Historical Headline – 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of John F. Kennedy November 22, 1963

50th Anniversary of Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Headline Kennedy Killed
Where were you fifty years ago this month when you first heard news of the assassination of President Kennedy? Many people learned of the Dallas shooting almost immediately via radio or television, or as news spread quickly by word of mouth. Newspapers rushed to press and we gripped each page in disbelief as stunning reports were printed. Newspapers published on that fateful day and the days that followed remind us now of how the nation reacted and mourned.

Today, half a century later, we can read those same newspapers, beginning with headline news of the assassination on November 22, 1963, and following with related events for days and weeks beyond. Through historic newspapers, we recall the grief that settled upon our nation and spread to the world.

Most afternoon editions carried major headlines in tall, bold letters on that tragic Friday, rivaling few historic headlines of the past. Entire front pages were devoted to the news and associated stories. As deadlines loomed, newspapers quickly pushed other stories aside to publish any news they could find room for in order to satisfy their readers. A photo of protests in Houston the previous day with “no incidents” remained on the first page of The Charleston Daily Mail next to breaking news of the assassination.

Kennedy Assasination HeadlineSome papers, like The Daily Messenger in Canandaigua, NY, and The Ludington Daily News in Michigan broke custom and printed bold headlines above their newspapers’ titles. Others, like the Lake Charles American-Press in Louisiana, completely rearranged its traditional front-page layout to fit in headlines and photos. Some headlines were short, yet filled half a page, while others were comprehensive. Some used abbreviations to bring all the details into one header, yet may have been too hasty by overlooking a spelling error.

Of course, it was the news stories accompanying the headlines that transfixed the nation and the world. These events need no retelling here. Read the newspapers of the day! Facts emerged quickly, succeeding events continued to dominate the headlines, and for days afterward it seemed as if the world’s news revolved around America’s grief.

The photos printed then remain in our memories today. On the day following the assassination, many newspapers carried the photo of a grim Lyndon Johnson as he was sworn in aboard the presidential plane, the young widow, Jacqueline Kennedy, by his side, her face registering shock and sadness.

John-John salutes at funeralOn the following Monday, images of the Kennedy’s funeral shared the page with the famous photo of Ruby shooting Oswald. However, the most poignant photo of that day was of John Kennedy, Jr., known as John-John, as he saluted his father’s casket. It was John’s third birthday. His sister, Caroline turned six, two days later.

Place the exact date—22 November 1963—into advanced search on Newspapers.com within the specific date field, then choose Search to find additional headlines. In the calendar on the left of the search results page, click on each date in succession to reveal the front pages of newspapers as they progress through the events that followed. The thumbnail images provide a microcosm of historic headlines surrounding the JFK assassination.

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21 thoughts on “Historical Headline – 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of John F. Kennedy November 22, 1963

  1. I will never forget that day and the entire weekend. I was 11 and in the 6th grade. I think it was a bigger shock for me than was 9/11. Everything seemed to have changed from that point on. It was such an unthinkable event. .

  2. I will never forget the days in November 1963. At 13 years of age all innocence and trust in people became guarded. How could this happen?

  3. I was 25 years old and living in CA. I had gone to the rec. center to play volleyball with friends. They announced it over the
    PA system. I left to go pick my husband up from work and flags were already at half staff. A very long and sad weekend and Thanksgiving.

  4. I remember on November 22, 2013, I was in my 2nd Grade classroom. Our teacher was called out of the classroom, then came back in and told the class. As young as I was I remember the funeral very well, the family and dignitaries walking behind the wagon, carrying President Kennedy, the clicking of the horses hoofs on the pavement, the sound of the drums and the Navy Hymn. To this day I still cry when I hear the Navy Hymn.

  5. I remember on November 22, 1963, I was in my 2nd Grade classroom. Our teacher was called out of the classroom, then came back in and told the class. As young as I was I remember the funeral very well, the family and dignitaries walking behind the wagon, carrying President Kennedy, the clicking of the horses hoofs on the pavement, the sound of the drums and the Navy Hymn. To this day I still cry when I hear the Navy Hymn.

  6. My Mother met me outside when I walked home from school that afternoon. I remember crying and praying he would be alright. My 12th birthday was his funeral, November 25th.

  7. 23 years old at the time and truly one of the very few dates in my lifetime that I can remember exactly where I was.
    Nothing very exciting, just at work, but thinking back a monumental tragedy that I will never forget.
    Our country lost on that day.

  8. I grew up in Dallas. I was in 8th grade Science when the principal made the announcement. He then kept the local news on the intercom.

    My Dad, JT Tolbert worked at United Press International in Dallas on that fateful day. When Merriman Smith, UPI White House Chief Correspondent, called and asked for the best man, my Dad was given the phone. He typed 160 words a minute with no errors on a manual typewriter. When he was on the teletype, his fingers flew. Smith was in the Press Pool car when he heard shots fired. He grabbed the phone first and called the Dallas office.

    My Dad sent the signal for a news flash, 5 bells, and the newsroom erupted. There were people yelling at him not to print the story. At the time the Minneapolis office was covering a murder trial. Dad’s boss had to call NY to get them off of the line. It was complete chaos, yet my Dad continued to type the story as Smith dictated. My Dad’s initials and the Dallas office code are on all of the news flashes he sent out as he continued to type Smith’s words. The Press Pool car followed the Kennedy car to Parkland Hospital. Smith immediately commandereed a phone booth at Parkland and called UPI with further updates. Then he gave the news that shocked America and the world, JFK was dead. My Dad stayed on the phone with Smith throughout the that very long momentous weekend. Dad misspelled one word was it from the chaos in the newsroom or the chaos at Parkland Hospital. Dad worked for four straight days. We were at home and watched the TV helplessly through the whole debacle. My mother said that Dad’s skin was gray when he finally came home after all was finally concluded. My Dad was noticed by Corporate and started to really rise in the company and became the Communications Director for UPI by the late 60’s.

    One more thought, when we travelled I learned not to mention we were from Dallas. People would ask me to show them my gun. Dallas was a city in every sense of the word. Yet people thought we all went around with a gun in our pockets.

  9. I was a freshman in high school on that day, my typing I class was busy clanging away when an office aid came to the door and cried while telling us that the president had been shot. The silence in that room for the next several minutes was deafening! It seemed as if you could have heard a pin drop all the way to Texas.

  10. I was a student at the University of Texas and had returned home from my morning classes for a quick lunch before picking up our son Kyle from the baby sitter. I had planned on taking him with me to Bergstrom AFB to see the presidential arrival later in the day here in Austin. That night there was to be a Democratic Fundraiser scheduled in Austin after a motorcade from the base. Gracie Belk, the babysitter, called me while I was eating and asked if I had the television on. I had been rushing to make the pickup and knew nothing. She told me what the news was reporting so I turned on the television. I could not believe what Walter Cronkite was saying. Shortly he related the shocking news that President Kennedy had died. I immediately called my wife, Leana, who worked at the city hall and they had just heard the news and closing the office for the day. I picked up Kyle and then picked her up downtown. I can remember the odd scene of so little traffic and people out and about that time of day.
    President Kennedy had been the first president I had been eligible to vote for so this event has caused me to become more aware of my voting responsibility in our great country.
    I still have the program that was to be part of each place setting from the cancelled fundraiser dinner that night. It is a constant reminder of one of the most memorable days of my life. One of those days we all have that we can remember exactly what we were doing at the time the events happened.

  11. Recalling the events of that long, sad November weekend when I was only 20 years old, is still painful, and puts a lump in my throat.

  12. I was a high school sophomore when President Kennedy was killed. We heard the news while we were changing our clothes after gym class. Everyone was wondering if it was a joke but as soon as we started walking home we knew it wasn’t. Everyone on the street was somber, some crying. My family was glued to the TV all weekend watching Jackie arrive back in DC with the body. Kneeling with Caroline in the rotunda, standing with her children as John saluted his dad. The muffled drums are something I will never forget. I have had the opportunity to visit the gravesite at Arlington and as I stood there I couldn’t help but wonder where our country would be today if that day in Dallas had never been.

  13. I was 24 yrs. old when President Kennedy was killed, working for a local bank. The phone rang and I answered the call thinking it was someone wanting information about their account. The person on the phone said our President has been killed in Dallas, I could not believe what I had just heard. I sort of went into shock and my boss came out to my desk and asked if I was ok. I handed the phone to him and the person on the phone told him what he had just told me. Just a couple minutes latter, the announcement came over the banks intercom. I will never forget that day as long as I live. President Kennedy was one of the best Presidents our country has had. America lost a great man that day.


  15. I was 23 years old and 8months pregnant for my first child. I heard it on the radio at my desk and went to my boss’s office where he was holding a very important meeting, I remember bursting in and telling them all that the President had been shot in Dallas, Tx. All were silent and from that moment on we were all glued to the radio. All our lives were changed from that time on. We couldn’t believe that the President could be shot and killed. The world was never the same for any of us. It is hard to believe that it was 50 years ago, my daughter will be 50 in January. Little John John Kennedy is also dead, Jacqueline is dead, Bobby dead. Time goes by so fast we should count our blessings each day because you never know what tomorrow will bring, especially now in our troubled world.

  16. I was at the University of Houston in the Journalism office (communications room) when the 5 bells sounded. President Kennedy had been in Houston, TX the night before and some students in the communications department were allowed to ride on the press bus to Rice stadium where he made his speech.
    After his death was announced, I went over to the Catholic Newman Club to pray.
    The media blamed everyone in Texas for his assassination.

  17. I had joined the US Navy only a couple of days before and was in a lecture when a seaman came in and told our instructor. The room was silent. Still to this day it has a stop in my tracks effect on me.

  18. I was watching TV that day when the news came over the TV. I was pregnant with my third child and went into labor. My husband took me to St. Paul Hospital where my daughter Darlene was born. For us it was a day filled with deep sadness and great joy. It took my husband until the next day to get through to my mother to tell her she was a grandmother again. My ,other lived in Lexington Massachusetts and the lines between Texas and Massachusetts were jamed …

  19. I was a trombone player in our school band. We were getting ready to go on the field at a rival school. Our games were mostly played during the day because most Black schools did not have lights on the fields. Our march on the field was interrupted. We were told to get on the bus because we had to go home immediately. Everyone was so sad the entire trip back to our home town.

  20. Nov. 22, 1963 was the first week in a 50-year career in the news and PR business at the North Hollywood (CA) Valley Times. As a copy boy, I was the first to alert the newsroom and City Editor Ade Banks, Assistant CE Jerry Burns and Managing Editor Ed Goodpaster after getting the bulletin in the wire room that JFK was first shot, then died. A somber day for everyone, one I shall never forget.

  21. The night JFK was shot is frozen in time. It’s a dark November evening at the inter faculty cabaret competition – the finals- at the student’s union at King’s College London. I am in the faculty of engineering team head to head with the team from the faculty of laws. We were in awe of the judges among whom is Jane Asher then famous for association with the Beatles but also the sister of Peter of the Peter and Gordon one hit singing duo. Peter is also student at the college – of philosophy. The atmosphere is light but as we approach the interval there is a palpable sense if unease and whisperings and murmuring among the audience. From the wings we don’t fully understand what’s occurring. What have we done to cause this unrest? Interval arrives and an announcement us made. JFK has been assassinated. There is a total sense of disbelief and shock. Do we disband or continue this evening of mirth? That bit I do not remember. What I do remember that we the engineering faculty are runners up the infinitely more polished faculty of laws and that we leave with a sense of unease at the loss of a war leader – as the Cold War is so much part of our lives as we live in the shadow of nuclear war. It is not long since JFK had taken us back from the brink in the Cuban crisis. The dark November evening has become even darker.

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