John F. Kennedy: Online exhibits

John F. Kennedy: Online exhibits

Browse our collection of educational resources and online exhibits related to John F. Kennedy and his administration. Return to our Educational Resources landing page to resources on other presidents.

JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Listen to calls and meetings between October 16 and October 27 as President Kennedy dealt with the threat of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Bombs in Birmingham

On September 15, 1963, four black girls were killed in a bombing at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. Four days later, President Kennedy met with civil rights leaders at the White House. This tape segment begins with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. describing the situation confronting Birmingham's black residents and urging federal action to remedy their plight.

For Black History Month we have released some new transcripts of conversations between Dr. Martin Luther King and President Johnson from 1965.

JFK, LBJ, & the Midterm Elections of 1962 and 1966

As the 1966 election season got under way, Republicans hoped to use the occasion to undo some of the damage that had been done to the national party by the 1964 Democratic landslide.

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.

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.

On Politics and Public Service

Although he had not yet won the presidency--"the ultimate source of action," as he called it--when he made this recording, probably in the fall of 1960 during the height of the presidential campaign, Kennedy reflected on his political career up to that point and his philosophy of politics in national service.

The Assassination of Diem

In this recording, made on the evening of Monday, November 4, 1963, less than three weeks before he himself would eventually be assassinated, Kennedy reflected upon the tumultuous events that had transpired in Saigon over the previous weekend, the overthrow and murder of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. 

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.

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.

Troop Levels

Sending troops into harm's way is arguably the most difficult decision a president confronts. The White House tapes of presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon capture remarkably intimate and candid behind-the-scenes views of presidents agonizing over this decision in another war fought in distant lands for complex geo-political reasons.