[Audio] MSU's Wrather WKY Museum Opens "Kennedy Comes to Kentucky"

Nov 14, 2017

Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy shakes children's hands during a Bowling Green, KY campaign stop in 1960.
Credit Library Special Collections, WKU

Today, Catholics are a prominent part of Kentucky politics.  Current State Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, former U.S. Representative Anne Northup, and former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning are just a few examples.  But in 1960, for only the second time in U.S. history, a Catholic topped a major presidential ticket and Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy confronted the same issue that defeated fellow Democrat Al Smith in 1928: his religion.  Some Kentuckians feared Kennedy's faith, believing he would follow the Vatican over the U.S. Constitution.  That's one of the issues that prompted his campaign swing through the Commonwealth, a swing that's the subject of a new exhibit, titled "Kennedy Comes to Kentucky," opening this evening at five with a MSU Town and Gown reception.  The exhibit features photographs, correspondence, and campaign materials and will be free to the public through March 14.  Todd Hatton speaks with the exhibit's curator, Dr. Sean McLaughlin.