Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon, schoolchildren, and special guests today at the Harold Washington Library Center to observe the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The event celebrated the life and legacy of President Kennedy, as well as his and the Kennedy family’s long standing connection to Chicago.
“President Kennedy challenged all Americans to answer the call of public service, inspiring generations of Americans to serve others and work for the greater good of their fellow humans," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Today, as we observe the fiftieth anniversary of his tragic death, we remember his life and legacy and the profound impact he had on our nation and our city."
As part of the program, author Ilene Cooper spoke about the Kennedys’ decades-long ties to Chicago, beginning in 1945 when the Kennedy patriarch and President’s father Joseph Sr. purchased the Merchandise Mart, which soon became a trade show mecca known across the country. From that time on, the Kennedy family has played a prominent role in Chicago. Several Kennedy family members have made the Chicago area their home and still play a major role in the operation of the Merchandise Mart.
Jazz musician Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band paid homage to President Kennedy’s love for cultural arts and jazz music. In 1962, the President and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy hosted the first White House jazz concert, starting a tradition that still exists today. The concert featured music selected from that first jazz concert in 1962, along with selections from subsequent White House concerts.
The Chicago Public Library encourages lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. For more information, visit chicagopubliclibrary.org or call the Chicago Public Library at 312.747.4050.
Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel delivers remarks honoring the life and legacy of President Kennedy at the 50th anniversary of his passing.
Photo Credit: Brooke Collins // City of Chicago