Do You Know Jack: JFK and the Peace Corps – Read More and Listen to JFK



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  • I first met
    the then Senator John (Jack) Fitzgerald Kennedy in early summer 1960 in Cambridge, Massachusetts (when he was seeking the Democrat Party nomination for U.S. President) at WGBH-TV on the M.I.T. campus (where it was then housed) when I was an Lowell Council for Cooperative Broadcasting intern and graduate student at Boston University Graduate School for Public Relations and Communications (as it was then named)
    when he was interviewed by Louis Lyons (curator, Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism) on the twice-weekly New England News quarter-hour news and interviews where Lyons was the host and I was the technical director.
    I was 23, up from graduate study in government at the then-named North Texas State College in Denton.

    The next time
    Jack Kennedy came to WGBH-TV was in the autumn after he’d been selected as the Democrat Party candidate for President.

    The third time
    I met him was in the White House late August the next year first in the Rose Garden following which for individual photographs in the Oval Office. I was in the Ghana group that flew out after that from Washington, D.C. afternoon in a two-engine Convair (with stops in the Azores for refueling and in Dakar, Senegal for supplies) to Accra, Ghana where we were to teach in secondary schools and I was assigned to a new one outside Acherensua a village in the Brong-Ahafo state (part of the old Kumasi kingdom) in the rain forest near the eastern border with the Ivory Coast.

    I saw him next in Dallas two blocks before he was shot riding with the First Lady his wife on Elm Street.

  • Edward,

    DId you recognize yourself in any of the footage at the White House where JFK was sending you all off?

    • Joanne,

      I think so.

      At the airport in a group shot or two, me with a tie flapping.

      Many white guys are so similar from this far distance of years with variations in size, hair color, teeth, shape that identification is sometimes semi-evident.

      I have seen some photos at the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum at Columbia Point in Boston after a Ghana One reunion ago Summer 2001 at Newell Flather’s family home in Gloucester north of Boston. Even after all these years then our small group recognized most.

      Richard and I two weeks ago were at the California Historical Society’s “Beat” exhibition of photos and since we were were around that time noticed many of the identifications were flat-out wrong for several persons.

      The group photos in the Rose Garden in 1961 can be harder to separate-out individuals, but still possible.

      Even in the case of WGBH-TV in the 50’s and 60’s where the Louis M. Lyons Foundation was founded in 2005 to preserve Lyons’ TV and radio broadcasts for WGBH Boston, when I inquired about two 15-minute programs I worked on (I was 23) as Lyons’ twice-weekly New England News broadcasts as technical director with Senator Kennedy seeking the Democrat Party nod as his party’s candidate 1960 summer and again in the autumn with Kennedy as his party’s choice: BUT WHEN I INQUIRED OF THE Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard where Louis M. Lyons was curator (or boss) for 25 years I was told they couldn’t find either one.

      • Marian Haley Beil is very much aware of the interview and we tried to find a copy of it a few years ago. The Nieman Foundation could not find it, then. JFK Library does not have it, as far as I know.

  • Dear Joanne,

    Yes, I remember but still hope they will turn up from (after serious looking this time when perhaps staff will be added to devote resources to research) either the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard or/ and from the Louis Lyons/ WGBH Foundation only established in 2005 (says Wikipedia).

    You really don’t think they could have “lost” the two 1960 programs by mistake do you? And might there be a “why”?

    I can still see them, Louis Lyons and Jack Kennedy, from on the other side of the small glassed-in control room looking out into the slightly larger one where Lyons would interview and report.

    WGBH was a small station in a two-story brick building that I’d heard had formerly housed a roller rink. Next to it was the Kresge auditorium and the famed chapel where we did big interviews such as the one I floor-managed with Aldous Huxley as the guest. He was nice as nice to me and spoke so vituperative of Richard Nixon. Over one building was the Charles River and the Massuchetts Avenue bridge to Boston from Cambridge. WGBH is no longer in Cambridge, but moved years ago to the Boston and Boston University side of the Charles.

    I hope nobody ultimately will accept the CANT of the answer “can’t find them” and we’ll learn more. I will keep nudging.
    Maybe Richard Lyons the son might have kept them aside for special caring reasons.

    Edward Mycue to Joanne Roll 27/May/2017 Saturday 11:20AM San Francisco

    • About memories, let me add that steam is what you want memories to be instead of being such a mixed-bag of hips and magnets and dead cats just as a piece of ice is about melting, about lost strength, white steam and a brief memory of hurry. Time’s rough fingers will print us out maybe before the whole system goes piano.

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