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JFK 50 - In This Critical Time

In This Critical Time — A Radio Series for the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s Presidency

John F. Kennedy

Celebrating fifty years since John F Kennedy’s presidency, JFK 50 explores the politics and policies that shaped the early 1960s. As JFK confronted the building crisis of the Cold War, racial segregation, a recession, and escalating conflict in Southeast Asia, he quickened the heart and mind of the American people, and he inspired new opportunities for justice and peace.

In an attempt to recapture the exceptional qualities of JFK’s presidency, these two-minute documentaries feature clips of his speeches, telephone conversations and recorded interviews. Kennedy spent 1036 days in office, and in that short time he grappled with all of the major issues that defined the decade to come. He was a moderate president by most standards, but idealistic and staunchly anti-Communist. In death he became an icon, and in life he coolly confronted some of the most challenging issues of the last century. Cynics have often said that JFK was popular for his personality not his programs, and certainly Kennedy’s style was special—his wit, good looks and charm. But the significance of his speeches and interactions with the press lay less in the brilliance of his rhetoric than in the principles and policies he conveyed.

Featuring twenty-six episodes, this series focuses on the different policies and decisions that JFK made as president. The information in these episodes is taken from the writings of Ted Sorenson, Arthur Schlesinger, Richard Reeves, Robert Dellek, B. Gregory Marfleet, John Modell, Timothy Haggerty, Terry Golway and Les Krantz and also audio files, memos and transcripts that can be found here at JFKlibrary.org. For more information about the fiftieth anniversary of John F Kennedy’s presidency, visit JFK50.org.

1 - Robert Frost's Dedication Click Here To Listen
2 - Live on TV - first televised press conference Click Here To Listen
3 - Chimp in space Click Here To Listen
4 - Peace Corps Click Here To Listen
5 - Latin America - Pan-American Alliance for Progress Click Here To Listen
6 - To The Moon Click Here To Listen
7 - Mao Tse-Tung on Warfare - Kennedy commissions the first SEALs team Click Here To Listen
8 - Bay of Pigs Click Here To Listen
9 - Freedom Riders Click Here To Listen
10 - Cape Cod Nature Preserve - National Parks Click Here To Listen
11 - Stemming the Outflow of Gold from the US Treasury Click Here To Listen
12 - Services for the Elderly - Medicare and Social Security reform Click Here To Listen
13 - Raising the Minimum Wage Click Here To Listen
14 - James Meredith at Ol' Miss Click Here To Listen
15 - What's Sammy Davis Jr. Doing Here? - Civil Rights dinner in the White House Click Here To Listen
16 - Cuban Missile Crisis Click Here To Listen
17 - McAndrews Dies in Vietnam Click Here To Listen
18 - Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Click Here To Listen
19 - Commission on Equal Rights for Women - Eleanor Roosevelt interview Click Here To Listen
20 - Frost Visits Russia - US relations with Russia Click Here To Listen
21 - Tax Cuts - bringing the economy out of recession Click Here To Listen
22 - Mental Illness and Disability Awareness Click Here To Listen
23 - Berlin Wall - the speech abandoned on the highway Click Here To Listen
24 - Washington Nuclear Power Plant Click Here To Listen
25 - Alabama School Integration Click Here To Listen
26 - Civil Rights Bill Click Here To Listen

This series is produced by WUMB Radio in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Boston and the JFK library in Dorchester.

Voiced by Jacob Sommer

Written by Caleb Nelson

Recorded and Produced by Caleb Nelson and Dave Palmater

Project Advisors: Dr. Carole Center, Tom Putnam, and Dale Spear

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