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No More Silence

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No More Silence is the first oral history of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, from eyewitness accounts through the police reactions, investigations, and aftermath. Based on in-depth interviews conducted in Dallas, it features narratives of forty-nine key eyewitnesses, police officers, deputy sheriffs, and government officials. Here--in many cases for the first time--participants are allowed to speak for themselves without interpretation, editing, or rewording to fit some preconceived speculation. Unlike the testimony given in the Warren Commission volumes, the contributors openly state their opinions regarding conspiracy and cover-ups. Of particular interest are the fascinating stories from the Dallas Police Department--few of the policemen have come forward with their stories until now. No More Silence humanizes those involved in the events in Dallas in 1963 and includes photographs of the participants around the time of the assassination and as they appear today. Was there a conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy? No More Silence gives readers the best perspective yet on the subject, allowing them to sift through the evidence and draw their own conclusions. "Sneed accomplishes what has never been done before, which is to tell the story of the four days from the Dallas point of view . . . Sneed's contribution [is] a brilliant one . . . He presents every notable event as if through a prism, with each interviewee corroborating the basic facts but never exactly matching the other accounts, adding a detail here and there and at times even contradicting earlier ones. The result is a page-turner, not only because the story is dramatic but because the reader becomes eager to see how the next person saw it."--Max Holland, The Nation

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Jim Ewell

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JIM EWELL

News Reporter

"If anyone of us had gotten in to where we could break 'the story of the century,' and that was the conspiracy behind the assassination of Kennedy, no lap dog reporter would have been sitting out there waiting for the story to break... "

After delivering his hometown newspaper as a boy in West Texas, Jim

Ewell became interested in a career in journalism. After attending HardinSimmons College, Ewell began as a cub reporter for the Abilene Reporter

News. Specializing in crime reporting and interested in police work, he became a part time crime beat reporter for the Dallas Times Herald in 1953, and by 1963 had become a full-time day side crime beat reporter for The

Dallas Morning News. In that capacity, Ewell observed the capture of Lee

Harvey Oswald at the Texas Theater and wrote extensively about the events of that tragic week end.

The Dallas Morning News was a Republican newspaper in a sea of Democrats across the Southwest, and though Dallas was a conservative city, it was probably an exaggeration that Dallas was that ultra-conservative. I never felt that we were so far politically to the right that it would intoxicate our thinking as sane people. I don't think that was the case. If nothing else, there were some incidents that played into the mind-set that Dallas was this ultraright stronghold such as the little incident involving Adlai

 

Hugh Aynesworth

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HUGH A YNESWORTH

News Reporter

"] don't think there's a good reporter on earth who wouldn't give their eye teeth to break anything approaching a conspiracy.

If ] knew there was a conspiracy, I'd be a millionaire tomorrow and would be living on the French Riviera the rest of my life... "

After attending Salem College, Hugh Aynesworth started in 1948 as a newspaperman in West Virginia and later worked in Arkansas, Kansas, and

Colorado prior to joining the staff of The Dallas Morning News in 1960.

The day the tragedy occurred I was the science editor for the

Dallas News and had an interview set up at SMU with a scientist whose name I have long since forgotten. But due to there being a great deal of excitement in Dallas that day, I instead decided to walk over to watch the motorcade with an assistant district attorney and another lawyer. So I was there in the center of Elm

Street where the police had it blocked off observing what was to be the start of a very chaotic day.

To fully comprehend the atmosphere surrounding the

 

James Altgens

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42

NO MORE SILENCE

office, make sure about the pick up time and, of course, you've got engravings to be made and mats to be pulled. So, my suggestion to the bureau chief was that someone ought to be down at the Triple Underpass because we had no one there; my reasoning being to make something pictorially graphic like a scene with the city in the background and making it from atop the underpass. It didn't sell too well the first time around. But after some consideration, he said, "Well, I tell you what we can do. We can bring the night photo editor in early and that would release you around eleven o'clock to go over there and shoot whatever pictures you can and then come back and help at the office."

It was necessary for me to make news picture selections and get them off to the engraver before I could leave for my assignment at the Triple Underpass which would be somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 A.M. The night photo editor then relieved me, as promised, at that time so that I could make my assignment.

 

Charles Brehm

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CHARLES BREHM

Eyewitness

"If the assassination had to happen, I'm glad that I was here to see it. This way I don't have to depend on other people, like the rest of the world does, as to what happened in those six or eight seconds... "

A veteran of the Second World War in the Ranger battalions, Brehm is one of the very few to have witnessed two of the epic events of the twentieth century: the D-Day invasion and the John F. Kennedy assassination. At the time ·of the assassination, Brehm was a carpet salesman for Montgomery

Ward at the Wynnewood Shopping Center in the Oak Cliff section cf

Dallas.

The closest place that I could see the President was here in

Dealey Plaza. Also, I was off work that Friday. I was out at the

Knights of Columbus preparing a buffet for the following night where I was cooking beef which we would later cool and slice.

From my house at that time, it took no more than five minutes to get here.

I parked up on the 1-35 freeway, which was not completely developed at that time, and walked down with my five year old boy to the northwest comer of Main and Houston Streets. Main is a two way street as it was then. As the parade approached on

 

Ruth Dean

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RUTH DEAN

Eyewitness

"I was standing there with Madie Reese and Billy Lovelady and several other employees. I remember Billy being there because we were joking before the motorcade arrived. Lee Harvey

Oswald was not on the steps as some people have claimed... "

Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Ruth Dean attended classes and met her future husband at West College in Mississippi. After moving to Texas, she was employed by the MacMillan Publishing Company, the only job she ever held.

I was the bookkeeper and cashier for the MacMillan

Publishing Company in 1963 here in Dallas. Our offices were located on the third floor at the Texas School Book Depository. I think there were about seven or eight publishers that were in the building then, but there were other publishers who had their books there but did not have offices in the building. If you wanted the

Texas School Book Depository to handle all your shipping for you, you deposited your books with them, when we had sales, and they did the shipping for you.

 

Ruth Hendrix

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RUTH HENDRIX

Eyewitness

"It was a terrible thing! I knew he'd been shot, but I didn't want to believe that Mr. Kennedy had been killed. But in my heart, I knew he had. .. "

Ruth Hendrix began working for Allyn and Bacon Publishers at the age of 18 in 1930. She witnessed the assassination standing on the north side cf

Elm Street west of the School Book Depository.

.

Our offices were on the third floor of the Texas School Book

Depository at 411 Elm Street as were those of MacMillan and many other companies. For many years prior to the assassination,

I was the head bookkeeper and eventually was the office manager.

Texas and California were states that furnished free textbooks which were selected by committees and adopted by the states. The

Texas School Book Depository handled our accounts both for the state adopted books and for books that were not state adopted.

The non-state adopted books were kept in the building at 411 Elm while the state adopted books were kept at a large building about two or three blocks beyond the railroad tracks at the end of

 

Clemon Earl Johnson

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CLEMON EARL JOHNSON

Eyewitness

"You could tell that the whole top of his head was probably missing, and you could see blood and maybe brains and bone. It happened so quickly that you couldn't tell exactly... "

Born in Hopkins County, Texas, one hundred miles east of Dallas,

Clemon Earl Johnson moved to Dallas in 1922. After working at various jobs, including the Dallas Gas Company, Sears-Roebuck, a furniture company, Greyhound Bus Company, and as an undertaker, Johnson was hired on April 16, 1946, by the Union Terminal Railroad. After working on steam engines for many years, he was the fIrst man to work on diesel engines for the Union Terminal Railroad in Dallas. It was while working for the railroad that he observed the assassination from the Triple Underpass overlooking Elm Street and Dealey Plaza.

There were between four and six of us that would eat lunch at a place on Jackson Street, and we hurried back up over the underpass where we could see the President come by since we knew the route he'd take, and that he'd come under the underpass.

 

Roy E. Lewis

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ROY E. LEWIS

Eyewitness

"Unlike some witnesses, I didn't see any smoke or smell any gun powder, nor could I tell the direction of the shots because it was like an echo there. But no way did I suspect anything coming from the Texas School Book Depository... "

Originally from Carthage, Texas, Roy E. Lewis was married in 1962 and went to work part-time that same year at the Texas School Book

Depository. His work eventually evolved into a full-time job. Lewis was an eyewitness to the assassination while standing on the front steps of the

School Book Depository.

I was sixteen when I started working there in August or

September of 1962 but had told the man, Roy Truly, that I was eighteen so that I could get the job. The peak working period there was mainly in the summer when school ended or right before it started back. But even after that we didn't have any layoffs.

At the Book Depository, we had order pickers and packers.

Order pickers would get their assignment orders, take a clipboard, go up on the floors to pick their orders then bring them back down on a cart to put in the packing tape. The packers would then pack them, wrap them, and ship them out.

 

T.E. Moore

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T.E. MOORE

Eyewitness

"The city of Dallas didn't kill President Kennedy; Lee Harvey

Oswald killed President Kennedy.... Dallas should not be blamed just because it happened here... "

Born on November 8, 1920, in Campbell, Texas, T.E. Moore moved to Dallas in 1922. After attending Bowie Elementary and Oak Cliff High

School, he worked for Henderson Wholesale, a tobacco jobber, from 1938 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1959, interrupted by service in the Army during

World War II in the South Pacific. In 1960, Moore went to work as a clerk for Bill Shaw, the District Clerk for Dallas County, at the Dallas County

Records Building Annex.

Most everybody downtown planned to view the motorcade as it was advertised some on radio and television. As a result, I knew where the route was downtown. That was really all I cared about.

There was a banquet being held in one of the Market Hall buildings, so most of the Dallas County officials and I don't know who else had gone to the luncheon banquet in which I believe the

 

Bill Newman

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BILL NEWMAN

Eyewitness

"It appeared to me that it hit him on the side of the head, as the side of his head came off. I can remember seeing a white mass and then just a mass of red... "

Standing near the curb on the north side of Elm Street, Bill Newman, along with his wife Gayle and two sons, was one of the closest eyewitnesses at the moment President Kennedy received the fatal head wound. The term the "grassy knoll" was coined during his interview on WFAA-TV shortly after the assassination.

I was an electrician and was married with two small children. I was off work that day as I had taken an electrical exam and was waiting for the results of the exam. I can't recall the exact day that I heard of the President's trip, but it was on the news, and the

President had been in Fort Worth the day before and that morning at the breakfast. The route of the parade was published in the paper the day before, so we were quite aware of the route of the parade. That morning we all went out to Love Field to see the

 

Malcolm Summers

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MALCOLM SUMMERS

Eyewitness

HI thought it would have been hard for one man doing it all.

You hear that many shots that close together, you just don't think about them coming out of one gun ... "

Born and raised in Dallas, Summers graduated from Crozier Tech High

School, joined the Aviation Cadets in 1944, and after the Second World

War, was placed in the Reserves. Called to active duty during the Korean

Conflict, Summers served eighteen months in the Air Force. At the time cf the assassination, he worked at his own mailing business which he established in 1960.

Prior to the President arriving, I was at the Terminal Annex

Building depositing mail. I'm in the mailing business, so I happened to be carrying a load of mail that day. Because of all the people lined up to see Kennedy, I ran over to watch him come by also. I left my vehicle there at the Terminal Annex and then just ran across the knolls and stood on the island right beside the street on the south side of Elm out in the clear and open area till he came by.

 

James Tague

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JAMES TAGUE

E yewi tness

HI called my father and told him that Kennedy had been killed. He said, 'Jim. I'm watching the TV and they said he's still alive.' I told him. 'Dad. believe me. he's dead because I was there . •... "

Originally from Indiana, James Tague moved to the Dallas area in 1956 while in the Air Force, married a Texas girl, and later fathered five children.

By 1960 he was employed in the automobile business. He is sometimes referred to by some assassination researchers as "the other victim."

I was working for Chuck Hinton Dodge on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas and was running late taking a friend to lunch around noon. At that point, I drove down Stemmons, turned to go east on Commerce and was stopped at the Triple Underpass. I realized that the Kennedy motorcade was coming through that area and, due to the fact that traffic came to a momentary stop in the left lane where I was, I stepped out of my car with the nose of the car sticking out of the east side of the underpass just seconds before the motorcade turned the corner in front of the School Book

 

Otis Williams

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OTIS WILLIAM S

E yewi tness

"I remember the day he came in because I was talking with

Roy Truly. Truly said, 'J believe I've got an extra good help. I've got a good one, I think.' That's the first thing he said. He seemed to know more than the ordinary person they sent up to him. That was the first thing I ever heard of Oswald. .. "

Born in Cooke County, Texas, northeast of Dallas in 1899, Otis

Williams graduated from Valley View High School in 1916, attended

Metropolitan Business College and then went to work for the Southern

Publishing Company, a school book publisher, where he served in numerous positions for over thirty years, eventually becoming the secretary-treasurer cf the company. After the company was sold, Williams worked for OlmsteadKirk Paper Company for four years prior to his employment with the Texas

School Book Depository in 1953.

I had various jobs with the Texas School Book Depository, but my official title was credit manager. Most of our business was with the Texas Department of Education with the free textbooks, and I kept track of all the orders and everything that came in and saw that they went out on time. The department specified when we had to ship them. We also had to make sure the bills were paid; we did some outside miscellaneous business, and I'd have to pass on the credit of those customers.

 

Marrion L. Baker

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MARRION L. BAKER

Solo Motor cycle Officer

Dallas Police Department

"What attracted my attention was this huge bunch of pigeons that flew off; fifty to a hundred of them were flying off the top of this building. I just knew that it had to be close to them or they wouldn't be disturbed like that... "

Patrolman Baker was born in the small town of Blum located in Hill

County, Texas. After moving to Dallas in 1940, Baker later graduated from

W.H. Adamson High School, located in Oak Cliff only a few blocks from where Officer J.D. Tippit allegedly was slain by Oswald. Baker worked at a variety of jobs after high school, then joined the Dallas Police Department in 1954. After nearly two years in Radio Patrol, he joined the Solo

Motorcycle Division and had ridden motorcycles for seven years prior to the

Kennedy motorcade.

I think that morning we were already assigned locations when we arrived at headquarters. They didn't want anyone around the

Presidential car, so they told us to follow in behind the news media. We didn't know whose instructions those were; it might have been from the Secret Service. I know Johnson didn't want anyone around him, especially a motorcycle officer. He never liked that motorcycle noise beside his car. In fact, he didn't like police anyway.

 

James W. Courson

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JAMES W. COURSON

Solo Motor cycle Officer

Dallas Police Department

"We were taught in the Marine Corps on the rifle range to count your shots, then on the police department the same thing on the pistol range: count your shots! That's one reason that I know there were three shots, and they probably came from the same gun ... "

Jim Courson served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War and joined the Dallas Police Department after his discharge in 1954. Two years later, in 1956, he became a solo motorcycle officer and was assigned to escort the Kennedy motorcade on November 22, 1963.

The Kennedy motorcade was much the same as many others which I had escorted. We went to work fairly early that morning and spent a lot of time getting our equipment shined and polished since we always wanted to look sharp on those escorts. At that time, we were riding Harley-Davidsons, which was a tradition with the police department. We were given our assignments that morning through our sergeant which had been coordinated between the Secret Service and the police department.

 

Bobby Joe Dale

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BOBBY JOE DALE

Solo Motor cycle Officer

"I caught up to the limousine on Stemmons somewhere around Continental.... Your mind runs wild at a time like that.

Maybe he's hit; if he is, maybe it's an impersonator. Maybe it's not really happening.... Your mind just runs loose.. !"

Born and raised in Dallas, Bobby Joe Dale served in the Navy as a boilennan during the Korean Conflict. Following his discharge in 1953,

Dale considered working in boilershops, but remembering the heat involved with the job, he instead joined the Dallas Police Department in 1954 as a patrolman. By 1960 he transferred to solo motorcycles and was part of the motorcycle escort for President Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Two or three days prior to the President's visit we'd ridden with the Secret Service checking to see where the turns and problem areas might be. We had three possible routes, but we didn't know which one we were going to take, and we were not briefed on it. But by riding during the week, I kept hearing the phrase "escape routes," which dawned on me later that should something happen to any part of the motorcade we had an escape route to either Baylor or Parkland Hospitals. I was impressed with the details in covering all emergencies should they arise.

 

Stavis Ellis

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STAVIS "STEVE" ELLIS

Solo Motorcycle Officer

Dallas Polic e Department

"Sarge, the President's hit!... Hell, he's dead! Man, his head's blown off .. !"

Born in 1918 in Laredo, Texas, and raised in San Antonio, "Steve"

Ellis' graduated from Brackinridge High School and later attended college in the military. During the Second World War, he joined the National

Guard and served as an MP. Ellis began his career with the Dallas Police

Department in 1946 as a patrolman and became a solo motorcycle officer fifteen months later with promotion to sergeant in 1952. Sergeant Ellis was the officer in charge of the motorcycle escort for the motorcade through

Dallas.

I always liked riding motorcycles and had ridden them half way around the world in the Army. I guess I liked that kind of work. You work on your own; you're out there by yourself; you

• The name Stavis has been a curiosity to a number of researchers, including the author. Sergeant Ellis's father was a Greek immigrant who entered Ellis

Island at the age of thirteen. His surname, He1iopoulis, was eventually changed to Ellis either as a shortened version of Heliopoulis or for Ellis

 

W.G. Lumpkin

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W.G. "BILL" LUMPKIN

Solo Motorcycle Officer

Dallas Police Depar tment

"We were going fast, very fast! I'm going to say we might have hit speeds up to 80-85 MP.H on Stemmons... ! saw the limousine behind us, and ! noticed this Secret Service man hanging on the back of it with his coat hanging, and ! was amazed that he could hang on.... When we got to Hines, there was a railroad track, and! know that! got airborne.... ! knew that if ! went down I'd probably get run over... "

Born and raised in Avery, Texas, Bill Lumpkin worked at General

Dynamics as an aircraft electrician after serving a hitch in the military. He joined the Dallas Police Department in 1953 and was assigned as one of the lead motorcycle officers in the Kennedy motorcade.

I don't know what time we went to work that day. I remember having a detail with all the squads of the motor jockeys together, and we were all given our assignments. We knew the route and where we were going and approximately how long we were going to be. We were told what to do in case things happened, what hospital to go to if an emergency came up. That would be the only time we would use the siren.

 

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