The JFK Assassination, 50 Years Later

Oct. 11, 2013

With the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination approaching, Americans remain captivated by the events of Nov. 22, 1963, and current events continue to provide newsworthy opportunities for coverage.

To help tell interesting stories through fresh perspectives, experts from The University of Texas at Austin are poised to share their insights into the JFK tragedy. The collection of story ideas and experts below provides sources on topics ranging from presidential history to modern media to first-hand accounts of the monumental day. These sources are available for media contact and will enhance commentary about the assassination’s 50th anniversary.

Contact University Communications at 512-471-3151 for more information.

Story ideas and resources

Untold Stories of Unfulfilled Events Scheduled for Friday Night, Nov. 22

The City of Austin has a place in the assassination drama that has been left mostly untold. Volumes have been written about all that happened following the assassination. But little has been recorded about the things that did not happen, especially the political activities planned for the evening of Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, in Austin. There was to be a reception for President Kennedy at the Governor’s Mansion and a fundraising gala at Austin’s Municipal Auditorium. Austin hotels were full of politicos who had poured in from across the state. The decorations were in place and the barbeque was cooking.

But these events never took place. These stories and others are recounted in detail by Julian Read in his new book “JFK’s Final Hours in Texas,” published by the Briscoe Center for American History. Read was Gov. John Connally’s press secretary in 1963 and traveled behind the presidential limousine in the White House press bus as the motorcade made its way through Dallas.

For more information, contact: Julian Read, julian.read@cohnwolfe.com, 512-917-9041 or Ben Wright at b.wright@austin.utexas.edu. The Briscoe Center also offers resources and memorabilia related to Kennedy’s political activities, Lee Harvey Oswald, the post-tragedy climate of Dallas and more.

UT English Course Offered on “Fact, Fiction and Fantasy” of Assassination

In UT professor Don Graham’s English course “The Kennedy Assassination: Fact, Fiction and Fantasy,” students explore the day in Dallas from three perspectives. First, students read Vincent Bugliosi’s “Four Days in November,” followed by student reports based on independent readings about different phases of Lee Harvey Oswald’s life. The second part of the course focuses on fictional novels inspired by the assassination. Finally, students take a look into the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, which constitutes the “fantasy” part of the course title.

For more information, contact: Don Graham, Department of English, dgbb@austin.utexas.edu, 512-471-8387; Jessica Sinn, Public Affairs Specialist, College of Liberal Arts, sinnjessica@austin.utexas.edu, 512-471-2404.

Dallas’ Climate of Hatred in 1963

Bill Minutaglio, a clinical professor with the School of Journalism, has prepared a column about the political and social climate of Dallas leading up to the Kennedy assassination. The article is drawn from his recently published book, “Dallas 1963.” Not only is Minutaglio an acclaimed author, he spent 18 years at The Dallas Morning News as a senior writer and columnist. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Newsweek, Outside, the Los Angeles Times, Details, Texas Monthly, the Texas Observer, TALK, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Men’s Health, the Sporting News, Mexico Business, Scotland on Sunday and many other publications. At The University of Texas, Minutaglio teaches narrative nonfiction, book writing and investigative journalism.

For more information, contact Minutaglio at bminutag@austin.utexas.edu or 512-471-9050.

Multimedia Archives Unveiled

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and accordingly, the moment when President Lyndon B.  Johnson was sworn into office.  To commemorate this historic date, the LBJ Presidential Library will make archival materials available to the public on a Web exhibit at http://www.lbjlibrary.org. Items include photographs, video, audio recordings and oral histories. Some of the archival materials will be available to the public for the first time. Most of the material may be downloaded and used free of charge.

Expert Guide

Eyewitness Account

Julian Read
Briscoe Center Advisory Council member
512-917-9041
julian.read@cohnwolfe.com

Read was Gov. John Connally’s press secretary in 1963 and is a nationally prominent public affairs counselor. Read, whose archives are held at the Briscoe Center for American History, delivered the first eyewitness account of Kennedy’s assassination to the media. At Parkland Hospital, where he spent three nights, Read briefed national journalists based on what Nellie Connally, wife of the governor, had hurriedly reported to him. Read wrote an eyewitness account of the JFK assassination, titled “JFK’s Final Hours in Texas.”

How Coverage Would Have Looked in a Social Media Age

Robert Quigley
Senior Lecturer, School of Journalism
512-471-0030
robert.quigley@austin.utexas.edu

Quigley, a 16-year veteran of the print journalism industry, teaches courses that focus on new media, such as his iPhone app development class. In Quigley’s “Reporting Words” course, he facilitates an exercise in which the students re-create the JFK assassination as if they were reporters with modern journalistic tools. He is available to speak about how the assassination would be covered in the age of social media.

Assassination as Turning Point

Daniel Bonevac
Professor, Department of Philosophy
512-232-4333
bonevac@mail.utexas.edu

In his massive open online course (MOOC), “Ideas of the Twentieth Century,” Bonevac explores the most pivotal events in American history, including the JFK assassination. He is available to share background into American culture during the Kennedy administration, and how society was affected by the presidential assassination.

Don Graham
Professor, Department of English
512-471-8387
dgbb@austin.utexas.edu

Graham specializes in Southwestern literature. He teaches a course called “The Kennedy Assassination: Fact, Fiction and Fantasy.” He is available to discuss various aspects of the JFK assassination, especially the effect it had on Texas culture.

Cary Cordova
Assistant Professor, Department of American Studies
512-232-4582
cordova@mail.utexas.edu

Cordova specializes in “natural” and human-made disasters as key turning points in American history. She is available to discuss various topics related to the JFK assassination.

JFK – The President, The Era

H.W. Brands
The Raymond Dickson, Alton C. Allen and Dillon Anderson Centennial Professor of History
512-475-7238
hwbrands@mail.utexas.edu

A leading presidential historian, Brands is the author of more than 20 books on American history and culture. He is available to share commentary on the life and times of JFK, and how the assassination affected American society.

Bruce Buchanan
Professor, Department of Government
512-232-7212
bruceb@mail.la.utexas.edu

Buchanan specializes in presidential and American politics, American institutions, public policy and political behavior. He covers the JFK assassination in his course “The American President,” and he is available to speak broadly about this topic.

America in the 1960s

Bill Minutaglio
Clinical Professor, School of Journalism
512-471-9050
bminutag@austin.utexas.edu

Along with teaching courses in storytelling, narrative writing, magazine writing and investigative journalism, Minutaglio is the author of several critically acclaimed nonfiction books. Minutaglio can speak about the political and social climate of Dallas leading up to the Kennedy assassination, a topic covered in his book Dallas 1963.”

JFK-related Films

Randy Lewis
Professor, Department of American Studies
512-475-7783
randolph.lewis@mail.utexas.edu

Lewis writes about media, art and surveillance in the postwar United States. In his first book, “Emile de Antonio: Radical Filmmaker in Cold War America,” he details the collision of media and society in ’60s America. He can discuss the films about the JFK assassination and share commentary on American culture during the 1960s.

For more information, contact: University Communications, Office of the President, 512 471 3151.