The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 changed the face of American history and has spawned countless criminal and academic investigations, cultural shifts and conspiracy theories.
In an early commemoration of the event, assassination expert Dale K. Myers will visit Radford University on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. to host a forum based on his Emmy-winning presentation "Secrets of a Homicide: The JFK Assassination."
The event will be held in RU’s Hurlburt Student Center Auditorium, followed by a reception and book signing. It is free and open to the public.
Myers is famous for his computer-animated reconstruction of the assassination. His work has shed new light on old evidence and can answer the questions that have provoked many conspiracy theories over the years.
The filmmaker's visit is part of a class called “Investigating the Kennedy Assassination,” currently taught by RU professors Tod Burke and Stephen Owen.
“For the public forum, Myers is going to focus on Dealey Plaza and the events of the assassination,” Burke said. “His reconstruction can show us different perspectives from the Zapruder film, which is the most famous recording of the assassination.”
Prior to the public forum, Myers will visit the students in Burke and Owen’s class to discuss the murder of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit, who stopped Lee Harvey Oswald about 45 minutes after the assassination of the president. Although Tippit’s murder isn’t the most remembered event of the day, it was the incident that landed Oswald in police custody.
Myers is the author of “With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit” and a leading expert on the Tippit murder.
“The students are so excited about this class and about Dale Myers’ visit, which gives them an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned and ask questions of a real expert,” Burke said. “As the anniversary approaches, Myers will be busy sharing his presentation around the country so we’re incredibly fortunate to host him at Radford and offer this chance for him to share his knowledge with our community.”
Students taking “Investigating the Kennedy Assassination” are focusing on every aspect of the assassination and learning about the changing landscape of the early 1960s, from politics to pop culture. At the end of the semester, students will be responsible for presenting a group project where they take the existing data and think of new ways to explore the JFK assassination.
"We're working through the case from the beginning," said Stephen Owen, department chair and professor of criminal justice. "What were the key pieces and who were the key players? Why did he go to Dallas? Why are there still conspiracy theories popping up about it?"
On Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m., students will publicly present new, modern interpretations on the case in front of news media and a panel of experts, academics and law enforcement officials in RU’s McGuffey 206. Students will be expected to defend their new research, answer questions and explain their ideas.
As with Myers’ visit, the student presentations are free and open to the public.
Like Myers’ groundbreaking use of computer simulation to revisit the shooting, the class is about critically examining a criminal case that has been turned inside out and upside down for half a century.
"Finding a new perspective on a 50-year-old investigation isn’t easy and we expect a lot of our students. They’ve met and exceeded our expectations so far," Burke said.