Part Three: Lamar White, Sr.

When I was a kid, I loved learning about the Kennedy family. I first read Profiles in Courage when I was in the fourth grade, and by the sixth grade, I considered myself as somewhat of an expert on JFK assassination conspiracy theories. Part of my fascination, I think, was because my mother’s family is from Dallas. Before I was born, my mother had worked in the hospital where President Kennedy died.

One sunny afternoon, while visiting our family in Dallas, my parents took us downtown to see John Neely Bryan’s cabin. John Neely Bryan is my great-great-great-great-great uncle and the founder of Dallas, Texas. The cabin is actually a replica, but it stands as a monument to him. After visiting the cabin, I asked if we could see the Texas School Book Depository Building, which is only a couple of blocks away. We walked toward the building and into Dealey Plaza, and we all witnessed something surreal.

Traffic had been cordoned off; the museum at the Texas School Book Depository Building was closed. A production crew had taken over. They were filming the assassination scene for a television mini-series about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. And for nearly an hour, I stood with my family, mesmerized, as we watched take after take of a stretched, convertible limousine bending around the curve, shots ringing out, and an actress in pink attempting to climb onto the back of the car. I was eleven, scrawny and short, and my father hoisted me over his shoulders so I could witness the whole spectacle.