Killing Kennedy: the Death that Changed a Nation and the World
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This lesson series is designed for use in Ontario's grade 11 American History course. The lesson series acts as an entry point for studying America in the Post-War period by examining the John F. Kennedy assassination and its larger context and repercussions. Students will have the opportunity to examine primary source evidence to make interpretations on the events of November 22nd, 1963 and the significance of JFK’s influence on United States by internally and externally. The first lesson goes into depth on what happened during the assassination and asks the question how do we know that the traditional narratives of JFK’s assassination are true. The second lesson explores JFK’s impact on external Cold War policy and this continues and changes when Johnson assumes power. The third lesson analyzes multiple cultural perspectives in the United States during the 1960s and connects Kennedy to the “hippie” movement through the examination of anti-war music and looks at how these perspectives and groups impacted identity and citizenship within the United States. Finally, the fourth lesson places students in the role of American citizens grappling with loss of JFK and gives them an opportunity to voice their opinion on how JFK ought to be remembered in America, asking the question of what is significant to remember about JFK’s narrative. It is hoped through these lessons that students will be able to think critically about the assassination and its importance to the wider context of America throughout the Cold War. Ultimately, it is hoped that JFK’s story acts as a moral guide for our students to question the accepted narrative before committing it to the national memory.