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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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PROGRAM INFO

Title:
The Kennedy Corridos
Program #
1980-05
Theme:
Culture

Series:
Music
Host:
John Wheat
Guest:
Dan Dickey
Date:
Dec 31, 1969

The Kennedy Corridos

Using information from Dan Dickey’s book, The Kennedy Corridos, host John Wheat Gibson explores the history of the corridos Mexican Americans wrote in memory of John F. Kennedy. Gibson explains that Mexican Americans were particularly affected by the death of John F. Kennedy, and several musicians expressed their sorrow in the form of corridos that memorialized the slain president. For many, Kennedy symbolized their social aspirations, and they felt united by their shared identity as ethnic minorities and Catholics. In several clips, the corridistas explain the sense of profound shock and sorrow they felt upon Kennedy’s death.

At least twenty corridos memorialize Kennedy and many were written in the first days and weeks after the assassination. These songs eventually reached over 45 million Mexican Americans, many of whom admired the president’s youthfulness, charisma and strength. Moreover, they felt a sense of mutual respect for the Spanish-speaking Kennedy, who had placed several Mexican-Americans in federal positions. They were also impressed with his stance on equal rights, and the corridos reflect these sentiments, often detailing his desire for equality and his ideals.

Gibson concludes that while the popularity of these corridos is fading, Kennedy’s memory lives on in the generation of Mexican Americans who witnessed his election to the presidency and tragic death.

 

Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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