SMU Professor Talks Kennedy Assassination Memoir

SMU emeritus communications professor Darwin Payne is the author of Behind the Scenes, a memoir depicting his experience as a young journalist reporting on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

This is part of SMU’s resources with unique perspectives on the assassination, which also includes religious sermons, “Dear Dallas” letters, and rarely seen photos of the tragedy.

During Payne’s investigation, he interviewed Abraham Zapruder, who captured on film the moment Kennedy was shot, and visited the School Book Depository Building with detectives to look at the location the sniper shot from. Payne discussed his memoir during an event at SMU on Nov. 16.

In SMU’s DeGolyer Library in the papers of the former Dallas Mayor Earl Cabell, “Dear Dallas” letters can be found where nearly 800 people from all over the world conveyed their sympathy or disgust with the Dallas community.

Copies of Methodist, Baptist, and Jewish sermons are also held in the SMU library archive. Clergy asked for self-examination of themselves in the aftermath of the assassination.

Andy Hanson photographed many photos on Nov. 21, 1963 including JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy arriving in Fort Worth and engulfed by a crowd and Marina Oswald leaving the Dallas Municipal Building after visiting her husband, her daughter in her arms. These rarely seen photos were given to SMU’s DeGolyer library by Hanson.

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