SMU to Host Yearlong Series of JFK Programs on 50th Anniversary of Assassination


It may seem hard to believe, but 2013 will bring the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and many across North Texas are already coordinating plans for marking the occasion.

On the 49th anniversary of the assassination, city leaders in Dallas unveiled plans for a memorial service in Dealey Plaza on the 50th anniversary.  Two weeks ago, across the street from the hotel where Kennedy spoke to thousands on the morning of Nov. 22, the city of Fort Worth opened a new memorial to the fallen leader.

In Dallas, Southern Methodist University has partnered with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Sixth Floor Museum to host a yearlong series of public programs that  began on President's Day.

"The series will begin with 'The Politics of Memory' on President's Day 2013 (Feb. 18, 2013) and end on President's Day 2014 (Feb. 17, 2014) with 'Coping With Crises: How Presidents Manage National Crises,' a program sponsored with the Sixth Floor Museum and the Bush Library and Museum. Other programs examining the legacies of the Kennedy presidency and its impact on American domestic and foreign policy are planned for the months leading up to Nov. 22, 2013," SMU said in a news release Wednesday.

SMU said they will organize the programs with a special committee of distinguished SMU faculty members and guests known as the Tower Center Working Group on Remembrance and Commemoration:  The Life and Legacy of JFK. 

Here is more from SMU on the group:

The committee is led by Dennis Simon, SMU political science associate professor, a fellow in the Tower Center and director of the Tower Center program on American Politics. George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum Director Alan Lowe is a member of the committee, as is Jeffrey Engel, founding director of SMU's new Center for Presidential History and associate professor in the Williams P. Clements Department of History.

The working group includes William Bridge, SMU associate professor in the Dedman School of Law; Lee Cullum, journalist and Tower Center fellow; Kenneth Hamilton, SMU associate professor in the William P. Clements Department of History and director of ethnic studies in Dedman College; James Hollifield, SMU professor of political science and Arnold Fellow of International Political Economy, director of the Tower Center and chair of the Sixth Floor Museum Board; Rita Kirk, director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at SMU and a professor in the Division of Communication Studies;  Thomas Knock, SMU associate professor of history and member of the board of trustees of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library; Ruth Morgan, former SMU provost and professor emerita of political science; Daniel Orlovsky, SMU professor of history and SMU's George A. Bouhe Research Fellow in Russian Studies; and Tom Stone, SMU senior English lecturer who teaches courses that view the assassination through the works of writers, artists and scholars.

"SMU is looking forward to bringing an academic and scholarly orientation to the observance of this somber anniversary," Simon said.  "The Tower Center has a history of productive partnerships with the National Archives and Records Administration and presidential libraries, as well as with the Sixth Floor Museum. We are excited about the opportunity to reexamine the life and legacy of JFK and to help commemorate this tragic event."

The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which houses the Presidential Library and Museum, will be dedicated in late April 2013 on the SMU campus.

Further details of the JFK-related series will be released as they become available.

With the observance in mind, the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas remains open on Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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