Cleburne resident Gary Shaw, author and John F. Kennedy assassination historian, will discuss that historic Nov. 22, 1963, day and its aftermath at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Cleburne’s Layland Museum, 201 N. Caddo St.
The free event will be held in the museum’s upstairs theater. Museum officials note that there is no elevator to the upstairs area.
Shaw began researching Kennedy’s assassination shortly after the Warren Report was released in 1964. That report, which concluded Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, didn’t ring true to Shaw and many others, he said.
Shaw wrote several books on the subject, including last year’s “JFK Has Been Shot,” which he co-authored with the late Dr. Walter Crenshaw and Jens Hansen. That book is a reissue — with new material added — of a 1992 book titled “JFK Conspiracy of Silence,” which topped the New York Times best seller list.
Crenshaw was one of the doctors at Dallas’ Parkland Memorial Hospital who worked on Kennedy on Nov. 22 and who also questioned the subsequent “official version” of Kennedy’s assassination.
Shaw has taught courses on and spoke on JFK’s assassination numerous times through the years, garnering both criticism and praise for his work on the subject.
Shaw said his interest in JFK’s assassination lies in presenting facts and truth, not pushing an agenda.
“I wouldn’t trade for the experience,” Shaw said. “I’d do it again. I can’t not do it. It is important because the American people can stand the truth.”
Shaw, whose research into the assassination was featured in a Nov. 22 Times-Review story, said on Thursday that, while he’s enjoyed researching the assassination all these years, he rather hopes Sunday will be his last hurrah with JFK.
“This appearance is really more than the last time,” Shaw said. “I’m hoping this is the last go around. But, the book’s republished and it’s been doing well and the [50th anniversary] of the Warren Commission is September so I may get some more requests, but I’m ready to wind down on it.”
The level of interest in and hoopla surrounding last year’s 50th anniversary of the assassination probably won’t be seen again, Shaw said. By the time the 75th anniversary arrives most around in 1963 will be well advanced in age or gone.
That said, Shaw said he doesn’t expect interest in Kennedy or the assassination to flag anytime soon.
“We’re probably not going to see all the interest we saw last November again,” Shaw said. “But I think it will endure. It seems to ebb and flow and every 10 years or so there seems to be renewed attention in it. Now, if the government releases any new classified material from back then that could pick interest back up depending on what’s in it.
“From this point on though, I think it becomes strictly a history thing now. You can’t arrest anybody at this point if it was a conspiracy. It’s too late and that time has passed.”
Even though the 50th anniversary has passed, Layland Educator Bettye Cook said the topic of Kennedy’s assassination remains timely.
“With all the questions and controversies still swirling around the subject I think Gary’s research and thoughts on the matter remain a very appropriate topic for today and one I think a lot of people are still interested in,” Cook said. “It’s still a very big question in people’s minds I think even more than 50 years later.”
For information on this and other Layland Museum events and programs, call 817-645-0940 or visit the Layland Museum of History Facebook page.