It has been almost a half century since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in downtown Dallas, yet stories from those who witnessed the event still resonate today. As the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death draws near, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza will recall the assassination and other historic events of the early 1960s through a year-long Living History Series. The monthly series will link the past to the present through firsthand accounts from reporters, law enforcement officials, doctors, military personnel and everyday citizens who witnessed or, in some cases, made history.
The series is the first in a variety of special exhibits, programs, exhibit enhancements and collaborations the Museum is planning in commemoration of the anniversary, November 22, 2013. Presenters in the 2013 Living History Series include:
The Reverend Bill McElvaney – Sat., January 12, 2013; 2 p.m.
A Dallas-based pastor, the Rev. McElvaney was involved in the 1960s desegregation of schools in Mesquite, Texas, and later participated in Vietnam War protests in Dealey Plaza.
J. Waymon Rose – Sat., February 9, 2013; 2 p.m.
Selected as the tenth juror in the Jack Ruby trial in 1964, Rose kept a diary throughout the trial. The diary and other items from Rose are now part of the Museum’s collection.
Kathey Atkinson – Fri., March 1, 2013; 11:30 a.m. & Sat, March 2, 2013; 2 p.m.
A Dallas school girl at the time of the assassination, Atkinson shook hands with President and Mrs. Kennedy at Love Field and later waited outside Parkland Memorial Hospital. A newspaper photograph of her in tearful prayer was published internationally.
Wilborn Hampton – Fri., April 12, 2013; 11:30 a.m. & Sat., April 13, 2013; 2 p.m.
The youngest United Press International reporter at the Dallas bureau in 1963, Hampton covered suspect Lee Harvey Oswald at Dallas Police Headquarters. He later wrote a young adult history book, Kennedy Assassinated! The World Mourns: A Reporter’s Story (1997).
Lieutenant William F. Lee – Sat., May 11, 2013; 2 p.m.
While a member of the U.S. Marine Corps in 1963, Lt. Lee served on the “Death Watch” for the late president’s casket at the White House and U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
Ernest McMillan – Sat., June 8, 2013; 2 p.m.
During the 1960s, McMillan was a prominent member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was an outspoken African-American activist attending Morehouse College in Atlanta at the time of the assassination.
Buell Wesley Frazier – Sat., July 13, 2013; 2 p.m.
An employee of the Texas School Book Depository, Frazier occasionally drove Lee Harvey Oswald to work, including Nov. 22, 1963. Frazier witnessed the assassination and was questioned extensively by Dallas investigators.
Dr. Thomas McConnell – Sat., August 24, 2013; 2 p.m.
A Dallas native, Dr. McConnell was Medical Officer of the Day at the Pentagon on Nov. 22, 1963, and was assigned duties at the White House, U.S. Capitol and Arlington National Cemetery that weekend.
Walter Mears – Fri., September 13, 2013; 11:30 a.m. & Sat., September 14, 2013; 2 p.m.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning political reporter for the Associated Press for more than 40 years, Mears covered every presidential election from 1960 to 2000. He later wrote The Kennedy Brothers (2009).
Ferd Kaufman – Sat., October 12, 2013; 2 p.m.
An Associated Press photographer, Kaufman was at the Fort Worth breakfast and Trade Mart luncheon on Nov. 22, 1963. He took one of the first photos of Lee Harvey Oswald in custody and covered the Jack Ruby trial.
Bill and Gayle Newman (with sons Clayton and Bill) – Sat., November 9, 2013; 2 p.m.
The Newmans were the closest civilian eyewitnesses to President Kennedy at the time of the fatal shot and were interviewed on TV immediately after the assassination. This will be the first time all four family members have appeared together.
Kari-Mette Pigmans – Fri., December 6, 2013; 11:30 a.m. & Sat., December 7, 2013; 2 p.m.
Pigmans was a Pan Am stewardess aboard the White House press plane in the early 1960s and had met President Kennedy several times. She was at Dallas Love Field at the time of the assassination.
All Living History programs will be presented on the Museum’s seventh floor. Admission is included with paid Sixth Floor Museum admission or $10 for the program only. A multi-program pass, valid for any combination of six programs, is available for $45. Advance tickets are strongly suggested as events can sell out and may not be available at the door; individual tickets and the multi-program pass are available at www.jfk.org up to two days in advance of each program.
Each of the 15 series presenters has contributed to The Sixth Floor Museum’s ongoing Oral History Project. The collection includes more than 1,000 candid, informal interviews that recount the life and death of President John F. Kennedy, the history and culture of Dallas, and the 1960s. Anyone with vivid memories of President Kennedy, the assassination or other historic events of the era are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute to the collection.
The Sixth Floor Museum is located at 411 Elm Street in Dallas’ Historic West End. For more information,go to www.jfk.org or call 214.747.6660.
About The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy; interprets the Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza; and presents contemporary culture within the context of presidential history. Located at 411 Elm Street in downtown Dallas, the Museum is open Monday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Audio guides for the permanent exhibit are included with admission and available in English, Spanish and a Family version (English only). For more information, visit www.jfk.org or call 214.747.6660.