Birth Dates – Assassination Dates.
John F. Kennedy May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963
Malcolm X May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965
Martin Luther King, Jr. January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968
Robert F. Kennedy November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968
John F. Kennedy
After military service during World War II in the South Pacific, John F. Kennedy served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953, then in the U.S. Senate from 1953 until 1960, when he was the youngest person to be elected President. Events during his presidency included the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and early stages of the Vietnam War.
In his inaugural address, he famously said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." In one of his first presidential acts, Kennedy asked Congress to create the Peace Corps
The prior Eisenhower administration, led by the CIA, planned to overthrow the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba. The plan was for a counter-revolutionary insurgency composed of U.S.-trained anti-Castro Cuban exiles, led by CIA paramilitary officers, to instigate an uprising among the Cuban people. On April 17, 1961, Kennedy ordered what became known as the "Bay of Pigs Invasion." Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, designed the invasion and later stated he thought the president would authorize any action required for success once the troops were on the ground. But Kennedy refused to authorize U.S. air support and 1,189 survivors were captured. Kennedy fired Allen Dulles for lying to him and said he was going "to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind." After twenty months Cuba released the captured exiles in exchange for $53 million with of food and medicine.
On October 14, 1962, CIA U-2 spy planes took photographs of intermediate-range ballistic missile sites, offensive in nature, being built in Cuba by the Soviets. More than a third of the members of the National Security Council (NSC) favored an unannounced air assault on the missile sites, but Kennedy decided on a naval quarantine. On October 28 Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the missile sites, subject to UN inspections and the U.S. publicly promised never to invade Cuba and privately agreed to remove its missiles in Turkey. This crisis brought the world closer to nuclear war than at any point before or since and in the end, "the humanity" of these two leaders prevailed
In a September 1963 speech before the United Nations, Kennedy urged cooperation between the Soviets and Americans in space, specifically recommending that Apollo be switched to "a joint expedition to the moon." Khrushchev declined, and Kennedy said, "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills." Six years after Kennedy's death, Apollo 11 landed the first manned spacecraft on the Moon.
On June 10, 1963, Kennedy delivered the commencement address at American University in Washington, D.C., "to discuss a topic on which too often ignorance abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived—yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace ... I speak of peace because of the new face of war...in an age when a singular nuclear weapon contains ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied forces in the Second World War ... an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and air and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn ... I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men ... world peace … does not require that each man love his neighbor—it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance ... our problems are man-made—therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants." The president also made two announcements—that the Soviets had expressed a desire to negotiate a nuclear test ban treaty and that the U.S had postponed planned atomic atmospheric tests.
In Southeast Asia, Kennedy initially followed Eisenhower's lead, using limited military action to fight the communist forces led by Ho Chi Min. Then he announced a change of policy from support to partnership with Diem to defeat of communism in South Vietnam. but the South Vietnamese military was only marginally effective against pro-communist Viet Cong forces. In April 1963, Kennedy said, "We don't have a prayer of staying in Vietnam. Those people hate us. They are going to throw our asses out of there at any point. But I can't give up that territory to the communists and get the American people to re-elect me." At Kennedy's insistence, a mission report contained a recommended schedule for troop withdrawals of 1,000 by year's end and complete withdrawal in 1965, something the NSC considered a strategic fantasy.
On November 1, 1963, South Vietnamese generals, led by "Big Minh," overthrew the Diem government, arresting and then killing Diem and Nhu. Kennedy was shocked by the deaths. Historians disagree on whether Vietnam would have escalated had Kennedy survived and been re-elected in 1964. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, in the film The Fog of War, said that Kennedy was strongly considering pulling out of Vietnam after the 1964 election. Four days after Kennedy's assassination, President Johnson reversed Kennedy's decision to withdraw 1,000 troops and eventually raised the number ofAmerican troops to over 500,000.
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. The FBI and the Warren Commission officially concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin, but the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that those investigations were flawed and that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy. A 2004 Fox News poll found that 66% of Americans thought there had been a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, while 74% thought there had been a cover-up.
Adlai Stevenson said of the assassination: "all of us..... will bear the grief of his death until the day of ours."
This biography was taken largely from Wikipedia, with additional material from the Project Unspeakable script and various other internet sources. - Douglas Wilson
Born in 1925, Malcolm Little was 21 when he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for burglary. While in prison he converted to the Nation of Islam (NOI). Elijah Muhammad, the leader of NOI, taught that white society actively worked to keep African-Americans from empowering themselves and achieving political, economic and social success. Malcolm chose the "X" to signify his lost tribal name. Intelligent and articulate, Malcolm soon became the national spokesman for the Nation of Islam. His charisma, drive, and conviction increased membership from 500 in 1952, when he was released from prison, to 30,000 in 1963.
On February 14, 1965 the home where Malcolm, Betty and their four daughters lived was firebombed and one week later the 39-year-old was shot 15 times at close range by three gunmen. There remains considerable controversy about the involvement of the FBI and the CIA in Malcolm's assassination, though three men who were members of the Nation of Islam were convicted..
Malcolm X said, "Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience and became a national icon in the history of American Progressivism.
In 1955 Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man and the Montgomery Bus Boycott began, lasting for 385 days. Though he was only 26, King became the best-known spokesman of the civil rights movement. His house was bombed, he was arrested, and on 1957 he helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), serving as its president until his death.
Mahatma Gandhi had been influenced by The Kingdom of God Is Within You, a nonviolent classic written by Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy, Gandhi, and King were all influenced by Thoreau's essay On Civil Disobedience and by Jesus' teachings on non-resistance to evil, loving your neighbor as yourself, loving God above all, loving your enemies, praying for them, blessing them, turn the other cheek, the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus' teaching of "putting your sword back into its place" (Matthew 26:52).
In 1959 King went to India. "Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity." In his later career, King used the concept of "agape" (Christian brotherly love). King believed that organized, nonviolent protest against the system of southern segregation known as Jim Crow laws would lead to extensive media coverage of the struggle for black equality and voting rights. King and the SCLC put into practice many of the principles of the Christian Left and applied the tactics of nonviolent protest with great success by strategically choosing the method of protest and the places in which protests were carried out. Throughout his participation in the civil rights movement, King was criticized by many groups, from the FBI to militant Black leaders.
In April 1963, the SCLC began a campaign against racial segregation and economic injustice in Birmingham, Alabama. The Birmingham Police Department, led by Eugene "Bull" Connor, used high-pressure water jets and police dogs against protesters, including children. Broadcast on national television, the campaign was a success and King's reputation improved immensely. From his cell, he wrote "Letter from Birmingham Jail" where he urges action consistent with what he describes as Jesus' "extremist" love, and also quotes numerous other Christian pacifist authors.
He helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, establishing his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history. He also established his reputation as a radical, and became an object of the FBI's COINTELPRO for the rest of his life.
In 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.
King later delivered a speech that became known as "How Long, Not Long," in which he stated that equal rights for African Americans could not be far away, "because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
In an April 4, 1967 appearance at the New York City Riverside Church—exactly one year before his death—King spoke strongly against the U.S.'s role in the Viet Nam war, calling the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." King's opposition cost him significant support among white allies. "The press is being stacked against me," King said, but he continued to speak of the need for fundamental changes in the political and economic life of the nation, expressing his opposition to the war and his desire to see a redistribution of resources to correct racial and economic injustice. King cited systematic flaws of "racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism," and argued that "reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced."
Well before he was murdered, King requested that at his funeral no mention of his awards and honors be made, but that it be said that he tried to "feed the hungry," "clothe the naked," "be right on the [Vietnam] war question," and "love and serve humanity." In his speech I've Been to the Mountaintop, he states he just wanted to do God's will.
In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include poverty and the Vietnam War. King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., called the Poor People's Campaign when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. His death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. According to the Church Committee, a 1975 investigation by the U.S. Congress, "From December 1963 until his death in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the target of an intensive campaign by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to 'neutralize' him as an effective civil rights leader." J. Edger Hoover said that King was "the most notorious liar in the country."
In 1997, King's son Dexter Scott King met with James Earl Ray, and said he did not believe Ray killed his father. Two years later, in a civil suit, Coretta Scott King, King's widow, and her family along with the rest of King's family, won a wrongful death claim against Loyd Jowers and "other unknown co-conspirators". The jury of six whites and six blacks found Jowers guilty and that government agencies were complicit in a conspiracy against King and were party to the assassination. Jesse Jackson said, "I will never believe that James Earl Ray had the motive, the money and the mobility to have done it himself. Our government was very involved.
In 1977, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to King by President Jimmy Carter. The citation read: "Martin Luther King, Jr. was the conscience of his generation. He gazed upon the great wall of segregation and saw that the power of love could bring it down.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986 and King was second in Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.
This biography was taken largely from Wikipedia, with additional material from the Project Unspeakable script and various other internet sources. - Douglas Wilson
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis Kennedy, 1925 – 1968, was the campaign manager for his brother Jack when he ran for the Senate in 1952 and for President in the 1960 election. He was the U.S. Attorney General from 1961 to 1964 and the Senator for New York from 1965 until his assassination in 1968. He was the closest adviser to JFK in the White House, where his tenure is best known for its advocacy for the African American Civil Rights Movement, crusader against organized crime and the mafia, and diplomacy during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
As the Attorney General in 1962, he was asked, "What do you see as the big problem ahead for you, is it Crime or Internal Security?" Robert Kennedy replied, "Civil Rights." He expressed the opinion that operatives linked to the CIA were among the most reckless individuals to be operating during the period.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis John and Robert Kennedy were both shocked at the willingness of many of the Joint Chief's of Staff for their desire to strike first against the Soviet Union, believing the casualties in the United States could be limited to "only" ten, twenty, or thirty million people. Robert is seen today as having had a vital role in securing a blockade instead of a military strike, which averted a full military engagement between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The assassination his brother was a brutal shock to the world, the nation and, of course, for Robert and the rest of the Kennedy family. Bobby was absolutely devastated, and was described by many as being a completely different man after his brother's death.
Nine months later, Robert Kennedy left the Cabinet to run for a seat in the US Senate, representing New York. In 1966 he went on a tour of South Africa, where he championed the cause of the anti-apartheid movement." Senator Kennedy did not strongly advocate withdrawal from Vietnam until 1967, within a week of Martin Luther King taking the same public stand. J. Edgar Hoover's closest Deputy Clyde Tolson is reported to have said, "I hope that someone shoots and kills the son of a bitch." On April 4, 1968, Kennedy learned of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and gave a heartfelt impromptu speech in Indianapolis's inner city, in which Kennedy called for a reconciliation between the races. Riots broke out in 60 cities, but not in Indianapolis.
In 1968, Kennedy campaigned for the presidency on a platform of racial and economic justice, non-aggression in foreign policy, decentralization of power, and social improvement. He appealed particularly to black, Hispanic, and Catholic voters, saying, "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope ..." He stated, "I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I'm obliged to do all I can." He spoke forcefully in favor of what he called the "disaffected", the impoverished, and "the excluded," thereby aligning himself with leaders of the civil rights struggle and social justice campaigners.
Kennedy scored a major victory in winning the California primary and was on his way to winning the nomination. Shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, after Kennedy defeated Senator Eugene McCarthy in the California presidential primary, he was shot and killed by a bullet that was fired within a few inches of his head, but Sirhan Sirhan never got closer than a few feet. There are many other problems with the murder that indicate the involvement of the national security state.
At his funeral, his brother Senator Ted Kennedy said, "Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."