Newspaper Articles


Bluefield Daily Telegraph
May 5, 1960

Concord Gives Kennedy Enthusiastic Welcome

Senator John F. Kennedy, during a brief visit to Concord College campus Wednesday, told an enthusiastic throng of approximately 1,000 faculty members and students, “The vitality that I have found here in West Virginia is more than many or most states.”

The Democrat presidential hopeful also related to the supposedly non-political gathering, “Using a quote of the German diplomat Bismarck who said, ‘One third of the students in German universities work themselves out of school; one-third is lost due to excess dissipation; and the other third rules Germany.’ I wish to impress upon you, the young people, the necessity of an informed public.

“The people must be able to decide. That is why I have entered primary races such as those in West Virginia, Wisconsin, Oregon, Nebraska, Maryland and others. I feel it is up to the people to decide who is to run for president, not five or six influential politicians gathered in a smoke-filled room near the Los Angeles convention headquarters. Harry Truman calls the primary eye wash. I say eye-wash made Milwaukee, Wisc. Famous.”

Students Cheer

Kennedy in lighter tone, heard the lawn of the administration building ring with applause and cheers as he state that he was proud that Concord, Mass. was named after the Athens school.

He concluded with another compliment to the state. “George Washington once said that liberty would prevail in natural fortress of West Augusta original name of West Virginia. As I have toured these scenic mountains I find it easy to agree with the state motto, “Montani Semper Liberi – translated for those of you who aren’t classical scholars – Mountaineers Always Free.’” Again the crowd roared.

Ray Hunt, president of the Concord Young Democratic Club, presented Kennedy with a certificate of honorary membership to the organization. Kennedy said that it was a real pleasure, at his age, to accept the honorary membership to a young Democrat club.

Saves His Voice

The distinguished guest expressed his regret at not being able to give a formal speech because of a throat infection. He joked “I will have to save my voice for tonight’s debate with my opponent.” Kennedy was scheduled to appear on a statewide television hook-up with his May 10 West Virginia primary foe, Senator Hubert Humphrey.

The Kennedy motorcade arrived at the campus at 8:50 a.m. The presidential candidate had been scheduled to visit the campus on April 27 but was called to Washington at the last moment to vote on the Mine Safety Bill. He apologized to the students for their futile wait in the rain last week.

The Democratic figure was literally mobbed by autograph seekers as he got out of the car. While Kennedy mixed with the crowd and campaign posters were distributed, a segment of the college band played a number of snappy selections, including, “Dixie” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

Marsh Welcomes Kennedy

College President Joseph F. Marsh officially welcomed Kennedy to the campus and took the opportunity to say that he hoped recent publicity concerning the backwardness of West Virginia hadn’t been blown out of proportion.

President Marsh frowned upon what he called, “a commentater [sic] seeing a rickety bridge in Wayne County as a true example of the state when he could have seen the West Virginia turnpike, and other wonderful scenic sights.”

The college president insisted that culture isn’t dying in the state, mentioning a recent art exhibit at the school and national recognition gained by West Virginians throughout history.

The motorcade left the campus at 9:35 after another period of autograph signing. The Kennedy party included his wife, his brother, various local politicians and members of the press.


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