On what would have been his 92nd birthday, we take a look at Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s last speech. The hope that was lost with the death of RFK still has has lasting effects on the United States today.
On what would have been his 92nd birthday, we take a look at Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s last speech. The hope that was lost with the death of RFK still has has lasting effects on the United States today.
As we approach a date that many researchers in the JFK community have looked upon as one of the defining moments in finding out the possible truth, it is important to for us to look at what exactly we are looking for. Are the files that have been long kept from us, give us the answers to solving the crime of the century? Some like myself, are looking for some key parts that may have been kept, certain names, organizations, and other various aspects that will help put the pieces into place. Even though I have been researching and learning about the JFK assassination since the time I was about 9 years old, the amount of information out there can be overwhelming. While we are looking for a certain thing in these files, we may overlook another that could possibly put it together. That is why it is important as a community to be able to talk and work together with this. For many years, and even to this day, my family and friends have called me “the JFK guy”. Anytime a mention of JFK comes on the news or social media, it is almost a certainty that one of them thinks of me. That became very clear this past week with the announcement that President Trump was willing to not block the release of the JFK files. From text messages, phone calls, emails, and seeing me in person, friends and family told me about it. The interest in the JFK assassination comes and goes with many, but to the few who spend the countless hours researching, the interest never leaves.
The JFK files release is like the Super Bowl in a way to those in the JFK community, it can either be exactly what we were waiting for, or it could leave us not impressed and waiting for the next big game. Unfortunately, there is not a next year, not another chance at the big game, this is our big game. Even if the files do not give us the answers we are looking for, there is so much information out there, that we might have overlooked. I was surprised a couple of years ago when I came across Acme Building Maintenance in one of the files. In a previous article I talked about this company and how they had access and keys to the Texas School Book Depository up to and including the night before the assassination. A chance reading when I was going through interviews, and something that not many people had looked at before. Even today when I google Acme Building Maintenance about JFK, my article and website appears. The point of this is not to talk about the article, but to show that information is still out there. It has been out there, just buried beneath a rubble of information that was not intended for us to find. If we can come together and share information, and talk rationally about it, we can put things together.
Over the course of the next few weeks, as we all dig a little bit deeper, the public interest will fade, and we will still be at our computers, reading books, looking at films, and looking to find answers. As I dig through the rubble of information, I will be sharing what I find, and if any of it might connect to something. I must open my blinders and not just look for Acme Building Maintenance, but also for other things that may have gone unnoticed. With two conferences coming up in Dallas in November, and the release of the files coming in the days ahead, a lot of information will be out there. I am part of the younger generation of researchers, not having been born during the time of JFK, instead born and raised during a time in which the public interest was reaching all- time highs. If you would like to share what exactly you are looking for in the files, then please feel free to leave comments below. The more we can talk and learn from each other, the better we are all going to be in finding out the truth.
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For those that lived during the early 1960’s, Jacqueline Kennedy had become more than just the First Lady of the United States, she had become a star. The star of the show that was played out before the nation, with the young president at her side, and a nation that wanted to copy everything that she was doing. Jacqueline Kennedy only wanted a few things in life, and none of it included becoming this type of figure. However, on November 22nd, 1963, fate would take over and put her in a place only a few First Ladies before her had to endure, that of becoming a widow. Every move that she would make in those moments after the gunshots took the life of her husband, would be etched into the minds of millions of Americans for decades to come. The stained pink dress, watching her husband’s successor take the oath of office, finding the right burial spot, and ensuring the nation would never forget this time in history.
It is with history in mind that Jacqueline Kennedy sat down with famed historian and Kennedy advisor, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. for a series of interviews just months after the events in Dallas. The interviews were recorded by Schlesinger and the agreement would be that they would be sealed for 50 years. According to her daughter Caroline Kennedy, the interviews were unlocked just weeks after her mother’s death so that the family could decide if it was time for them to be released. Caroline had decided that it was not the right time, and it would be another 17 years before the public could hear the voice that had been so strong during such a tragic time.
Over the course of the next seven conversations that spanned months during 1964, Jackie Kennedy shed light on many topics regarding her husband. Some of those topics included his presidential aspirations, what he liked to read, his relationship with his brother Bobby, and his plans for after the presidency. The book features a written form of the interviews and it also includes the recordings themselves. I have found myself listening to these conversations on my way to work, and actually hearing her voice, gives the conversation some life. Mr. Schlesinger is careful to avoid many of the controversial topics that have been printed in the years after. Instead, in these early months after JFK’s death, Jackie is painting the image of JFK that she thought he deserved. Asked at one point in the conversation as to how her husband would have described himself, she states, “An idealist without illusions”. A true statement for a man that had so many visions for the country, but were left unfinished by a life cut short.
Some of the other interesting topics that are brought up by Schlesinger, is the relationship that JFK had with the FBI, and the CIA. When asked about the situation, Jackie states, “I know he was going to get rid of J. Edgar Hoover and he always said that those were the two things he did first- you know, Hoover and Allen Dulles, which I guess he had to do at the time”. There are those that believe that individuals such as Hoover and Dulles had something to do with the assassination, and this statement by JFK’s wife, shows the indifference he had with these two men.
Another person of interest in the interviews that came up, was the name Lyndon Johnson. Jackie felt that her husband tried many times over the course of his administration to involve Johnson with decisions, but that Johnson simply just agreed with everything that was being said. So instead of having a “yes” man, he would send him on trips around the world. One notable statement that Jackie makes about this, is something that happened in our current events today. As a new Air Force One was needed, Johnson pushed for JFK to order four more Air Force Ones, and that Moscow’s planes were much faster. In turn Jackie stated, “Jack wasn’t going to spend that much money for four new planes, and Lyndon kept pushing him to do it”. JFK did not give in to Johnson’s demands, and the rift between the two was growing to a point in which Johnson might be dropped from the ticket. Jackie explains that she did not think that JFK would drop Lyndon in 1964, but that JFK had stated to her, “Oh God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon was president?” Well the nation did get to see what would happen, and the effects of his presidency left a scar on the presidency that was felt for decades.
The book is a must have for any Kennedy collector, and the recordings are the most valued portion of the book. Within those CD’s, the voices of history are heard, and the protector of Camelot sheds light on the events before JFK’s presidency, during it, and what could have been after it. Jackie Kennedy believed that her husband would have gone around the world, written a book, or even done something with his library. Instead it was left to her to form the image and history surrounding her husband, and she was able to give the country that brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.
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”.
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.
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.
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.Embed from Getty Images
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.
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.Embed from Getty Images
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.
With the passage of the John F. Kennedy Centennial Commission Act in July 2016, the memory of JFK’s life will be remembered throughout the country in 2017. With the 100th anniversary of his birth being remembered by so many who were not alive during his presidency, shows the impact that JFK had on the United States. The memory of John F. Kennedy has not left the mind frame of the American people because of the countless amounts of books, movies, and documentaries about his life. Having been the first television president, JFK left his stamp on the country in which he sought a New Frontier for. It is the vision of the New Frontier, that has had the lasting impact of his life on so many Americans, and it was his death has continued the myth of “what could have been”.
During my two years of grad school, I had set up my thesis about the myth of JFK and how he controlled both image and myth about himself. It was after his death that others around him sought to carry on the legacy and thus Camelot was born. It was not born during the Kennedy years, as JFK would have preferred to be remembered more as a simple man. A man whose love of history was obvious, and he knew that the things he did in the office would be a reflection of his image in the years that followed. Having researched this assignment for a long period of time, the term Camelot became a symbol of the JFK years, and that came directly from his wife Jackie. It was Jackie that sent men such as Arthur Schlesinger Jr, and others to the Library of Congress to seek information about the funeral for President Abraham Lincoln. She wanted to replicate that funeral because she felt that her husband should be remembered as one of the greats.Embed from Getty Images
Over time the image of JFK has remained intact even though in the years since his death, many allegations of affairs and bad health tried to reshape the image into something different. The image that JFK had built for himself during his run for Congress and the image his wife created in the aftermath of his death has had a stronghold on the American people. Last month I was lucky enough to visit Washington D.C on a research visit. During the first day of the trip, I went to Arlington Cemetery to pay my respects and to also get a feel of the visitors to the site. I noticed many different types of people that went to the gravesite, some old, some young, some from other countries, but all, with a deep respect of the fallen president. If you have never made a trip, I would highly recommend it because you get a feel of “what could have been”. Along with Jackie on the decision to pick a site, was Robert Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The breathtaking view of Washington D.C from the burial site, shows a viewpoint in which JFK is always overlooking the city and nation he had a future for.
It was during this trip that I was able to go to the Library of Congress to research my topic and use the books and online resources that is available there. Having never been, I was intimidated by the fact that I would be sitting in such a historical place. Once inside, I requested books that I had found online, and before you knew it, I was sitting at a desk among other historians and researchers. I have been following the life and death of JFK since I was 8 years old, and not until that moment sitting in that seat, did I ever feel so close to him. History was all around me and I was able to find the things I was looking for within those walls. For any lover of history, going to the Library of Congress should be on the bucket list of things to do.
With my thesis complete, my main goal for going to graduate school was to be able to write a book that represented everything that I have learned about JFK. His death has overshadowed many of the things in his life, as he has been remembered more in death then in life. By next year, I hope to be able to turn my thesis into my first book, and showcase how he was able to go from a young Jack Kennedy, to John F. Kennedy, then to the persona of JFK. All of which was created by the man himself, and left to those close to him to pass on to a new generation of Americans seeking hope. We have not had a president since him who has captivated the imagination of the country, and whose ideas would still resonate today. If you have visited either Arlington Cemetery, or even the JFK Library in Boston, share your visit with others below. The memory of his life and his death resides in those who choose to continue to share it with others. In the coming months I will be going back to looking into the details surrounding his death, but I will also be showcasing on this site the image and myth that he created.
Over the past 52 years the United States of America has seen 9 Presidents call the White House home. Each of them brought their own unique quality to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and each would try to leave a legacy behind. It is debatable who is the greatest President of the United States was, but there is no debate as to who would leave the White House too soon before his legacy was still in front of him. The death of President John F. Kennedy would have a ripple effect on our nation in the years that followed his assassination, and we as a nation have always wondered what could have been. The many debates as to who pulled the trigger that day in Dallas has been written about countless times and the debate does not seem to be slowing down with time. As I entered into the world of JFK assassination research at a very early age, my understanding of what happened changed over the years. Not only did my opinion change as I was able to do more research but my writing changed as well.
Almost two years ago I had just finished my bachelor’s degree in business management in hopes of being able to further my career in the field that I had been working in. As the academic advisor was trying to push me into going for my Master’s degree, I realized that maybe I should pursue the one area that has always interested me, History. So at that moment, I wanted to become a better writer, and a better researcher, in hopes of being able to finally write a book about the JFK assassination. The journey would take two years to complete, but at the end of my of Master’s program I would be able to write my final capstone paper. Over these last two years, I have been unable to write many blog posts because of the amount of schoolwork that was in front of me. But here I am, ready to finally write about the topic that has garnered my interest since I was 8 years old, and it would put the finishing touch on my Master’s degree.
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As I have been debating what to write about for this massive writing assignment which will turn into my first book, the vast amount of stories about John F. Kennedy’s life and assassination, have been written about. So instead of writing about a particular theory or story about something that happened during his life, I have decided to look at how history has written about JFK. From the side of both conspiracy theorist, lone gunman theorist, and those who write about his life. In my collection alone, I have over 130 books about both his life and assassination, and since 1963 the history of the topic has changed. The story which started with the making of Camelot, to who else could have pulled the trigger, to the dark side of Camelot, and finally back to the legacy and impact of JFK, has ruled the history books of the life and death of our 35th President. The JFK assassination was a pivotal moment in the history of the United States of America, and the outcome of it, would shape the nation for decades to come. The hope of a nation may have died that day in Dallas as well, as the country has looked for the kind of leadership that JFK provided.
Whatever your journey has been in the research about either the life of JFK or the assassination that cut his life way too short, I would invite you to comment below and tell everyone what made you want to read about him or the assassination. What caught your attention either as a child or an adult? As a new generation of researchers emerges, I hope to be able to keep the flame bright on the memory of JFK and have another generation of researchers look into the truth about what happened on that day in Dallas.Embed from Getty Images
As the date November 22nd comes onto our calendars, there are some of us that know the meaning of this date in history and others will go about their day like normal. It was on this date 52 years ago, that President John F. Kennedy lost his life and with it the hope of a nation that had counted on him to lead us into the new frontier. I was not born during this time in history but it was passed down to me from my grandmother who understood what his death would mean to our nation. From newspaper clippings, to framed pictures, to books, and finally a note from heaven, she had kept these mementos tucked away in a file underneath her bed. On the 25th anniversary of his death she brought out these mementos to show me since I had an interest in history. As an 8 year old boy, seeing your grandmother get excited talking about him made me generate more of an interest. One of those mementos is pictured below, and the poem titled “Special Delivery from Heaven” was meant to comfort the Kennedy family and to assure them that they would be okay. The 8 year old boy thought this letter actually came from JFK himself, and a grandmother who did not want to tell him the truth. I have kept things like this not only to remember JFK himself but also the memory of my grandmother.
It was the hope of not only her generation that JFK would be the one to lead us on a path that we were destined for but the generations that followed. We have looked for leaders like JFK ever since his death, and although some claim to have the same wit, charisma, leadership, and hope, none of them have been able to follow through. This date in history is important to always look back upon because it changed the lives of many, and the path of the United States. It is easy to also get caught up in the “what could have been”, instead of the “look what we had”. I believe that’s how JFK should be remembered, and the anniversary of his death should be a testament of what he did, instead of what he could have done had he lived. We as individuals look to people to inspire us to achieve great things, and with him we had a leader that told us to go for it. From an early age I taught my children about this day in history and every year I had to remind them of what happened on this day in history. That has changed, and now my children come up to me and tell me what day it is. It is important to remember these historical dates and pass it on to the future generations, because without history we will never know where we came from and who got us there. It was President Kennedy that pushed us to the moon, and now it’s time to reach for the stars.
Recently I purchased a book written by Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry titled “JFK Assassination File”. This book was written in 1969, some 6 years after the assassination of President Kennedy and with conspiracy theories mounting around this time, this book would be an ideal way to get some monetary gain from the events in Dallas. Throughout this post I will highlight some of the parts of the book that stand out, and others that seem to be at odds of what he had said 6 years prior. This book was not on the bestseller list by no means, but it does give a viewpoint from the man that not only help set up the security surrounding the President of the United States visit, but also the security of the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
Throughout the beginning of the book Chief Curry explains the tension that was around Dallas at the time and the divide the city was having when it came to politics. The shooting of General Edwin Walker on April, 10th 1963 was brought up in the beginning pages of the book, and the Chief points the finger to Oswald as the shooter, although this realization comes a month after the assassination of President Kennedy. The shooting of General Walker and the treatment of Ambassador Adlai Stevenson just a month before the Presidential visit prompted Chief Curry to use an unprecedented amount of the police force for the visit of President Kennedy.
In chapter two of his book, Chief Curry squarely puts the blame of the protection of the President on the Secret Service. As he mentions, “The Secret Service was entirely in charge of arranging the route and the press announcement was to be made by the host committee comprised of leading Dallas citizens”. Not known to Chief Curry at this time, one of the leading men on that committee would be the head of the Acme Building Maintenance Company Frank C. Jones, and it was his company that had access to the TSBD the night before the assassination. To Chief Curry, the Secret Service did not do enough prep work for the motorcade route and that areas of the route were not looked at closely. Instead, the area in which the President would be giving his speech, would be heavily guarded by Dallas Policemen. The Police Chief states, “The Secret Service were much more concerned about the security problems of the Trade Mart than any other single element of the President’s stay in Dallas”. Again, the Police Chief refuses to put any of the blame of the assassination onto his police force, and puts the entire blame onto the Secret Service. Many times in the book, Police Chief Curry highlights the things that the Secret Service did wrong, and we know that they did. But at the same time, he highlights things that his department did right. It is hard to think that anything went right during this trip with a President headed back in a casket. It should be noted that Police Chief Curry was aboard Air Force One while Lyndon Johnson was taking the oath of office. Instead of getting to the scene of the crime, he was instead trying to be a part of history that he didn’t need to be at.
Another aspect of the book that is intriguing, is the treatment of Oswald within police custody and the security that was in place for the accused assassin. According to Chief Curry the Dallas police department tried very hard not to let the suspect feel harassed in any way, and he says, “We were trying to be very certain that Oswald was not being coerced or harassed in any way”. Considering that it was the department that allowed the media to see the suspect inside of police headquarters shows that Chief Curry wanted to show that it was his department that captured the assassin of the President of the United States. In the interrogation of Oswald, Curry felt that the government agencies interfered too much and that his men could have gotten Oswald to talk more. As mentioned in the book, “Because of the constant pressure from other investigative agencies, Captain Fritz was never allowed to carry out an orderly private interview with Lee Harvey Oswald”. With the years of experience that Captain Fritz had, Curry believed that information could have come out with just a one on one talk. Again, the Police Chief puts the fault at the hands of the government and does not include any wrong doing that his department had in this process. Although Chief Curry states in his book that the interrogation process was corrupt, his Warren Commission statement seems to show otherwise,
It’s fair to say, then, that the interrogation of Oswald with respect to either the death of Tippit or of President Kennedy was in accordance with the normal procedures of the department ?
It would appear that Chief Curry thought the interrogation of Oswald was within standard procedure, but 6 years later he changed his mind.
The protection of Lee Oswald was something that did fall squarely into the hands of the Dallas Police Department and Police Chief Curry. The transfer of Oswald from Police Headquarters to the County Jail is something that will be looked at for a long time. How could the prime suspect in the murder of the President of the United States be killed while being transferred? The protection of Oswald has been questioned for years and Curry points out many times that he wanted to give Oswald space and rest so that he would be more willing to talk. During the planning process for the transfer it was determined that an armored truck would be taking Oswald to the county jail and that the media would be able to film the transfer. In actuality the armored truck was going to be used as a decoy and Oswald would be in a squad car. It would appear in the reading that the scope of the moment in history may have gotten to Curry because he felt the need to showcase this suspect. Not having been in a situation like this, and feeling the pressure of the national media, Curry decided to let the media into the basement for the transfer of Oswald. In true form as to the rest of this book, Curry states that his department is fully prepared for this event and says, “The security plans for the basement were entirely adequate”. History would prove otherwise to this statement, and Curry refuses to believe that his men let Ruby into the basement. If the security was well placed, then no one other than those from the national media would have been in that basement.
In the book, Curry states that the media was designated an area within the basement away from where Oswald was to be. An area that the media could set up and film the transfer without them seeing the police use the decoy vehicle. As Oswald came out from the elevator and headed into the basement, the media seemed to be right on top of him. This so-called designated area was so close to Oswald that each of them could reach out and touch him. It is Curry that states that he believed that the media made a mad rush to Oswald as he came out of the elevator and this enabled Ruby to get as close as he did within the commotion, he states, “In the enthusiasm of the moment, newsmen spilled across the drive toward the police elevator”. In all of the television broadcasts, it is apparent that all of them were able to set up their cameras in the locations that they were filming from and that they did not move. In the coverage from NBC, the camera is stationary and did not move. This book is a good informative inside look at the details that surrounded the security plans for the President’s visit to Dallas and the aftermath. The details in this book come from a Police Chief that believed his police force did everything they could to protect the President of the United States, and when it did not, he put the blame on others involved. Although the Secret Service was in charge of protecting the President, it was Curry’s police department that was in charge of protecting the truth and it failed when Oswald was killed inside of police headquarters. I recommend this book to those that have followed the assassination so that they can get a look from the view of Jesse Curry.