D&E Hosts Lecture About State's Impact on JFK's 1960 Presidentia - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

D&E Hosts Lecture About State's Impact on JFK's 1960 Presidential Primary Victory

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More than 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy spent 18 days campaigning across the state of West Virginia, and on Wednesday night, local historians made sure that today's generation is well aware of our state's impact on his presidential campaign.

Davis and Elkins College hosted a lecture on one of the most important primary victories in election history: JFK's fight for the Democratic ticket against Hubert Humphrey in 1960. President Kennedy later attributed his presidential success to the residents of West Virginia.

"He said, 'I would not be president if it had not been for the work of West Virginia in this primary.' He felt so familiar with the state, he told them, 'I know the difference between Charleston and Charles Town.' This is a chance to show students what important role our state played," said Professor Robert Rupp of West Virginia Wesleyan College, who gave the presentation.

Rupp also said that Kennedy's time in West Virginia helped residents get more comfortable with Catholicism.

"It enabled John Kennedy to overcome his liability that he was a Catholic. You have to understand: before 1960, no Catholic had been elected president, a lot of people worried that a Catholic would be a liability, particularly in a Bible-belt state like West Virginia," said Rupp.

One of Kennedy's stops on his tour was right here at our WBOY studios.