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President Kennedy Dedicates Dam in Arkansas

Oct. 3, 1963 - President Kennedy, visiting Arkansas to dedicate a dam in the “new South,” heard his civil rights proposals branded as “civil wrongs” today by Governor Orval Faubus. The President chose not to respond to the attack. Mr. Faubus received only a smattering of applause when he spoke out against “unworkable proposals for the solution of certain social and political problems” — proposals that he said constituted “civil wrongs.” The Governor evoked prolonged applause later, however, when he said, “The Kennedy Administration is to be commended for its support of a great conservation program.” Governor Faubus was introducing Mr. Kennedy for the main address at the dedication of the Greer’s Ferry Dam and reservoir on the Little Red River, near Heber Springs. The Governor’s remarks on civil rights were unexpected. When Mr. Kennedy arose to address the crowd of about 7,500 on a sun-parched plain above the massive concrete dam, he said somewhat drily that he appreciated “the welcome of the Governor and his references to what we are attempting to do in the field of conservation.” Later, in closing a speech to a well-integrated crowd of about 20,000 at the Little Rock fair grounds, Mr. Kennedy touched briefly on civil rights. “This country has great opportunities and great responsibilities,” he said, “and I hope that this state and others like it will associate together to provide a fairer opportunity for all Americans to realize their talents, to make something of themselves, to give them a fair chance, which is what we stand for and which our Constitution promises.”

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