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.