North Carolina's Tribute to President John F. Kennedy

Back in 2007, I wrote a brief post about the fundraising event held at Kenan Memorial Stadium for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.  Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the event—North Carolina’s Tribute to President John F. Kennedy for the benefit of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library.

Governor Terry Sanford with Hugh Morton and Andy Anderson during a John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Fundraising Committee meeting, 16 April 1964.
North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford with Hugh Morton and E. G. “Andy” Anderson (county chair from Martin County) during a John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Fundraising Committee meeting, 16 April 1964. Hugh Morton chaired the state’s committee. The governor posed for a portrait with each of the county chairs in attendance.  UNC Photo Lab photograph by Jerry Markatos.

Every spring for the past several years, I have pulled together a slideshow for UNC’s Alumni Reunion Weekend for visitors to watch during Wilson Library’s Saturday afternoon open house.  To create the slideshow, I go through the negatives in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection (the UNC “Photo Lab”) for that particular year’s fiftieth anniversary class and select about 100 negatives to be scanned.  This year I came across a familiar face while surveying negatives made during the 1963-1964 academic year.  I used the above image in the slideshow, but not the one below.
Hugh Morton in conversation with then former Governor Luther Hodges, Jr.
Hugh Morton in conversation with former Governor Luther H. Hodges, Jr. (left) and an unidentified person in the Morehead Planetarium. On the far right is UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor William B. Aycock.  UNC Photo Lab photograph by Robert Arndt.

Hugh Morton was the chair of the state’s fundraising efforts—a logical choice given his highly successfully efforts to bring the USS North Carolina to Wilmington.  The North Carolina Collection holds a few items from the state’s tribute to JFK.  Within the Hugh Morton collection are several color slides made by an unknown photographer.  Five of these slides can be seen in the online Morton collection, as can three black-and-white photographs of Governor Terry Sanford and Hugh Morton presenting North Carolina’s $250,000 contribution to Jacqueline Kennedy on December 22nd.
There is a black-and-white image of Lyndon Baines Johnson with Governor Sanford examining a copy of the tri-fold pamphlet made to raise funds trough ticket orders to the event. The North Carolina Collection has copies of the flyer, the front cover of which seen below.
Flyer announcing North Carolina's Tribute to John F. Kennedy.
Flyer announcing North Carolina’s Tribute to John F. Kennedy. (North Carolina Collection)

The Daily Tar Heel, in its last issue of the year, gave a 50/50 chance that LBJ would be able to attend.  Newspaper articles from the Charlotte News and the Durham Morning Herald make no mention of LBJ being in attendance.  Currently we have this image categorized with those made during the tribute on May 17th, 1964.  I think, however, that that photograph is likely from a different event because, if you zoom in, you can see that Sanford is wearing a pin back button that says “MY BRAND’S LBJ”—hardly appropriate to wear during a tribute to JFK.
Also in the North Carolina Collection is a DVD copy of the 16mm film made about the day’s event as a gift for Jacqueline Kennedy.  Additionally, the North Carolina Collection also has two copies of the program from the event.  Copy two of this item also contains several letters and announcements to county chairmen from Hugh Morton.

2 thoughts on “North Carolina's Tribute to President John F. Kennedy”

  1. If I may, let me first mention what a magnificent slide show Stephen put together for the most recent Graduation/Reunion weekend. Any returning alums who missed the Wilson Library Open House, missed out on something really special. I would encourage stopping by next year…say hello to Stephen and view look-back scenes from UNC’s glorious past.
    Now, a comment or two about this post.
    Here are a couple of possible identifications for picture #2.
    The man standing between Luther Hodges and Hugh Morton could possibly be Ed Rankin and the man on the far right is actually UNC Chancellor William B. Aycock. And could that be Pete Ivey of the UNC News Bureau 4th from the far left looking down? (See full scan)
    It’s interesting to note that Hugh Morton and Terry Sanford have on different suits and ties in the color slides taken at the Kennedy’s arrival at the airport compared to the “on stage” shot. Neither match the Sanford suit-tie combination in the LBJ picture.
    In the pictures taken in Washington with Mrs. Kennedy, Morton and Sanford have on yet a different suit and tie combination and neither of these match the Sanford suit-tie combination in the LBJ picture either.
    So, I agree with you, Stephen, the Sanford-LBJ picture is from another time.

  2. Thanks, Jack for the info packed comment. My mistake on the incorrect identification of Aycock. (I retraced my steps and see how I made the mistake, and I’ve corrected the caption.) I may have to make a separate post for that image so we can crowd source that identification.

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