Saturday, November 16, 2013

JFK oral histories

One of the most effective museums I've ever visited is the Sixth Floor Museum of the former Texas School Book Depository in downtown Dallas, now owned by the JFK Library and redesigned as a memorial to the day of President Kennedy's assassination. What makes it so meaningful, in part, is the use of oral histories. The local disk jockey who was covering the motorcade on AM radio, the Parkland Hospital nurse who was the first to respond when the stretcher arrived, the motorcycle policeman who flanked the car on Jackie's side. . .their voices ring loud and clear through the headphones that the museum issues to each visitor.

Robert MacNeil (formerly of the MacNeil-Lehrer Report) covered that event too--he was in the motorcade. He lends his talent to a new oral history program that draws on recently discovered interviews. We Knew JFK: Unheard Stories from the Kennedy Archives can be heard in its entirety online at and is highlighted during this week's "On the Media" on public radio stations. as well. Worth a listen, especially for those of us who remember exactly where we were that fateful day.