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March 01 , 2009

JFK in Nashville


President John F. Kennedy’s May 1963 visit to Nashville bears eerie similarities to his fateful trip to Dallas later that year. He spoke at Vanderbilt University to celebrate its 90th anniversary and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s 30th anniversary. Nashville greeted the young president with grand enthusiasm, a warmth he returned by breaking from his security team repeatedly to shake hands with strangers. The Tennessean published Kennedy’s itinerary and parade route, among many other details of the occasion. Six months later, he was killed by a sniper in Dallas, who fired into his open car after the motorcade route was published. In hindsight, Kennedy’s peers say the shooting could just as easily have happened in Nashville. But the city was innocent of such worries at the time. This book includes The Tennessean’s contemporary coverage of JFK’s visits – in 1963 and earlier – exclusive photos and editorial cartoons, and recollections of the jubilant days when Camelot came to Nashville.

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