DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kennedy and King Coming to Newseum in 2013

President Kennedy, Caroline, and Jackie relaxing
As a sort of early holiday present, the Newseum annually holds a special showing in December of artifacts to be included in the upcoming year's exhibitions for its members.  This year, members got an early look at some of the items that will be included in 2 main exhibitions in 2013, one on President John F. Kennedy and one on key events of the Civil Rights Movement in 1963.

Actually, the Kennedy exhibition will consist of 3 separate productions. One, called Creating Camelot, will feature intimate photos, some of which have never been seen in public before, to capture that unique feeling of the Kennedy presidency. The second, entitled Three Shots Were Fired, will detail that tragic Nov. 22, 1963 day in Dallas when President Kennedy was assassinated. The 3rd, A Thousand Days, will be a Newseum-produced film shown on a 100-foot-wide video screen. It will use original footage and interviews to examine Kennedy's presidency and family life in the White House.
President Kennedy with some of the younger members of his clan
While curators discussed all the items, members were able to examine 3 large tables of artifacts including photos, news accounts, and journalistic tools which will appear as part of the President Kennedy story. One of the most sobering items for anyone alive during those days were the hat, drum, and drumsticks that a military drummer used as part of the sad funeral processional down Pennsylvania Avenue, the same street where the Newseum is located today.
Sign of those times

Notebooks from Civil Rights reporters
Also planned for next year, is a major exhibit on key events in the Civil Rights Movement during 1963. Items for that and a special exhibit on the 1964 Freedom Summer (that time on which the movie Mississippi Burning was based) which is scheduled for 2014.

Much of next year's exhibition will detail conditions African-Americans had been facing earlier and were continuing to face in the early 1960s. Again, as is always the case, the items on early view also had journalistic importance. Displayed items included the Frank Leslie illustrated magazine story about the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision and part of a series of 11 articles noted black journalist Carl Rowan wrote about the separate but unequal education in the South just prior to the Brown vs. Board Supreme Court decision.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
Of all the items on display, I found an actual Aug. 11, 1761 ad from a Maryland paper placed by George Washington to be the most intriguing. The ad promised a 40-shilling reward for 4 slaves - Peros (35/40), Jack (30), Neptune (23/36) and Cupid (23/26) - who had escaped from Washington's Mount Vernon estate. The ad said that 2 of the escaped slaves spoke English poorly, but 2 spoke the language well. The ad closed with these words: "If they should be taken f(s)eparately, the Reward will be proportioned."

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