Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

President John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Address, June 11, 1963

    Embedded Resource

Courtesy of Library of Congress, "The President Faces the Racial Crisis," CBS News, 11 June 1963


The excerpt highlights President John F. Kennedy's broadcasted speech announcing he would soon ask the U.S. Congress to enact landmark civil rights legislation. The speech and the legislation was in part a reaction to the actions of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who attempted to refuse entry of African-American students to the University of Alabama. Kennedy delivered his speech to the nation on June 11, 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr., called the speech “one of the most eloquent, profound and unequivocal pleas for justice and freedom of all men ever made by any president.” 

Source-Dependent Questions

  • What does President John F. Kennedy mean when he says that the U.S. Constitution should be color blind?
  • If this speech was broadcast to the entire nation over radio and television on June 11, 1963, what does that say about how important these ideas are to President Kennedy? In other words, how big of a deal was this?

Citation Information

"The President Faces the Racial Crisis," CBS News, 11 June 1963. Courtesy of Library of Congress