Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Just back from a goodwill trip to Costa Rica, President John F. Kennedy held his 52nd news conference fifty-one years ago today, March 21, 1963.
In his introductory statement, President Kennedy said...
"For the first time a President of the United States (has) journeyed to Central America and conferred with all of the leaders of this vital area which (is) as closely allied with the United States as any area in the world."
"This is the fourth Latin American country which I have visited. Here, as in all the others, we found an....outpouring of....affection for the United States."
The President responded...
"They...recognize that one of the most effective ways to meet conditions in their own countries (is) to make sure that Communism doesn't get a grip because of the failure of the economies.
In one of the countries that we visited, 400 out of 1000 children do not attend any school.
We cannot expect stable, democratic societies to develop in an atmosphere where half of the population is illiterate."
Later in the conference, a reporter was in the process of asking a question...
"Mr. President. Senator Case has proposed that a watchdog committee be created to look into these....."
When the reported hesitated in mid-sentence, JFK interrupted and asked...
"To watch the Congressmen and Senators?
Well, that will be fine if they feel they should be watched."
"Kennedy and the Press: The News Conferences," Edited and annotated by Harold W. Chase and Allen H. Lerman, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York, 1965.
CIVIL RIGHTS MARCH BEGAN IN SELMA 49 YEARS AGO
Selma, Alabama (JFK+50) Supported by United States Army troops and a federalized Alabama National Guard, 3200 protesters, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began a march 49 years ago today, March 21, 1965, from here in Selma.
The destination of the march was the Alabama state capital in Montgomery where the marchers would petition for African-American voting rights.
Selma was selected by civil rights activists as the place to begin the march because of the city's resistance to registering black voters and the fact that only 2% of the city's black residents were registered to vote.
The marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and headed down Highway 80.