Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My mother's JFK time capsule

As the country looks back 50 years at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I thought I'd do a little remembering too.  I didn't have to go far. My mother, Marjorie Dandridge, had collected every magazine and newspaper she could find that covered the event. That archive was upstairs in my closet. She must have known that I would appreciate them much later in life.  Since I chose journalism as my career, I did.

Covers of Life, Post and Look magazines.

Those of us who are were living at the time all remember where we were when we heard the news.  I was in my desk in the third grade class of Miss Ruth Gillespie at Senatobia City School.  She made the class announcement.  It was a balmy, rainy November day. We held hands and walked in a line until our parents came to get us after learning that school was being dismissed early.

Of course, at eight years old, I knew who the President was, but nothing of politics.  What I did know what how the assassination of the President affected my immediate family.  My grandmother, Rena Bell Latham, and my great-aunt Ruth Cole lived with us.

These iconic images were displayed in our regional newspaper, The Commercial Appeal. 

Here is the coverage as it appeared in our local newspaper, The Tate County Democrat.  My how times have changed.

I sat with them as they watched the non-stop coverage on our black and white TV.  They not only watched, they discussed....every detail, every possibility.  When my parents came home from work, they joined the discussions. We watched the legendary Walter Cronkite's emotional announcement to the nation.

Walter Cronkite (timeinc.net/time/photoessays)

Thanks to my mother for saving 

these time capsules for me!

The three major networks at the time, ABC, CBS and NBC — with their four days of non-stop coverage — established television as the primary source for breaking news. Two days after the assassination, about 93 percent of NBC viewers witnessed the shooting of suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald live on their screens. TV cameras focused on every aspect of the tragedy gave Americans an unprecedented opportunity to stay informed and mourn the loss of the country's 35th president. (http://www.newseum.org)

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