Following the forced desegregation of the University of Alabama, Kennedy called for nationwide participation in addressing the “moral crisis” and guaranteeing that America is a “land of the free” for all citizens.
“The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he can not send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would be content with the counsels of patience and delay?” –John F. Kennedy in a televised address, June 11, 1963
“JFK” premieres Nov. 11 & 12 on PBS.