Tag: John F. Kennedy

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National

JFK to nation: ‘This nation will not be fully free, until all its citizens are free’

JOHN F.KENNEDY by Alicia W. Stewart (CNN) — Fifty years ago, Alabama Gov. George Wallace defiantly stood in front of the University of Alabama’s Foster Auditorium to prevent Black students from enrolling. The then newly elected governor had famously declared “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” in his inauguration speech. His “stand in the schoolhouse door” brought him national attention. It took the National Guard, federal marshals and an attorney general to persuade the governor to allow Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood to enter. It was not the first time Americans saw the drama of the civil rights movement unfold before their eyes. Earlier that spring, images of police attacking peaceful civil rights demonstrators with dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham, Alabama, flashed across the evening news. The previous year, riots were quelled with federal troops after the admission of James Meredith, the first black student at the University of Mississippi. Wallace later rescinded his views, but the incidents of the time prompted President John F. Kennedy to address the nation in a historic televised address about civil rights. “Now the time has come for this nation to fulfill its promise,” President Kennedy said in that address. ‘The events in Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them.” He told the nation that evening: