Black Dallas residents remember JFK assassination ahead of 50th - New York News

Black Dallas residents remember JFK assassination ahead of 50th anniversary

Posted: Updated:

Next week, the eyes of the world will be on Dallas as they remember the 50th anniversary of the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.

Thursday, African-Americans in Dallas who lived through that tragic moment gathered to share their painful recollections of how hope for a better life was deferred Nov. 22, 1963.

Eva McMillian, a Dallas civil rights pioneer, along with others from black Dallas' past, remembered JFK and all that died with him that day as part of a panel discussion at Bishop Arts Theatre Center.

"Went home and was sleeping fitfully when the phone rang, and it was she calling, my mother-in-law," said McMillian. "She said, ‘They killed him! They killed him! They killed him!' She was screaming so desperately."

"During that time, Texas was a one-party state: everybody belonged to the Democratic Party," said Joe Atkins, who brought on the lawsuit that led to desegregation of what is now the University of North Texas.

"He was on a peace mission," said Atkins. That mission: to bring divided conservative and liberal Democrats together.

While blacks in Dallas gave Kennedy more than 90 percent of their vote in 1960, Atkins says that Dallas was very anti-Kennedy.

Julia Jordan saw Kennedy's motorcade pass at Harwood and Main streets. She taught at BF Darrell School and had been invited to a luncheon with Kennedy.

As soon as the motorcade passed, she raced home to south Dallas, dropped her kids off and was getting ready to leave when the phone rang with assassination news.

"I said, ‘I don't believe it,'" said Jordan. "It was just too unreal. I had just seen the man about just a few minutes before."

Along the parade route of promise, people grieved. Others gathered outside Parkland Hospital.

Dr. Harry Robinson, then a student at Southern University, recalled a professor telling his class, "It was no need of our getting all emotional…we need to get smart. Now that Kennedy was gone, it was like our hope had been dashed."

The Rev. Peter Johnson was just 19 years old 50 years ago, and also a Southern University student. He was classmates with now-Georgia Congressman John Lewis,

The pair and others penned a song the day of the assassination to Jacqueline Kennedy

"Dear Mrs. Kennedy, we heard about your tragedy," said Johnson. "Freedom is coming and it won't be long. Tell Robert Kennedy he's still in his prime for the presidency...he's still got time. Freedom is coming and it won't be long."

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Girl drowns off Coney Island

    Girl drowns off Coney Island

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:07:25 GMT
    A girl from Staten Island apparently drowned off Coney Island Beach Tuesday evening, police said. Good Samaritans pulled Takara McDuffy, 10, and a 9-year-old girl from the water near Stillwell Avenue at about 7 p.m., the NYPD said. Medics took McDuffy to Coney Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
    A girl from Staten Island apparently drowned off Coney Island Beach Tuesday evening, police said. Good Samaritans pulled Takara McDuffy, 10, and a 9-year-old girl from the water near Stillwell Avenue at about 7 p.m., the NYPD said. Medics took McDuffy to Coney Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
  • 'Mortified': stage performers over share

    'Mortified': stage performers over share

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:56:08 GMT
    Some might call Jenn Wehrung a performance artist. Others, more simply, a masochist. This Brooklynite shares her deepest innermost thoughts from 6th grade in a show perhaps best summed up by its name: "Mortified."Wehrung is 37, single, and claims to have $37 in her bank account.Financially poor maybe, the ensemble real-life characters of "Mortified" are all filthy rich in memories.
    Some might call Jenn Wehrung a performance artist. Others, more simply, a masochist. This Brooklynite shares her deepest innermost thoughts from 6th grade in a show perhaps best summed up by its name: "Mortified."Wehrung is 37, single, and claims to have $37 in her bank account.Financially poor maybe, the ensemble real-life characters of "Mortified" are all filthy rich in memories.
  • FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:39 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:39:02 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices