Miller Center

John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963)

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Life in Brief: John F. Kennedy was born into a rich, politically connected Boston family of Irish-Catholics. He and his eight siblings enjoyed a privileged childhood of elite private schools, sailboats, servants, and summer homes. During his childhood and youth… more life in brief »

Essays about John F. Kennedy

About His Administration

First Lady
Jacqueline Kennedy
Secretary of State
Dean Rusk (1961–1963)
Secretary of Defense
Robert S. McNamara (1961–1963)
Secretary of the Interior
Stewart Udall (1961–1963)
Secretary of the Treasury
C. Douglas Dillon (1961–1963)
Secretary of Commerce
Luther Hodges (1961–1963)
Secretary of Agriculture
Orville L. Freeman (1961–1963)
Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
Anthony J. Celebrezze (1962–1963)
Abraham Ribicoff (1961–1962)

Facts about John F. Kennedy

Term
:
35th President of the United States (1961 – 1963)
Born
:
May 29, 1917, Brookline, Massachusetts
Political Party
:
Democrat
Died
:
November 22, 1963
Nickname
:
“JFK,” “Jack”
Education
:
Harvard (1940)
Religion
:
Roman Catholic
Marriage
:
September 12, 1953 to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929–1994)
Children
:
Caroline Bouvier (1957– ); John Fitzgerald, Jr. (1960–1999); Patrick Bouvier (1963)
Career
:
Author, U.S. Navy Officer, Journalist, Public Official
Buried
:
Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
Writings

Why England Slept (1940); Profiles in Courage (1956)

John F. Kennedy Exhibits

‘The Civil Rights Act of 1964’

On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave a televised address to the American people and announced that he would be sending a civil rights bill to Congress which would outlaw racial segregation and make employment discrimination illegal.

‘Kennedy Meeting with White Birmingham Leaders’

In the following transcript snippet are brief comments by President Kennedy at a meeting with white Birmingham leaders a few days after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. September 23, 1963.

‘The Ole Miss Crisis’

In the summer of 1962, James Meredith wanted to enroll in the University of Mississippi, the first black ever to do so, and the Kennedy administration was determined to make this possible. These excerpts from an all night crisis management meeting that started late on September 30 reveal the tension that gripped Kennedy and his brother, the Attorney General. September 1962.

‘March on Washington’

Following the "March on Washington" and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech earlier in the day, President Kennedy met with civil rights leaders at the White House. The topics under discussion were the event itself. the details of civil rights legislation then moving through Congress, and strategies for empowering black Americans. The NAACP's Roy Wilkens begins this segment, offering reasons for the march's success.

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Kennedy White House Tapes

“Fly Me To the Moon”
“March on Washington”

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Citation Information

Consulting Editor

David Coleman

Professor Coleman is an assistant professor at the University of Virginia and Chair of the Presidential Recordings Program, overseeing the John F. Kennedy project, at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. His writings include:

Real-World Nuclear Deterrence: The Making of International Strategy (Co-authored with Joseph Siracusa, Praeger Security International, 2006)

Depression to Cold War: A History of America from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan (Co-authored with Joseph Siracusa, Praeger Publishers, 2002)

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