Jack Kennedy visited our area twice, once in October, 1956 as the keynote speaker for the state Young Democrats Convention in Winston-Salem and again at the Greensboro-High Point airport during his 1960 campaign for the presidency.

In 1956, he spent the night at the Robert E. Lee Hotel, where at a Friday night banquet, the local Democrats ate roast beef while the Catholic Kennedy had fish. The next day, he took a tour of Old Salem.

Microfilm makes a bad source for pictures, but something is better than nothing. Pics from the Young Democrats gathering at the Robert E. Lee:




In 1960, Kennedy took a whirlwind tour of the state on September 17, speaking at the football stadium at East Carolina Teachers College (now ECU), in Raleigh, Charlotte and at the Greensboro-High Point airport (now Triad International). A fifth NC stop in Asheville had to be cancelled because the airport was closed by bad weather:


The Triad airport visit produced a unique moment in American history. As some may already know, the then incumbent sheriff of Forsyth County, Ernie Shore, had a brief but illustrious career as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Many already know that his first on-the-road roommate was Babe Ruth, which led to a lifelong friendship between the boisterous Babe and the brainy (BS with honors, engineering, Guilford College) Shore.

But not so many know that when the Red Sox were at home, Ernie roomed in the home of Boston mayor “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald and became a member of the family. So when Ernie returned from naval service in World War I, one of the first people he met was “Honey Fitz’s” newly born grandson, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Ernie was on the speaker’s stand on September 17, 1960. And the first thing that Jack Kennedy did was go right over and give “Uncle Ernie” a big bear hug. Hard to imagine any other sheriff anywhere being able to say that he got a bearhug from a President of the United States.

And of course, legendary Winston-Salem Journal reporter/columnist Roy Thompson was right in the thick of things. Here’s what he had to say. As always, click on the pic for a readable version:


“… man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.”

— John Fitzgerald Kennedy, inaugural address, January 20, 1961, 12:51 PM