On June 11, 1963 hatred and abhorrence broke out towards a group of African American students at the University of Alabama. The students experienced these hate crimes on account of being African Americans who attended a once all white school. This was such a terrifying event, putting many in fear, that President John. F. Kennedy called the Alabama National Guardsmen to disintegrate the fighting. After everything had settled JFK was prepared to address his country. This has gone down in history as one of the greatest Civil Rights speeches. Throughout the speech, he explained the harms that the African American students were faced with the prejudices of the white American citizens. Racism and prejudice were the nation’s greatest dilemmas around this time. President Kennedy was devoted to making his nation and his people come together as one. John F. Kennedy is still seen as one of the nation’s greatest presidents for his care, awareness, and hard work to stop this petrifying hatred.
Prior to this civil rights speech, Kennedy showed his care and protectiveness towards all of the citizens by enforcing and promoting new integration laws. During this time there were many segregation laws separating the blacks and the whites; JFK opposed and challenged all of these. He combined everything that was possible; from something as immense as educational institutions and jobs to something as slight as drinking fountains and buses. His open-minded demeanor bestowed upon him the ability to accept all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, or religion. Within the speech, President Kennedy stated, “[the nation] was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened” (Kennedy). He was explained that no matter what your description is, you deserve the right to be treated just as any one else.
Kennedy was very educated about different races and what they become. A rather large part of his speech was talking about the statistics of success in life between the two different races. He compared the average African American baby throughout life with the average white baby throughout life. He exclaimed that no matter where the person is born an African American baby will not succeed as much as a white baby; such as an African American baby will complete high school at a rate of one-half less than a white baby, one-third as much chance of graduating college and getting a degree required job and being unemployed two times as much. He also stated that an African American person has a life expectancy that is 7 years shorter than a white American.
JFK worked hard to complete and preserve civil order in the United States. He did plenty of research to understand both sides of the racist debate. He knew exactly how to approach the U.S. to help them understand his findings. As seen in the figure above, President Kennedy had a strong and sturdy but calm approach to his ideas. He simply says, “I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents” (Kennedy). By stating this, he is calmly asking if one would respect another opposed to taking harsh and extreme measures. As demonstrated throughout his civil rights speech, President John F. Kennedy proved himself to be not only caring and knowledgeable but also determined.
Kennedy, John Fitzgerald. "Civil Rights Address." American Rhetoric. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2010.
"John F. Kennedy." Editorial. The White House. USA.gov, n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2010.