Kris_Davidson_America_Imagination_JFK_1.jpg

The Death Of A President

Even half a century later, theories of what truly transpired at President Kennedy's assassination abound, unfolding in a cacophony of true details and unmoored musings, with characters falling over each other in the story-telling fray. 

During the day, conspiracy theorists set up their displays in Dealey Plaza, holding court for hours. In the lulls in between traffic, visitors run out to the X marking the President’s location on Elm street for the second, fatal shot to his head. Cameras are aimed over and over, portraits made, in this spot. Standing on the grassy knoll, they look around for clues, glancing up at the Texas School Book Depository, peering into that darkened space, then at the fence, and sometimes, they survey storm drain openings on the street. It’s a discomforting 3-D space to experience one of America’s darkest and most enduring tales. 

​The picket fence in Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, where the second shooter allegedly took the fatal shot to John F. Kennedy’s head, has been rebuilt a few times in a piecemeal fashion since November 22, 1963. Individual slats have a tendency to disappear, ferried off in the middle of the night by laymen investigators intent on unraveling the tangle of questions around the assassination, or just a desire to keep a piece of the dark history for themselves. 

​Dealey Plaza sits at the edge of downtown. From there, the Dallas skyline quickly dissipates to a vast, flat suburban sprawl of highways connecting shopping malls and neat, idealistic neighborhoods with manicured lawns and fenced in yards, designed to keep things in and out. 

 Man holding a JFK book.

Man holding a JFK book.

 Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

 There were reports of a mysterious man at the back side of the Texas School Book Depository Building. This image is a recreated myth — painted photograph of an actor at the of the Texas School Depository Building, where Oswald allegedly made the fatal shot from the 6th floor killing the President. Mixed media on an archival inkjet photographic print with gouache and oil pastels.

There were reports of a mysterious man at the back side of the Texas School Book Depository Building. This image is a recreated myth — painted photograph of an actor at the of the Texas School Depository Building, where Oswald allegedly made the fatal shot from the 6th floor killing the President. Mixed media on an archival inkjet photographic print with gouache and oil pastels.

 The picket fence in Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, where the second shooter allegedly took the fatal shot to John F. Kennedy’s head.

The picket fence in Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, where the second shooter allegedly took the fatal shot to John F. Kennedy’s head.

 Texas natives with hunting rifles in Richardson, a Dallas area suburb.

Texas natives with hunting rifles in Richardson, a Dallas area suburb.

 Woman in Highland Park in Dallas, Texas.

Woman in Highland Park in Dallas, Texas.

 Big Tex at the Texas State Fair in Dallas.

Big Tex at the Texas State Fair in Dallas.

 Conspiracy theorist in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

Conspiracy theorist in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

 Billboard in the Oak Cliff neighborhood, where Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby lived in close proximity.

Billboard in the Oak Cliff neighborhood, where Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby lived in close proximity.

 Dr. Robert McClelland pulls out memorabilia from the day of the assassination, including the shirt he wore, stained with the President's blood. Pensive, he says: " I stood at the head of the gurney with nothing to do for a good while except to look at that wound."  He claims that the Warren Commission findings do not make sense, saying:  "It's like trying to sew flatulence to a moonbeam."

Dr. Robert McClelland pulls out memorabilia from the day of the assassination, including the shirt he wore, stained with the President's blood. Pensive, he says: "I stood at the head of the gurney with nothing to do for a good while except to look at that wound." He claims that the Warren Commission findings do not make sense, saying: "It's like trying to sew flatulence to a moonbeam."

 Patricia Puckett Hall was 11 years old in 1963. She is pictured here in the living room of the boarding house that her grandmother ran, where Kennedy's alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was a tenant, renting a small room. Patricia remembers him as a kind man, always ready to play with the kids.

Patricia Puckett Hall was 11 years old in 1963. She is pictured here in the living room of the boarding house that her grandmother ran, where Kennedy's alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was a tenant, renting a small room. Patricia remembers him as a kind man, always ready to play with the kids.

 Men looking over the fence where the alleged second shooter may have made the fatal shot to JFK's head.

Men looking over the fence where the alleged second shooter may have made the fatal shot to JFK's head.

 Mural in an alley in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas, Texas.

Mural in an alley in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas, Texas.

 Boy in north Dallas suburb wearing a JFK mask.

Boy in north Dallas suburb wearing a JFK mask.

 Catholic schoolgirls after their confirmation in north Dallas.

Catholic schoolgirls after their confirmation in north Dallas.

 North Dallas suburb.

North Dallas suburb.

 There were reports of a mysterious man at the back side of the Texas School Book Depository Building. This image is a recreated myth — painted photograph of an actor near the Texas School Depository Building, where Oswald allegedly made the fatal shot from the 6th floor killing the President. Mixed media on an archival inkjet photographic print with gouache and oil pastels.

There were reports of a mysterious man at the back side of the Texas School Book Depository Building. This image is a recreated myth — painted photograph of an actor near the Texas School Depository Building, where Oswald allegedly made the fatal shot from the 6th floor killing the President. Mixed media on an archival inkjet photographic print with gouache and oil pastels.

 North Dallas suburb.

North Dallas suburb.