Thursday, April 3, 2014



Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Senator John F. Kennedy, during his campaign for the Presidency in 1960, said that America should be "first, not if or when, but first period."

Fifty one years ago today, April 3, 1963, President Kennedy was asked at his afternoon televised news conference if the United States would be first in space and "beat the Russians to the moon".

JFK answered by reminding the reporters that the US would not get...

 "our new boosters until 1964, 1965 and 1966" and that "we'll have to wait and see".

The President did express optimism, however, that his goals in space could be accomplished:

"We are behind now and we will continue to be behind, but if we make a major effort, we have a chance, I believe, to be ahead at the end of this decade and that is where I think we ought to be."


Birmingham, Alabama (JFK+50) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement began 51 years ago today, April 3, 1963, a campaign to desegregate business and public facilities in here in Birmingham.

Dr. King called Birmingham "the most segregated city in the United States".


Memphis, Tennessee (JFK+50) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking at the Mason Temple here in Memphis 46 years ago tonight, April 3, 1968, told his audience: 

"It really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountain top..."

Dr. King was in Memphis to support the city's sanitation workers who were on strike because of low pay and poor working conditions.  

The theme of the strike, printed on their posters, was... "I AM A MAN".

Dr. King began his speech by saying that if God had asked him what time period he would like to live in, he would have said:

"If you allow me to live just a few years in the 2nd half of the 20th Century, I will be happy."

Dr. King went on to describe his answer to God's question as "strange" because:

"the world is all messed up.  The nation is sick.  Trouble is in the land...but...only when it is dark enough can you see the stars."

He would choose this era to live because...

 "the masses are rising up around the world and the cry is always the same: 'We want to be free'".

Dr. King concluded his emotional and moving speech with these words:

"I don't know what will happen now.  We've got difficult days ahead.  But it really doesn't matter with me now because I've been to the mountaintop and I've looked over. And I have seen the Promised Land."

"I may not get there with you.   But....we, as a people, will get to the promised land."*

*Dr. King's "Mountaintop speech" is rated in the top 100 speeches of all time by "American Rhetoric".  Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot & killed the following afternoon in Memphis.