20 Nov 2013

Dallas reacts to the JFK assassination – ITN archive (1963)

In the days following the assassination of President John F Kennedy on the 22 November, Dallas became the unwelcome focus of world attention, writes Ian Searcey.

Many of its citizens felt moved to distance themselves from any sort of collective blame for an event that “could have happened anywhere”, according to many locals.

Kennedy saw Texas and Florida as vital battlegrounds for his re-election in 1964 and his visit had been intended, in part, to unite factions within the Democratic party that had threatened to split the vote.

Despite concern that JFK was unpopular in Texas, large and enthusiastic crowds had lined the Dallas streets to cheer the presidential motorcade. Following the shooting, there was no doubt local people had been deeply shocked by the events in Dealey Plaza.

Had Dallas ever been a hotbed of extremists hostile to the president? Sandy Gall was sent to find out.