Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era
John F. Kennedy in Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was the 35th president of the United States. Elected in 1960 at the age of 43, he became the youngest person ever to be voted into the White House. Kennedy served from 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. To this day, many Americans remember Kennedy as an idealistic champion of freedom at home and abroad, despite the fact that his policies on civil rights, Vietnam, and Cuba sometimes failed to live up to his soaring rhetoric.
On 22 November 1963, Kennedy was shot and killed while riding in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas. Vice President Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency and in his first address before Congress, he called for the immediate passage of civil rights legislation. "No memorial or eulogy," he said, "could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought."