Tonight I'm joined by award-winning journalist and Carleton University professor Andrew Cohen. The man who the New York Times has called one of "Canada's most distinguished authors" has written a new book that focuses on two momentous speeches that President John F. Kennedy delivered on consecutive days in June of 1963. The first addressed the issue of nuclear arms, the second, civil rights. The text is called Two Days In June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours that Made History.
Kennedy's June 11th report to the American people on race is often credited with setting the stage for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the clip below, Andrew and I debate whether President Kennedy deserves the praise that historians give him on civil rights.
For more of our conversation, be sure to tune in to Tavis Smiley on PBS. Check our website for your local TV listings: www.pbs.org/tavis.