By Stevie Hall*
John F. Kennedy’s consistently proposed new opportunities for America and its youth. Much of his legislation agenda still survives. Today, let us take a moment to reflect on the impact of legislation of a president determined to desegregate the nation, control juvenile crimes, and broaden education.
Kennedy, an advocate for desegregation, focused on ways to make African Americans and White Americans equal. Kennedy felt that every citizen should be able to enjoy the freedoms of being an American regardless of one’s race. This included Kennedy appointing many African Americans to work in many federal positions, a rare occurrence at that time. Although Kennedy pledged to end segregation, he unfortunately could not see his dream unfold into the Civil Rights Law of 1964 due to his assassination.
President Kennedy also felt strongly about the juvenile delinquencies in the United States. Therefore, in 1961, the Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Offenses Control Act was passed to provide federal assistance to projects that aimed at the prevention of juvenile crimes. In this legislation, grants were created for local, state, and other public non-profit organizations and institutions with efforts to control juvenile crime.
During Kennedy’s term, numerous educational acts were signed into effect. Many laws permitting scholarships to be awarded to groups such as foreign citizens, children of disabled veterans, and members of the armed forces went into effect to allow these groups to receive educational assistance or scholarships. These opportunities created a way for many to afford the education they wanted to pursue. Other educational developments included the Health Professions Educational Assistance Act of 1963 that began construction for facilities to train health care professionals such as doctors and dentists, and to educate the hearing impaired.
President Kennedy began a “New Frontier” for America and its youth, by ppromoting equal opportunities, crime control, and educational assistance. His dedicated efforts to advance the country are still prevalent in today’s legislation and have created opportunities for many.