Why We Can’t Wait

by

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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John F. Kennedy Character Analysis

John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. Dr. King refers to President Kennedy multiple times throughout Why We Can’t Wait, viewing him as a promising young president whose impact on the civil rights movement was notable, though Dr. King believes that Kennedy would have gone on to play a much more influential role in the struggle for racial equality if he hadn’t been assassinated in November of 1963.
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John F. Kennedy Character Timeline in Why We Can’t Wait

The timeline below shows where the character John F. Kennedy appears in Why We Can’t Wait. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Negro Revolution—Why 1963?
History, Progress, and Change Theme Icon
Complacency, Ignorance, and the Status Quo Theme Icon
...the promise of racial justice backed away from such ideas once they took office. President Kennedy, for example, was in the White House for two years before he acted on his... (full context)
Chapter 4: New Day in Birmingham
Unity, Community Organizing, and Leadership Theme Icon
...even contact him while he was in jail. Worried about his safety, she contacted President Kennedy, who told her he would ensure that all was well. Shortly thereafter, Dr. King was... (full context)
Chapter 6: Black and White Together
History, Progress, and Change Theme Icon
Complacency, Ignorance, and the Status Quo Theme Icon
...hesitant to negotiate, they eventually met with Dr. King and his associates, largely because the Kennedy administration sent officials to help ease tensions in the area. (full context)
Chapter 8: The Days to Come
Unity, Community Organizing, and Leadership Theme Icon
Complacency, Ignorance, and the Status Quo Theme Icon
...influence that the president of the United States has on civil rights issues. If President Kennedy hadn’t been assassinated, Dr. King believes he would have grown into an even stronger ally... (full context)
History, Progress, and Change Theme Icon
Unity, Community Organizing, and Leadership Theme Icon
Many of Dr. King’s associates urged him to publicly endorse President Kennedy when he first ran for office. He refrained, however, because he wasn’t sure that Kennedy... (full context)
History, Progress, and Change Theme Icon
Unity, Community Organizing, and Leadership Theme Icon
...political power, Dr. King is optimistic about how they might wield it. In fact, President Kennedy owed his victory in South Carolina to the Black vote, indicating that the Black community... (full context)