How Racism Affects Our Understanding of November 22
A new take on what Secret Service agent Paul Landis saw in Dealey Plaza
David Von Pein’s JFK Channel has 48,000 subscribers on YouTube thanks to his invaluable collection of videos of the news coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. As a believer in the government’s beleaguered theory of a “magic bullet” fired by a “lone gunman,” Von Pein is well-informed and influential in many ways.
He is also profoundly ignorant in one important way.
In a recent chat group discussion among JFK researchers, Von Pein objected to the argument that Acquilla Clemons, an African-American eyewitness who disputed that Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, was treated in a racist manner.
Von Pein wrote:
Before today, I have never once heard anybody shout "It's racism!" with respect to Acquilla Clemons (or any other witness associated in any way with the JFK and Tippit murder cases.)
He added dismissively:
Am I alone here in my total ignorance regarding such alleged "racism" on the part of the DPD, FBI, WC, etc.? Because that particular allegation is totally new to me.
DVP, as he is known, is not alone in his “total ignorance” of how racism has shaped our understanding of November 22, 1963. Von Pein surely knows — but seems to have forgotten — the story of Abraham Bolden, the African-American Secret Service agent who was railroaded to prison for criticizing his colleagues’ lack of professionalism while guarding JFK.
Bolden was the only member of the Secret Service to lose his job after Kennedy’s assassination. He also was the only member of the Secret Service who was black. Some people will say this is sheer coincidence. Others will conclude racism was a factor. Still others, like Von Pein, will admit they don’t know much about the role of race in the events of 1963.
Trigger warning: Some people may perceive the following statement of facts as an example of "shouting racism" without justification and may suffer hurt feelings and lowered self-esteem as a result. Proceed at your own risk.