Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kennedy’s Finest Moment

A day after George Wallace took his infamous stand against segregation at the University of Alabama, a white segregationist murdered the civil rights leader, Medgar Evers. In the span of two days, the civil rights movement became a national crisis. President Kennedy responded in what Peniel E. Joseph, a Tufts University professor and founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy  calls his finest moment.

He went on national television not just to report the revolution but, writes Joseph in this editorial for the New York Times , "invited Americans of all backgrounds to engage in the kind of civic activism that reflects the tough work of democracy. 'A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all.'”

Joseph argues that Kennedy defined the crisis for Americans and even presidents following Kennedy. Students studying the civil rights movement and President Kennedy might find this story compelling.

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