Remembering the day JFK left us..

The day is stuck fresh in the mind of those that had to live through it, and it has become fresh in the mind that visit Dealey Plaza even today. The day, November 22nd, 1963 has had much meaning for those that were alive during the year 1963, and for those not quite old enough to have been around for this event. If you have never been to this spot, it is not as big as it might look on television, and it is a very high traffic area. On my recent visit to Dallas, I took my own children to visit this historic place. My children were ready to learn about everything that I have been studying since I was 8 years old. As we approached the plaza, there was hundreds of people who were taking pictures of the old Texas School Book Depository, pictures of the grassy knoll and selfies in front of just about anything they thought had meaning. As I was standing there explaining things to my children, I could not help but look out in the distance and find, families having picnics, people playing football, and others who seemed liked they were just dragged there by their significant other. Were these people disrespecting the site I thought? Were they not appreciating the history that was right in front of their face? Regardless, they were there, and with that, the history and the mystery surrounding the Kennedy assassination will live on.

I have been to Washington D.C a few times, and each time I have walked past Ford’s Theater where Lincoln was killed. The book store across the street, and the adjoining building in which Lincoln lost his life, were right there in front of me to visit. My interest in history started with JFK, and here I was in front of where Lincoln was shot, much like I was, when I was in Dealey Plaza. Not many people were in the book store, and from the times that I was there, the visitor entrance for the theater was never crowded. Sure, people have paid money to go inside of the theater to see the spot of his assassination, but it was not like Dealey Plaza. Had time let people forget about this special place? Were they not interested in this spot some 100 years after his assassination? These questions were in my head at that time when I visited Dallas, I wondered when people would stop caring. Here we are 53 years later, and on any given day, you will find people taking pictures, going to the museum, and standing in the spot where history changed. But when will that change, just as people not visiting Ford’s Theater as much

The Saturday I visited Dealey Plaza, the place was full of families, individuals, and others who were in town for a football game the next day. Regardless of why they were in Dallas, they were there. My fear is that this next generation may not have the same feeling that my generation, and the ones before me have had about the Kennedy assassination. I firmly believe that I have taught my kids enough about history, and how it must never be forgotten. It is with history that we are to learn from our mistakes, and can create a better life, from what has happened in the past. Do the kids playing football, or the ones having a picnic, not care about the spot where they are, and will their kids stop passing the history down? We must never forget the events in history that changed our world, and the Kennedy assassination was one of those events.

The difference between the two places in history is that with Dealey Plaza, it is there in the open for anyone to visit for free. It is a major part of Dallas, and the entrance and exit away from downtown. The painted white “X” on the spot where the fatal shot took place, is a constant reminder for those that drive over it each day. You can feel a sense of history from that spot, as you cross the very same area in which the 35th President of the United States lost his life. The assassination will live on for many years and for many generations to come, and how people remember both the event, and the man whose life was cut short that day will live on through them. Whether they are there for that picnic, football game, or even that group selfie, they know that history forever changed at that spot and on this day 53 years ago. If you were alive during this time, tell us what you were doing at the time of the president’s assassination, and if you were not alive at this time, tell us why you think people will always remember this day.

 

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Access to the Texas School Book Depository

 

Three years ago I found something in a police statement that has overtaken my mind and my time. This police statement was not meant to be of much, as it was the police statement of Texas School Book Depository Superintendent Roy Truly. The statement was to put more guilt onto alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and ended up having something in it, that I have been researching ever since. Within the statement, Mr. Truly mentions that the Texas School Book Depository had a janitor service that worked overnight within the building. These individuals had keys to the building, and had access to it, in the early morning hours of Friday, November 22nd, 1963. My original post about this company was in the early stages of my research, and within this article, you are going to read about everything that I have found over the past 2 years. Graduate school took me away from the research, but now I am back into it, and finding more out about this company.

So who was Acme Building Maintenance Company, and why did the Warren Commission not look into this company any further? Let’s start at the beginning and review who owned the company and how it became in what could have been, a key part of the set up in the assassination. The company was founded in 1920 by a man named Frank C. Jones. As high rise buildings were popping up inside the city of Dallas, Mr. Jones sought to take advantage of the vast amount of cleaning that these new buildings would need. The company grew at a fast rate and by the 1940’s and 1950’s, they were cleaning over 2 million square feet of office space within the city of Dallas. With an office set up on 1901 Laws Street in Dallas, the company was in a central location to all of its primary customers. The success of the company enabled Mr. Jones to become one of Dallas’s elite businessmen, and with articles featured in the Dallas Morning News during this time, he was able to have great financial success. With this success, Mr. Jones joined the Dallas Citizens Council, a group of powerful Dallas business owners who in later years would set up the luncheon at the Trade Mart for President Kennedy upon his arrival in Dallas. In 1954, an article in the Dallas Morning News had the caption “Acme Building Maintenance, Dallas’ Industrial Janitor”.

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With over 125 employees working under him, and major businesses such as the Baker Hotel, The Dallas Morning News, Southwestern Bell, The Dallas Times Herald, and Dallas Medical and Surgical Hospital, all used the services of Acme Building Maintenance. Although the company was growing, the company was trying to stay local with its business, and it board of directors included such names as, Milt Thomas, Paul Clark, Robert Whitener, and even Mr. Jones’ wife, Eva Jones. The company would get one particular business that would change the course of not only the country’s history, but also this small company as well. In May 1963, Acme became contracted with the Texas School Book Depository. In the months before this contract was taken, another man would join the ranks of the board at Acme, and his name was William Travis. William Travis was also on the board of directors at Republic National Bank of Dallas at this time as well. This new director would play a key part in the eventual downfall of Acme in the coming months, and would later look to take control of the company away from Frank Jones.

The events surrounding the assassination have been well documented, and there is no mention of Acme Building Maintenance except in two police statements. The first was by Truly, and the second would be by the janitor of the TSBD, Eddie Piper. Following along with what Truly had mentioned in his own statement, Piper reiterated the fact that the employees at Acme had access to the building overnight. Yet again, no action was taken place to investigate this company. On November 8th, 1963, a document pertaining to the housing of William Travis, stated that his home was in the stages of foreclosure. This chain of events would lead one to believe that Mr. Travis was in need of money, and he needed it fast. The home was not taken away from him, and in fact by 1964 you would not have known Mr. Travis was in any kind of money issues. By April 1964 in documents found, the Acme Building Maintenance Company changed hands and changed names. The new owners of the company included a man by the name of William Travis, the board member who came to the Acme company in 1963. In documents obtained, the new company would be named, Acme Building Maintenance of Dallas Inc. and with it, the new board consisted of two former Acme board of directors, Travis, and CFO Milton Thomas.

This new company would not keep that new Acme name for long. In June 1964, parts of the Acme company was again sold to an acquisition company called CT Corporation (ChemTech), and the Acme name was still as late as 1966. The remaining holdings of the former Acme company were gone, and what was known as Acme Building Maintenance, a strong Dallas based company with over 200 businesses as customers, was suddenly gone within a year. What came about in the aftermath of this sale, was the founding of a new businesses by William Travis, each of which would be named “Maintenance of”. There was Maintenance of Dallas, Maintenance of Fort Worth, Maintenance of San Antonio, and finally Maintenance of Houston. Each one of these companies has a president or CEO with the last name of Travis. William Travis himself is still listed as the Chairman of the Board of Maintenance of Houston. When reached for comment about this finding, the representatives at Maintenance of Houston said they would get back to me, so far, no contact has been made.

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So where did the original owner Frank C. Jones end up? After the sale of his company, Mr. Jones went was not able to find the success he had with his first company, and by 1966 in documents obtained, he was forced to sell his original home since 1944. Mr. Jones, would go onto working at various companies over the next couple of decades, and would live off of pensions from these jobs. By the time of his death in 1991, Frank Jones was not a well-known man in Dallas anymore, and the company he had founded was broken up into many different companies by a former board member.

By the time the Warren Commission was pulling together witnesses, the Acme company had already been sold twice, and broken up into different companies. With that, the records of all employees went with these acquisitions. The only names that can be found are the original board of directors, and the board of directors from the new company. Was this done to keep the real killers identity a secret, was William Travis paid off and handed keys to would be assassins to set up a sniper’s perch? All of these theories are left to the unknown, but what we know, is that a company that should have been looked into more, clearly was not. If you try and find the name Acme Building Maintenance of Dallas, you will be unable to find them. Most likely, my website will come up. In various city directories they are briefly mentioned, but the State of Texas does not even have them as a business that existed in that state. Another Acme Building Maintenance Inc., existed in Austin, Texas, and they had to give permission to William Travis in order to use the name Acme Building Maintenance of Dallas Inc.

In 2013 on a visit to Dallas, I was visiting the reading room at the Sixth Floor Museum. While I was in there, the late curator of the museum Gary Mack happened to be in there at the same time. I was too afraid to talk to him about this company at the time, so I emailed him later that day in hopes that he would have some more information about them. In his response, he was not able to provide much except for the same police statements that I already had in which they were mentioned. At the end of his email, he told me to keep him informed of this company, as he found it intriguing. I kept digging, and will continue to dig into this company and those that were a part of it at the time. For they, may hold the key to some of the answers in the Kennedy assassination.

 

Assistant President RFK

The assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963 set forth in motion a chain of events in the history of the United States that would reshape it in the years that followed. For those who lived during this time, the events in Dallas changed the lives of many Americans, some too young to understand, and some old enough to realize the damage it had done to our country. The motives behind the assassination have been speculated by many, and the outcome of the research takes the culprits in the assassination to the forefront. One of the theories that has been mentioned was the involvement of Vice-President Lyndon Johnson. Having once been the powerful majority leader of the Senate, the now Vice-President would find his role diminished by the Kennedy administration. In this book review you are going to learn about a book that I had found at a local flea market a few years back. The book, “Robert F. Kennedy: Assistant President”, shows you the possible motivation that Johnson could have had in wanting to ascend to the presidency.

The book written by Gary Gordon in 1962, highlights the many life accomplishments of RFK as he made his way to the position of Attorney General. Within the first few pages the author describes the book as, “The dramatic life story of the second most powerful man in Washington”. Interesting to note about this book since it was written in 1962, was the fact that many polls taken by Newsweek, and U.S News, and other news outlets, put RFK ahead of Lyndon Johnson in terms of their power and influence over the country. The main theme of the book is to bring RFK into the national spotlight and in hopes of showing the American people that he was more than just the President of the United States brother. In many parts of the book, the author paints RFK as the man who not only got JFK elected through his hard work as campaign manager, but that he was not willing to take on a cabinet spot within the administration.

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The many chapters in the book show the reader that RFK may not have been qualified to become Attorney General, but he was able to use his position within the White House to change the role that Attorney Generals had. If those outside of the White House were seeing the way RFK was having influence over the decisions that his brother was making, then you know LBJ saw it as well. As the book starts off showing the Presidential campaign of 1960, it backtracks to highlight the life of RFK. Having no lawyer experience, he did not want the position of Attorney General at first. Trying to not show favoritism to his own family, JFK knew he wanted RFK by his side in those critical decision making times, and that he needed to be a cabinet member to achieve that. According to the author, JFK was quoted as saying, “I’ll take Bobby’s word over almost anybody’s”. The idea of having a family member within the cabinet had not been done before, and RFK was afraid of the political backlash that it would have in a future re-election campaign.

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Something of interest in the book was the trip around the world that RFK took in the early stages of 1962. The trip would be unprecedented by a United States Attorney General, and it had the feel of something more. The trip usually meant for Vice-Presidents, and one that LBJ took himself, was meant for RFK to get a feel of foreign affairs. The trip enabled RFK to see the issues at hand, and he would be able to have a better decision making process on these situations once back in Washington with his brother. It is hard to imagine the LBJ did not take great offense to this, and felt the lack of support from both Kennedy brothers. At the end of the book, the author makes a statement that is eerie to read as it has a statement that looks into the future. The author states, “In 1968, with JFK prevented by the Constitution from running again, the speculation is that Bobby could go before the voters with eight years of experience as an Assistant President”. Was this the motivation that was needed for LBJ, to end the Kennedy presidency? Did he himself want the presidency after JFK, and having read the many magazines and books proclaiming RFK as the second man in Washington, finally get to him? It is just one of the many theories that have been claimed over the years, and books such as these spark the mind into thinking. This book was an interesting find, and I recommend to always be on the lookout for books such as these, as they could hold the motives that others had in assassinating the President of the United States.

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Time to Unite as a Nation

As we are about to enter into an important day in American history, read this quote on how JFK viewed days in which the country was divided and how we needed to come together for our nation. We don’t let elections divide us as a nation, instead we should come together as the new leader of the free world takes their place inside of the White House.

“For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great — not for what it is, though of this we are deeply proud — but for what it someday can, and, through the efforts of us all, someday will be.” —

“Address at a Luncheon Meeting of the National Industrial Conference Board (33),” February 13, 1961, Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1961.