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JFK and Civil Rights

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51 years ago, on February 28, 1963, President John F. Kennedy sent a message to Congress urging them to pass Civil Rights Legislation specifically

designed to safeguard the voting rights of minorities. President Kennedy has often been criticized for allegedly "dragging his feet" when it came to matters

concerning civil rights. Yet, the record indicates otherwise. One must appreciate the political climate of the time in order to place the tempo of his actions

into the proper contextual perspective. Without the power of the Presidency he would have been completely incapable of affecting change to the status quo.

This was true in matters concerning foreign affairs (i.e., withdrawal from Vietnam) as well as in domestic matters (i.e., civil rights). By insuring that blacks

and other minorities would have the ability to vote Kennedy may have benefitted his chances for reelection by winning some states, and, at the same time,

he would have suffered in states committed to segregation.

At the end of the day, for President Kennedy, it all came down to doing the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do.

Read: Kennedy's Message to the Congress on Voting Rights by scrolling down the page to the avatar (attached below).


Edited by Greg Burnham
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You are so right Greg. Elements of the press and media would like us to remember JFK as an opportunist and a cold warrior, but fortunately some great books have been written showing that he was a humanist and a progressive. For those that remember him as the former his death was a random act of violence, or at the very least wasn't all that important. I think David Talbot, in his great book 'Brothers', and James Douglass in 'JFK and the Unspeakable', enable us to put his death in its true context. But the revisionists will continue to try to paint JFK otherwise.

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