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Anniversary Series

The Golden Anniversary Series commemorates the landmark political events of the 1960s with programs, symposia, television documentaries, public lectures, travel opportunities and teaching resources offered by the Center for Politics to a nationwide audience. In addition to public events and lectures, the Center for Politics will create new lesson plans and other teaching resources for distribution through its national network of teachers who participate in the Center for Politics’ Youth Leadership Initiative.

On March 18, 2011, the Center for Politics examined the legacy of John F. Kennedy’s carefully crafted public image, Camelot and the evolution of political image-making in presidential campaigns. "JFK & Camelot: Political Image-Making" featured Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, Slate's chief political correspondent John Dickerson, Republican strategist Frank Donatelli, presidential scholar Barbara Perry and noted author Richard Reeves.

JFK and Camelot Panelists, Center for Politics
photo credit: Cole Geddy, U.Va. Public Affairs


The series began with a program on music and politics of the 1960s held in April 2010, featuring a performance by Peter Yarrow of legendary folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. In September 2010, the Center for Politics produced a special program with NBC’s Meet the Press on the 50th anniversary of the Great Debates of 1960. In late 2010, the Center and the Virginia Film Festival hosted a screening and panel discussion featuring original members of the 1961 Freedom Rides.

Topics will include landmark civil rights marches and speeches, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign in 1964, the Vietnam War, the start of Ronald Reagan’s political career and the election of Richard Nixon, with many more covered along the way.

"The political events of the 1960s forever altered American society in both positive and negative ways. Beginning with the first televised presidential debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960 all the way through Woodstock and the Moon Landing of 1969, the 1960s were among the most politically transformative years in American history."

Larry J. Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics

With support from:

  • Harvard University’s Institute of Politics
  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
  • PBS Community Ideas Stations
  • Richard Nixon Foundation
  • University of Virginia Art Museum
  • Virginia Film Festival