On This Day: President John F. Kennedy - Life, Death, Legacy

John F. Kennedy and the American Camelot dazzled the United States. His legacy is more complicated, however, and it includes the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Pupils view history as it unfolded with news reels on the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, assassination, as well as Kennedy's inaugural address and analysis from pundits.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use the biographical vignette to introduce a unit of study on Kennedy or the 1960s
  • Ask historians to analyze the newsreels or inaugural address as primary sources
Classroom Considerations
  • Teachers need to create a free account on C-SPAN to view the seven video clips; access it with username: students, and the password: C-SPANCLASSROOM
  • Footage, including that of Kennedy's funeral and news reels about the Bay of Pigs, is gripping
  • Biographical clips do a good job simplifying complicated foreign policy stories
  • Videos focus on foreign policy, omitting discussion of his mixed records on Civil Rights