- (This page is about the American president. For the British artist of the same acronym, see JFK(2). For the German artist of the same acronym, see JFK(3)).
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the establishment of the Peace Corps, developments in the Space Race, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Trade Expansion Act to lower tariffs, and the Civil Rights Movement all took place during his presidency. A member of the Democratic Party, his New Frontier domestic program was largely enacted as a memorial to him after his death. Kennedy also established the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.
Links To Peel
In 1960, John Peel went to the United States to work for a cotton producer who had business dealings with his father, and stayed till 1967. While in Dallas he spoke to John F. Kennedy as the Presidential candidate and Lyndon B. Johnson toured the city during the 1960 election campaign.
- "In 1960, when I first arrived in Dallas, well I hadn't been there very long and there was the election. And they had the parades on consecutive days and their car came to a complete standstill. So I ran out and shook hands with him and said something like "good luck Mr Kennedy" and he said, and it does sound so implausible, I'm almost embarrassed to tell you, cause people think "oh, come on!" But he said something like "you're from England aren't you?" And I said "yes", and he said "what are you doing here?" So I said "well I just came over for a few months to learn about the cotton industry". So we had a bit of a chat, and, you know, I didn't know whether it was a couple of minutes or a thirty seconds or whatever". For a politician I'd have thought this is probably unique. I mean he talked about me, rather than himself. Cause he seemed genuinely interested in what I was doing for a short period of time. So obviously after that I wanted him to win the election so I could say "well there's my mate John, he's The President of The United States now."
Following Kennedy's assassination he passed himself off as a reporter for the Liverpool Echo in order to attend the arraignment of Lee Harvey Oswald and he and a friend can be seen in the footage of the press conference shortly before Oswald's assassination. He later phoned in the story to the Liverpool Echo.
- "I was at work at the Republic Life National Insurance company in North Central Expressway, Dallas, when it was announced over the PA that The President had been shot, and the initial response of my co-workers was one of some jubilation. There clapping to be heard and people shouting, cause he was not a popular man of course in Texas, cause he threatened the oil revenues on which the state appeared to float. And I know the reaction in my high school in which my girlfriend was in theory studying at the time was very similar. It was announced their by the headmaster or whatever they called them and cheering broke out fairly generally.
- So I ran out into the car park and ran into my car and drove into downtown Dallas. I parked up somewhere and approached the Police cordon and I told them I was from The Liverpool Echo. Which obviously I wasn't and didn't have any kind of press pass or anything at all. But just cause I had an English accent, they assumed I must be telling the truth, rather touchingly. And so I went through the cordon and went in and had a look, see what was going on down by the famous grassy knoll etc."
When Lee Harvey Oswald was introduced to the press, pretend Liverpool Echo reporter, John Peel, was there.
- "They brought Lee Harvey Oswald in, and I suppose he was five/six feet away from me, and either he didn't know what was going on or he was a very good actor. I mean he just looked like "come on guys, this has gone too far you know. Is this a joke or what?". And he had a big bruise on his cheek I remember. And I was standing over there watching him, and Henry Wade said something like "this is the man that's been charged with the assassination of President Kennedy", and general excitement and then he was lead away again. And, as I say, I've told this story so many times that I didn't really believe it myself. But then I was around at Andy Kershaw's a couple of years ago, and he'd got one of these TV documentaries about it, and they were showing this film of the whole proceedings. I mean they'd put the film on to demonstrate the fact that Jack Ruby was in the room as well , which I hadn't known till I'd seen this film. But in the last few frames there's me and my mate Bob standing there just watching. So it was true, and I was rather startled to be honest to see the truth of it demonstrated."