President John F. Kennedy in Houston

On the evening of November 21, 1963, President John F. Kennedy along with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Lady Bird Johnson attended a League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) banquet. Knowing that the group was already planning to be in Houston for a dinner honoring Congressman Albert Thomas, Houston attorney and civil rights activist, John J. Herrera, invited President Kennedy to attend the LULAC banquet. The LULAC Viva Kennedy clubs campaigned in Houston’s Hispanic communities to elect Kennedy and were then engaged in supporting his re-election. President Kennedy visited Houston previously in 1962 when he delivered his famous speech regarding the Space Race at Rice University.

The group was greeted that day with much fanfare, and it is clear from the photographs featured here that the banquet was a joyous occasion for all and that the Kennedys enjoyed their time in Houston very much. A mariachi band and a speech by Jacqueline Kennedy in which she spoke in Spanish also delighted the attendees. The photographs, oral histories, and other items in these featured collections represent the passing of an era in the United States before President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on the following day, November 22, 1963. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination, and the Houston Public Library invites you to explore the unique digital holdings related to the legacy of President John F. Kennedy that are available through the Houston Area Digital Archives.

The Houston Metropolitan Research Center is a member of the JFK Resource Consortium.
Please visit for more information.

Featured Images:


Oral Histories:

“ And then Albert being a lawyer, he said, “Mr. President, you cannot take off until you’re sworn in.” And the picture that went around the world was Albert, President Johnson,
Mrs. Johnson, and Mrs. Kennedy
— the four of them was one of the big pictures.”
Mrs. Albert Thomas

Mrs. Lera Thomas was married to Congressman Albert Thomas, who served from 1937 to 1966. She provides some of the little known details concerning President Kennedy’s visit to Texas in 1963, one of which was to attend a dinner in Houston
on November 21 honoring her husband.



“Well, one of the defining days in my life was the day that President Kennedy was assassinated.
… [T]hat was a day I’ll never forget.”

Bill Hobby

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby talks with Jane Ely about growing up in Houston, the newspaper business, the Kennedy assassination, and his political career.



“When I was in college, pretty much what you did was you either went to graduate school or you got married after you got out of school and I didn’t want to do either of those things. And so, I just had to go out and try to figure out what I could do.”
Jane Ely

Jane Ely describes her career as a journalist working for the Houston Post.
She talks about gender discrimination in her field, the coverage of the Kennedy assassination, and other events that made news at the time.

Featured Images:




When Camelot Came to Houston


Celebrating the life of
John J. Herrera





Additional Resources: