Photographs by Rick Barton and Patricia D. Richards
November 22, 1963 is a date seared in the memory of all those who were alive at that time, especially in America. The events of that day changed the way we thought about one another, our government, law enforcement, civility, and truth. It brought the horrors of death to our doorsteps and ushered in television as a primary source of breaking news. Photographers and journalists gathered to tell the unfolding stories of a country in shock and grief, and a city in chaos. Dallas became known as the place where President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. Controversy began immediately: Who heard what when? Did anyone see a gun? Where was it? How many people had weapons? Where did the shots come from? Five people are believed to have seen a gun sticking out of the window on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository. None of those five had cameras ready to record what they thought they were seeing. Others were sure they heard shots coming from behind the grassy knoll. Still others thought they saw many things no one has ever proven. The great American mystery—Who Killed JFK?—had begun.
Starting in 1997, Rick Barton and I, Patricia D. Richards, began photographing the events at Dealey Plaza on the anniversary of the President’s assassination, November 22. We wanted to see for ourselves if people were still interested in that date and to record photographically what we saw there. 34 years had passed since the assassination when we began our documentary. On that day the crowds gathered slowly. We were told to stick around that a cousin of the Kennedy’s was going to say a few words, that the “Babushka Woman” was going to sing the Star Spangled Banner, that the actor who played JFK in Oliver Stone’s movie was coming, etc. We learned that Dealey Plaza was a place very much engaged with the events of November 22, 1963. In the ensuing years we learned that people are drawn to a place because of what happened there, that compassion is still a driving force in the lives of many, that controversy and mystery reign supreme, and that we could indeed bear witness to it all photographically.
Please take a moment to read here the documented stories of "Where Were You? November 22, 1963."