Monday, January 28, 2013

John F. Kennedy

Throughout the 1950s the civil rights campaign was rapidly gaining momentum, striving not just for freedom of all Americans--as was won in the civil war--but equality among them. In the North this movement was making progress, desegregating schools and stores and defending the rights for all citizens to vote. In the South, however, progress moved as a snails pace, if at all, met with resistance from radical white separatists who were unwilling to relinquish their prejudice views and vowed not to go down without a fight. The Supreme Court ruling on Brown vs the Board of Education gave the black community grounds for demanding integration of school systems, yet southern states responded with outright disobedience or delay, and at times turned to violent means to intimidate black citizens out of forcing the issue.

So when it came time for the 1960 election, the black community looked to their leaders for guidance on which presidential candidate would be most beneficial to their civil rights movement. In the end, it was a sympathetic call to Martin Luther King Sr. by John and a diplomatic call to Coretta Scott King, a Georgia judge, by Bobby that won Martin Luther King Jr. his freedom from a prison in Atlanta, and won the Kennedys the White House.

Once elected to office, President Kennedy and his brother, Robert Kennedy, were reluctant to push the civil rights issue too hard. Already on shaky ground following a close and controversial election, the Kennedys did their best to remain neutral and so avoid the animosity of southern politicians. However, when violence erupted in the south in resistance to peaceful, non-violent civil rights protests, the administration could not stand idly by, and offered the activists the protection of federal troops, an act that inspired hatred from many southern radical separatists who felt their stately rights were being infringed upon by federal tyranny.

President Kennedy's last show of support towards the civil rights movement was his efforts in pushing the Civil Rights Act through the legislative branch. Unfortunately, he was assassinated before he could see it signed into law, but even in death he was a source of inspiration, winning many legislators over to pass the bill in his honor.


  1. Good facts. Had a nice history lesson in there that wasn't solely based on his impact in the Civil Rights Movement.

  2. I enjoyed how you showed the many aspects of how John F Kennedy played a major part in the civil right movement.Very well done!

  3. JFK was a great president and his support for civil rights had a huge impact. It is sad that his life was cut short; it makes you wonder what else he would have accomplished.