions.

Kathy C :o

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My first response is that I'd have to see the quote from a second source other than that book.

Not saying it didn't happen but Hersh's book got into hot watter for going overboard on some of the badly sourced allegations aout Kennedy. That says a lot, given the Kennedy bashing nature of the media at the time that the book appeared.

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My first response is that I'd have to see the quote from a second source other than that book.

Not saying it didn't happen but Hersh's book got into hot watter for going overboard on some of the badly sourced allegations aout Kennedy. That says a lot, given the Kennedy bashing nature of the media at the time that the book appeared.

Hersh said a former Senate aide and lawyer told him. He did not want to be identified. Convenient. If true, the lawyer used the term boogie republic, ascribing it to Kennedy. Maybe Kennedy said it, but even way back when, I don't think Kennedy would be so politically stupid. I'm going to look for other sources.

Kathy C

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My first response is that I'd have to see the quote from a second source other than that book.

Not saying it didn't happen but Hersh's book got into hot watter for going overboard on some of the badly sourced allegations aout Kennedy. That says a lot, given the Kennedy bashing nature of the media at the time that the book appeared.

Hersh said a former Senate aide and lawyer told him. He did not want to be identified. Convenient. If true, the lawyer used the term boogie republic, ascribing it to Kennedy. Maybe Kennedy said it, but even way back when, I don't think Kennedy would be so politically stupid. I'm going to look for other sources.

Kathy C

Sly Hersh is the Boogie Man here.

BK

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In the early 1960's, I lived in a small town in Indiana. There was an area in the south side of town that was known as n Hill, where the majority of the black minority lived. Blacks were commonly referred to by "the n-word," and it was simply the way it was. At the local high school, the guidance counselor was a transplant from Georgia, and he pronounced the word "negro" as "nigra," and folks just nodded understandingly and let it go.

In the early 1960's, fair housing laws were several years away in much of America. While racism was surely pervasive in the South, there were vestiges of it in much of American life. As a baby boomer, I started school in the little white two-room "annex" that had originally been the "colored" school in my hometown. But we didn't have separate water fountains or rest rooms, and as we grew, our black classmates became our friends; the "niggers" were the black folks we saw on the evening news who were rioting in Watts and Washington D.C. My generation wasn't the first "enlightened" generation; it was more that we evolved into people who could see that denying our fellow citizens the right to vote, or to buy or rent a house anywhere they could afford, was simply wrong in a nation where the document that spelled out our reason for becoming a nation had declared, a long 185 years before, that "all men are created equal." Blacks and whites dating??? We just couldn't see it back then, although the lone black in my graduating class was elected Prom King, based upon his personal popularity. In other words, he'd gone from being "one of them" to truly being "one of us," all because we shared classes and sports and Boy Scout camping trips with him and discovered he was just like everyone else.

In the context of growing up in that era, I can imagine that JFK might have said what was alleged in Hersh's book. But I still think it shows that he was ahead of the curve, as compared to the area where I grew up, as he might've used "the n-word," but didn't. Remember, in 1963 Martin Luther King still had a "dream" that had yet to be realized...and which is only fully coming to life here in 2008. And you're trying to look at this thru the prizm of 2008, when it needs to be examined in the light of 1961, when it allegedly occurred. But I can imagine that the only reason that Hersh included that alleged quote was to add to the unsavory picture he was painting of JFK. While JFK certainly wasn't a saint, neither was he as bigoted as most of America still was in the early 1960's, IMHO.

Edited by Mark Knight
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In the context of growing up in that era, I can imagine that JFK might have said what was alleged in Hersh's book. But I still think it shows that he was ahead of the curve, as compared to the area where I grew up, as he might've used "the n-word," but didn't. Remember, in 1963 Martin Luther King still had a "dream" that had yet to be realized...and which is only fully coming to life here in 2008. And you're trying to look at this thru the prizm of 2008, when it needs to be examined in the light of 1961, when it allegedly occurred. But I can imagine that the only reason that Hersh included that alleged quote was to add to the unsavory picture he was painting of JFK. While JFK certainly wasn't a saint, neither was he as bigoted as most of America still was in the early 1960's, IMHO.

Robert Kennedy gives us some interesting insights into the brothers attitude towards race in the Oral History Project interviews. He admitted that before JFK was elected in 1960 the Kennedy team had given little thought about civil rights. As he points out, the family knew very little about the experiences of the black race. It was a question of empathy. In fact, RFK admitted that he had travelled to the Deep South to see Democrat leaders to give assurances that if elected, JFK would not push too hard for civil rights reform. RFK admits that he applied pressure on MLK to back-down with his campaign. RFK urged JFK to sack Harris Wofford, the presidential adviser on race because he was too committed to the cause. Advice that JFK acted upon. He also tried to stop the Freedom Riders from their campaign against segregation on buses. They refused so he sent one of his close friends to monitor their actions. He ended up being badly beaten up himself. It was this incident that changed RFK and JFK's attitude towards race. Before this it was a political issue. Now it changed to a moral issue. This is the main point that has to be grasped about JFK. In 1960 JFK was a conservative. In 1963 he was a genuine liberal. That is why he was so dangerous and had to be taken out.

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In the context of growing up in that era, I can imagine that JFK might have said what was alleged in Hersh's book. But I still think it shows that he was ahead of the curve, as compared to the area where I grew up, as he might've used "the n-word," but didn't. Remember, in 1963 Martin Luther King still had a "dream" that had yet to be realized...and which is only fully coming to life here in 2008. And you're trying to look at this thru the prizm of 2008, when it needs to be examined in the light of 1961, when it allegedly occurred. But I can imagine that the only reason that Hersh included that alleged quote was to add to the unsavory picture he was painting of JFK. While JFK certainly wasn't a saint, neither was he as bigoted as most of America still was in the early 1960's, IMHO.

Robert Kennedy gives us some interesting insights into the brothers attitude towards race in the Oral History Project interviews. He admitted that before JFK was elected in 1960 the Kennedy team had given little thought about civil rights. As he points out, the family knew very little about the experiences of the black race. It was a question of empathy. In fact, RFK admitted that he had travelled to the Deep South to see Democrat leaders to give assurances that if elected, JFK would not push too hard for civil rights reform. RFK admits that he applied pressure on MLK to back-down with his campaign. RFK urged JFK to sack Harris Wofford, the presidential adviser on race because he was too committed to the cause. Advice that JFK acted upon. He also tried to stop the Freedom Riders from their campaign against segregation on buses. They refused so he sent one of his close friends to monitor their actions. He ended up being badly beaten up himself. It was this incident that changed RFK and JFK's attitude towards race. Before this it was a political issue. Now it changed to a moral issue. This is the main point that has to be grasped about JFK. In 1960 JFK was a conservative. In 1963 he was a genuine liberal. That is why he was so dangerous and had to be taken out.

I've read more in that book, and I've lost interest in it. It's a hatchet job. That's how it started out; no fairness. I don't believe Kennedy used that phrase. And that creep, George Smathers, is quoted throughout.

Kathy C

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It isn't Kennedy's vocabularly that should be questioned about Hersh's Dark Side of Camelot, but some of the details.

For instance, Hersh claims that Skinny D'Amato paid off the West Virginia Sheriffs to help throw the pivitol West Virginia primary election to JFK. D'Amato was owner of the 500 Club in Atlantic City, pal of Frank Sinatra, and manager of the Cal/Neva casino when it was owned by Sinatra and Sam Giancana. D'Amato, according to Hersh, was the bagman in delivering the money to the Sheriffs, who he knew from them visiting his club while attending the national sheriff's convention in Atlantic City.

Hersh also claims that Joe Kennedy had a piece of the Cal/Neva and that was one of the key associations between the Kennedys and Giancana, besides Judith Cambell Extner.

I'm not disputing any of this, but its certainly more titillating then calling a spade a spade.

BK

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It isn't Kennedy's vocabularly that should be questioned about Hersh's Dark Side of Camelot, but some of the details.

For instance, Hersh claims that Skinny D'Amato paid off the West Virginia Sheriffs to help throw the pivitol West Virginia primary election to JFK. D'Amato was owner of the 500 Club in Atlantic City, pal of Frank Sinatra, and manager of the Cal/Neva casino when it was owned by Sinatra and Sam Giancana. D'Amato, according to Hersh, was the bagman in delivering the money to the Sheriffs, who he knew from them visiting his club while attending the national sheriff's convention in Atlantic City.

Hersh also claims that Joe Kennedy had a piece of the Cal/Neva and that was one of the key associations between the Kennedys and Giancana, besides Judith Cambell Extner.

I'm not disputing any of this, but its certainly more titillating then calling a spade a spade.

BK

I should have known. The book claimed matter-of-factly that Oswald did it alone.

They had a documentary on the History Channel last night about the Kennedy Assassination. Oswald did it and his nauseating brother and other people who "knew" Oswald, like Priscilla MacMilliam, said Oswald wanted fame; he wanted the spotlight; he wanted to be in the History books. If that's the case, then why was he denying that he shot anybody?

Kathy C

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In the early 1960's, I lived in a small town in Indiana. There was an area in the south side of town that was known as n Hill, where the majority of the black minority lived. Blacks were commonly referred to by "the n-word," and it was simply the way it was. At the local high school, the guidance counselor was a transplant from Georgia, and he pronounced the word "negro" as "nigra," and folks just nodded understandingly and let it go.

In the early 1960's, fair housing laws were several years away in much of America. While racism was surely pervasive in the South, there were vestiges of it in much of American life. As a baby boomer, I started school in the little white two-room "annex" that had originally been the "colored" school in my hometown. But we didn't have separate water fountains or rest rooms, and as we grew, our black classmates became our friends; the "niggers" were the black folks we saw on the evening news who were rioting in Watts and Washington D.C. My generation wasn't the first "enlightened" generation; it was more that we evolved into people who could see that denying our fellow citizens the right to vote, or to buy or rent a house anywhere they could afford, was simply wrong in a nation where the document that spelled out our reason for becoming a nation had declared, a long 185 years before, that "all men are created equal." Blacks and whites dating??? We just couldn't see it back then, although the lone black in my graduating class was elected Prom King, based upon his personal popularity. In other words, he'd gone from being "one of them" to truly being "one of us," all because we shared classes and sports and Boy Scout camping trips with him and discovered he was just like everyone else.

In the context of growing up in that era, I can imagine that JFK might have said what was alleged in Hersh's book. But I still think it shows that he was ahead of the curve, as compared to the area where I grew up, as he might've used "the n-word," but didn't. Remember, in 1963 Martin Luther King still had a "dream" that had yet to be realized...and which is only fully coming to life here in 2008. And you're trying to look at this thru the prizm of 2008, when it needs to be examined in the light of 1961, when it allegedly occurred. But I can imagine that the only reason that Hersh included that alleged quote was to add to the unsavory picture he was painting of JFK. While JFK certainly wasn't a saint, neither was he as bigoted as most of America still was in the early 1960's, IMHO.

Mark, thanks for the post, very well put. You are right about the times. It was alot different back then. Blacks could not do much, without being severely punished for their actions. But again, not much has changed, as there are still racist people running around doing, and acting the same as the early 60's. Boogie, spear chucker, ni--er, darkie, blackie, mau-mau, coon, jigga-boo, you name it, they have all been used. Back then I'm sure quite a few people, wheather Kennedy or any other person, in this country had probably used one or all of those terms at one time or another. [admitting it or not] It was the times. Could you imagine LBJ never using one of those terms? LOL! On the other hand, cracker, whitey, honky, and others I wont go into, were terms used by many of the blacks against the whites also. People should just accept people for who they are, not what color they happen to be, or what they stand for. As you touched on, its taken all of these years to get where we are today, and it still isnt where it could or should be. FWIW-smitty

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