On the 50th anniversary month of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, American Experience presents "JFK."
In the 50 years since Kennedy’s death Americans have been fascinated with one of the nation’s most beloved man and most mourned leaders. There have been an avalanche of books, movies and television programs dedicated to Kennedy’s life and death. There are also “Kennedy Tours” like the one in Boston that features stops at government buildings, museums, hotels and meeting halls.
I toured Boston’s John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum when I was there for a conference last year. It was incredibly interesting to see artifacts, images and documents from the JFK presidency. Especially intriguing to me was the permanent exhibit called “The Briefing Room” which included some of his live televised press conferences as well as his speech to the people of West Berlin, denouncing the construction of the Berlin Wall. He was, after all, the first president to effectively use the new medium of television to speak to the American people.
There have been newly opened archives and recently released documents that are explored in the documentary and producers re-evaluate JFK’s strengths and weaknesses during his tenure as President. He dealt with some of the most explosive events of the mid-20thcentury including the Cuban missile crisis, the escalating Vietnam War, and the urgent demands surrounding the civil rights movement.
His personal life is also explored in this new film – everything from his relationship with wife Jacque, his womanizing and inappropriate friendships, to how much he relied on his younger brothers and his relationship with his powerful father who had helped make him who he was.
Part two of the film follows the story through Kennedy’s administration, his assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald and assessments of his successes and failures by administration officials, civil rights leaders and journalists.
This thorough documentary promises to be one of the best programs of a number of programs to be aired during the month of November on the life of President John F. Kennedy.