For 3 decades, Lindalyn Adams has preserved JFK’s memory in Dallas

To a large degree, how Dealey Plaza looks on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death and how his assassination is treated in the nearby Sixth Floor Museum are due to SMU alumna Lindalyn Adams.

Staff Writer

Although she worked for three decades to ensure that Dallas treated the death of John F. Kennedy with dignity, Lindalyn Adams was not a fan. She recalled a 1960 election night party, when it became clear Kennedy would beat Richard Nixon.

“When the election returns started coming in,” she said in a 1997 interview conducted for The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, “I remember just feeling really almost physically ill and just thinking, ‘I don’t know what our country’s going to do with this young man.’”

On Nov. 22, 1963, Adams did not attend JFK’s motorcade, even though the route passed a few blocks from her home. But she was devastated by the president’s death and embarrassed that he was killed in Dallas. As time passed, she grew concerned that the assassination scene was being exploited as a tourist site.

By the 1970s, when she was invited to help preserve the area in a respectful way, she did so enthusiastically.

Today, to a large degree, how Dealey Plaza looks on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death and how his assassination is treated in the adjacent museum are due to Lindalyn Adams.

Some have complained that organizers of the official 50th anniversary commemoration have been heavy-handed in excluding demonstrators and conspiracy theorists from the proceedings. Adams disagrees.

Until this year, city officials — citing concerns of the Kennedy family — declined to sponsor commemorations of the president’s death. As a result, anniversaries often were dominated by demonstrations, flash mobs and speeches that implicated everyone from Lyndon Johnson to Fidel Castro in JFK’s death.

“Many of these people are very well meaning. They hold sacred the time of 12:30 [when the president was shot] with a moment of silence,” Adams said. “But they also create an atmosphere that’s anything but appropriate for a national historic site.”

Adams is not an impartial observer. She helped obtain a national historic district designation for Dealey Plaza. Stricter than a simple recognition of historical importance, the designation ensures the plaza and the buildings around it look much the same as they did in 1963.

She helped save the Texas School Book Depository building from demolition. She spearheaded a 12-year drive to found The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Read the full story.

# # #