Nov 20, 2023 - History

Boston looks back 60 years after JFK assassination

The Boston Globe's "extra" edition the the evening of Friday, Nov. 22, 1963 via

John F. Kennedy, the last U.S. president from Massachusetts, was shot and killed in Dallas 60 years ago this Wednesday.

  • In the days and weeks after Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza, Massachusetts and the nation mourned.

Flashback: Readers of evening newspapers like the Nov. 22, 1963 Fitchburg Sentinel saw the news via a grim Associated Press article under the headline "Kennedy Shot, Dies in Texas."

"President Kennedy died today in a Texas Hospital after he was shot earlier by a sniper. Gov. John Connally of Texas also was shot and wounded. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy. She cried, 'Oh no!' The motorcade sped on."

A mourner weeps outside a memorial service at Harvard. Photo: Ollie Noonan, Jr./The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

The Boston Globe reported Bostonians that afternoon choked up or openly wept in the streets. "He seemed just like me," a man behind a bar told the paper.

  • Phone lines were choked, with callers waiting 20 minutes for an open line.
  • Businesses came to a stop in Boston as workers huddled around radios for updates.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, the slain president's mother, walked with son Edward Kennedy after a Mass the day after the killing. Photo: Getty

Flags flew at half staff around the country.

  • Kennedy's alma mater Harvard called off that weekend's game against Yale.
  • Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was presiding over the Senate when an aide told him his brother had been shot, according to a Washington Post-L.A. Times article. The younger Kennedy's body jerked. "No," he said. "No."
The overflow crowd at St. Anthony's Shrine. Photo: Philip Preston/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

After news spread of the assassination of the nation's first Roman Catholic president, Boston Catholics gathered at St. Anthony's Shrine on Arch Street downtown that evening for a high Mass of requiem for the slain president.

  • More than 2,000 people showed up, overflowing the chapel.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more