Oral History Project

Amber B and Caroline H

Topic: The Assassination of JFK

Interviewing: Lisa H (Caroline's mom), Michael H (Caroline's dad)

Caroline's research-

Assassination: Kennedy King Kennedy by Stephen Goode

-elected in 1960
-hansome, young, charismatic
-he didn't do much in his first year and people thought that he was going to be a bad President, but then he started to do better
-lead with optimism, wit, and ability that excited Americans
-a little after 11:30, Air Force 1 landed Kennedy and his wife in Dallas
-most of the crowd consisted of supporters
-Kennedy believed in close contact with crowds-he like them, they liked him
-he was going to address and assembly in Trade Market
-they were taking a motorcade to the limo and then they would have gotten into the Presidential limo where there would be MANY Secret Service selected to protect him
- car passed through Dealey Plaza, several of the cities main streets connected together here
-this was to be the last place the public could see them so up close and personal
-there were several tall buildings near Dealey Plaza where just before the car arrived, people said they saw people in the 6th floor window-Mrs. Carolyn Walther later said that she saw 2 men with one holding a rifle. She thought they were there to protect the President
-another man said that he only saw one man and the rifle had a telescope
-as the car came to the plaza it slowed to make a turn
-suddenly, several shots rang out
-some thought they were firecrackers and others immediately knew
-first they saw the President's face react to some severe pain, then another shot was fired and his head jerked from the impact-it sent blood and bone and brain flying onto his wife, Jacqueline
-at the same time, Gov. Connally collapsed in his wife's arms in pain
-some say 3 shots were fired, others say they heard 4
-some said the shots were from an overpass in front of the limo and others say it was from a grassy knoll in front and to the right of the limo
-the police seemed to think that it came from the overpass and they quickly sent people there
-police went to both places and found no evidence that a shot had been fired, no bullet case, no person with a gun
-some people said that the shots were from the School Book Depository
-several in this group said they looked up and saw a rifle in the 6th floor window
-3 employees said that while they were watching the motorcade from the 5th floor, just below where the shot had come from
-Harold Norman, worker on the 5th floor said that he heard what sounded like a shell casing hitting the floor the moment he was shot. The second shot he said he heard the explosion and noticed a fine white powder on his friend's head and shoulders right under where the shot was fired-plaster from the wall because of the impact of the shot
-police went to the 6th floor and found 3 shell casings and on the other side of the room, they found a rifle with telescopic sights
-car headed for Parkland Memorial Hospital where a team of doctors rushed to the President-they held little help for recovery
-head wound was too serious and there was a wound in his neck
-doctors performed a tracheotomy to make breathing easier and relieve his condition
-priest called to perform last rights
-1 P.M., John F Kennedy was declared dead

Gov. Connally Shot; Mrs. Kennedy Safe
by TOM WICKER Special to the New York Times
New York Times (1923-Current file); Nov 23, 1963;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851-2006)

-JFK was killed Nov 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. He was 46.
-VP Lyndon Baines Johnson was 3 cars behind him and was unharmed
-L Johnson was sworn in as President 99 minutes after JFK was declared dead
-shortly after JFK was shot, Lee H Oswald was arrested
-on the 23rd, he was accused of the killing
-Oswald was 24 years old
-he was accused if slaying a policeman and was subdued after a scuffle with a 2nd policeman
-LJ took The Oath of Office in the Presidential Jet while is was on the runway at Love Field. This plane carried JFK.
-after he was done taking the oath, they flew to Washington
-Jacqueline stood next to him spattered with her husband's blood
-the Gov. was seriously wounded in the chest, arm and ribs but wasn't in critical condition
-he was shot from a building
-he was shot 1st out of 3 shots(what there were assumed to be)
-he was rushed to the Dallas Parkland's Hospital where he died in an operating room-he never regained conciousness
-2 priests gave the last rights to JFK in the hospital
-Mrs. Kennedy wasn't in the room when he died, but she was close
-when the bronze coffin that brought JFK to Washington was carried out of the hospital around 2 PM, Mrs. Kennedy walked beside it with her hand resting on top and looking steadily down
-she still wore her suit but her hair was down
-she got inside the hearse next to the coffin that escorted them to Love Field
-the coffin was put into the jet and then Mrs. Kennedy went to the swearing in ceremony
-about 30 people were in the room when LJ took the oath, many of which were crying from the news of JFK
-LJ and Mrs. Kennedy hugged for a long time and then they held hands for a while-he made no statement
-Mr. Kilduff announced JFK's death with a choked voice and red-rimmed eyes at 1:36 PM
-"President John F Kennedy died at approximately 1 o'clock Central standard time today here in Dallas. He died of a gunshot wound in the brain. I have no other details regarding the assassination of the President."
-there was one wound that went in above the adam's apple in the neck and there was another massive gaping wound in the back and right side of his head.
-doctors tried literally everything that they could do but the doctor said that right when he saw the Pres, he knew there was nothing that he could do.
-Doctor said that he was almost positive that JFK probably didn’t even know what hit him “I am absolutely sure he never knew what hit him”
-witness said that it seemed that the President had been hit twice


Elected in 1960, President John F. Kennedy was a new type of leader. He was young, handsome, enthusiastic about what he was doing, and all of these things really excited Americans. In his first year in office, he didn’t do much, but as the next year came, he started to do more. People were really starting to love our new President, but like all political leaders, he had some that hated him.

A little after 11:30, Air Force 1 landed in Dallas, Texas. John F Kennedy, accompanied by his wife Jacqueline, was to address an assembly in Trade Market. Being a new type of President, he believed in close contact with the American people, so he, his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Connally were going to take a motorcade to their destination. The drive had gone well, and JFK’s supporters were everywhere, but then they got to Dealey Plaza. Dealey Plaza was a place in the city where many of the main streets connected, and this was where their last turn was going to be until they got to a more secure place. The car slowed down to make the turn and suddenly, several shots took the spotlight. People looked over to our great president to see him take an impact and then slump down onto his wife. Immediately after this, Governor Connally collapsed into his wife’s arms in pain.

There are many opinions as to how many shots there were. Some people say there were 3, others say 4. Because Dealey Plaza was so packed, there were several people who believed that they saw the shooter. Some witnesses said that the shots were from an overpass in front of the limo. Some people believe it came from a grassy knoll in front and to the right of the limo. Two people even said that they saw a man with a rifle that had a telescope. The most interesting experience came from Harold Norman. He was a worker on the 5th floor of a School Book Depository. Norman said that right after the President was shot, he heard what sounded like shell casings dropping on the floor. When the second shot rang out, he saw a fine white powder on his fellow employee’s head which was later identified as plaster from the ceiling. Police went to the 6th floor and found 3 shell casings and sure enough, the rifle with telescopic sights. The killer was later identified as Lee H Oswald.

Immediately after John F. Kennedy was shot, he was brought to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was given every treatment the doctors could think of. One of the doctors said that when he saw JFK when he was first brought in, he knew there was nothing he could do. John F. Kennedy was announced dead at 1 P.M. central time. Two priests were brought to the hospital to perform last rites. At 1:36 P.M., the public was told about JFK. With a heavy heart and red-rimmed eyes, Mr. Kilduff said, "President John F Kennedy died at approximately 1 o'clock Central standard time today here in Dallas. He died of a gunshot wound in the brain. I have no other details regarding the assassination of the President." At around 2 P.M., he was brought out in a bronze casket with Jacqueline right at the side with her hand lightly pressed on the top. She was said to be looking steadily down.

99 minutes after the President was declared dead, Lyndon B Johnson was sworn in as the President of the United States. He took The Oath of Office inside the Presidential Jet on Love Field.

-President Kennedy was murdered at the height of the Cold War, just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster
-The civil rights movement gathered momentum in the early 1960s and clashed with resistance, particularly in the South
- Kennedy's brother Robert, as Attorney General, launched an unprecedented war on organized crime
- Cuba was the most intense foreign policy hotspot - Castro had come to power there during the Eisenhower era and plots to overthrow and assassinate him continued in the Kennedy era.
- Vietnam was a simmering problem that would only bloom into full-scale war during the Johnson presidency.
-President Kennedy was murdered while riding in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas at 12:30 PM CST on Friday, November 22, 1963
- FK was rushed to Parkland Hospital, where a tracheostomy and other efforts failed to keep him alive
-pronounced dead around 1 PM, his body was removed against the wishes of Texas authorities and flown back to Washington aboard Air Force One with his wife Jackie and his successor, President Lyndon Johnson
- An autopsy was performed at Bethesda Naval Hospital, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetary on Monday the 25th.
- Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine and defector to the Soviet Union, was arrested around 2 PM at the Texas Theatre in the Oak Cliff suburb of Dallas and charged with murdering a police officer named J.D. Tippit
- Oswald was paraded in front of the world's gathering cameras and accused of murdering President Kennedy as well
-Oswald's defection and Marxist sympathies were quickly covered in the nation's newspapers, in part because his curious pro-Castro activities during the summer in New Orleans had brought him to the attention of local Cuban exiles
- Oswald was interrogated throughout the weekend, though no recordings or transcriptions were made
-transfer to county facilities on Sunday morning the 24th, Oswald was shot and killed on live television in the basement of the Dallas Police station
- is murderer was a local nightclub owner with connections to organized crime named Jack Ruby
-Just when the limousine passed the Stemmons Freeway sign, Mrs. Connally heard a kind of gunshots. When she turned looking at the President, she saw him taking his hand to his throat covering a shooting wound. The next second Governor Connally felt an ache in his back which he recognized as a shot. He later said:

...there were either two or three people involved or more in this or someone was shooting with an automatic rifle.

-Just seconds later he could hear the third shot. Mrs. Kennedy who then believed she listened to firecrackers from the motorcade, heard this moment "terrible noises" and turned to Kennedy. She saw her husband being wounded by a headshot. This was the last and final, fatal shot at Dealey Plaza.

-The reaction of the Secret Service Agents was quite slow. The most of them spent the evening before in "The Cellar" bar that was owned by an acquaintance of Jack Ruby.

-45 minutes later, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in charge of murder to police officer J.D. Tippit. After hours of interrogation where no lawyer was present and no protocol was made, Oswald was accused of murder to John F. Kennedy. On November 24, 1963, a Sunday morning, he was supposed to be handed over to the State Prison. In the garage of the police building, he was shot by Jack Ruby in front of hundreds of journalists and millions of TV watchers.

- HSCA charged by Congress with investigating the murders of JFK and Martin Luther King, got off to a rocky start

-Famed prosecutor Richard Sprague, brought in to head the probe, quickly ran afoul of the CIA with his refusal to sign secrecy oaths and his aggressive investigation into covered-up the aspects

- A whole bullet and fragments were traced to Oswald's rifle, found in the Texas School Book Depository building

-He worked in the TSBD, and and left the scene after the crime

- He murdered a police officer while eluding capture and had months earlier taken a shot at General Walker

-Medical evidence shows that all shots came from above and behind the motorcade