"CHICAGO, MY KIND OF TOWN," JFK VISITS 50 YEARS AGO TODAY
Chicago, Illinois* (JFK+50) On March 23, 1963, 50 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy paid a visit to the city whose votes had been critical in his winning of the state of Illinois in the 1960 election.
Balaban & Katz Theater
Photo by Victorgrigas (2012)
His day began at the dedication of O'Hare International Airport in an event attended by Mayor Richard J. Daley**, Governor Otto Kerner, Jr.*** & other dignitaries.
The President said that he was proud to take part in the dedication in honor of Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare who had distinguished himself in winning the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in WWII.
"This is an extraordinary airport in an extraordinary city, in an extraordinary country, & it is a tribute to the constructive action of the Federal Government, the State government, & the city government, under the distinguished leadership of your great mayor, Mayor Daley."
At Noon, the President spoke at a civic luncheon in the Conrad Hilton Hotel.
"I am struck every time I come (here) by the strong public spirit...(&) determination to make Chicago 2nd to none & everything about Chicago to be the best that men & women working together can provide."
The President went on to point out, however, the #1 domestic problem in the United States in the 1960s, "the question of jobs...for a tidal wave of men & women who are going to be hitting our labor market in the next 5 years."
He admitted that "every effort must be made...to strengthen the economy so that we can find work for the people who want it."
JFK spoke about the "growing tide of manpower" caused by the postwar baby boom sweeping through American schools & which was about to engulf the labor force.
He said, "In the 1960s, 26 million new young workers will enter the labor market, an increase of 40% over the 1950s."
With that increase, the President pointed out the jobless rate would be highest among the unskilled & just 1 out of 10 would complete college.
JFK also discussed the problems brought on by automation. The President did add a note of humor in this regard, by saying...
"You have seen your steel mills employ 79 men to produce the...products which required 100 men only 10 years ago. Chicago, I might add...also proves the exception to this pattern since it now takes 10 men to manage the Cubs instead of 1."
*Chicago, Illinois is the 3rd largest city in the US with 2.7 million people. It is an international hub of finance, commerce, industry, telecommunication & transportation. O'Hare International is the 2nd busiest airport in the world.
**Richard J. Daley (1902-1976) was mayor of Chicago from 1955 to 1976. He was born in Chicago to a Irish Catholic family which had come from County Waterford, Ireland. Mr. Daley earned his law degree from DePaul University in 1934. His son served as mayor from 1989 to 2011.
***Otto Kerner, Jr. (1908-1976) was governor of Illinois from 1961 to 1968. He is best known as the chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Civil Disorders, aka the Kerner Commission. He was a graduate of Brown University, Trinity College at Cambridge, England & Northwestern University School of Law.
Roy Wilkins, Governor Kerner & LBJ
White House Cabinet Room
Photo by Yoichi Okamoto (1967)
LBJ Library Image
You Tube Video