Passing the torch: 50 years after President Kennedy's inauguration

January 20, 2011

Produced by Katie O'Brien

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(AP/file)
Fifty years ago, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States.
(Photo courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)
1960 campaign button.
(Photo courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)
President Kennedy's inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1961.
(Photo courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)
The crowd listened as President Kennedy called for a passing of the torch.
(Photo by Turgeon Studios courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)
A young lieutenant John F. Kennedy and his brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. two years before Joseph's death in 1944.
(Photo courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)
Lt. John F. Kennedy aboard the PT-109 in the South Pacific, 1943.
(Photo by Cecil Stoughton courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)
President Kennedy and his younger brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy confer outside the White House, 1962.
(Photo by Abbie Rowe courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)
A newly-inaugurated President Kennedy and the first lady enter the inaugural ball.
(Photo by Cecil Stoughton courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)
President Kennedy with daughter Caroline and son John Jr. in the Oval Office, 1962.
(Photo by Robert Knudsen courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library)
Writer Carol Felsenthal said a classic image like this one could be, 'Right out of a 2011 ad from Vanity Fair.'

Thursday is the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. And as far away in time and place as that event sounds, some argue that Chicago can take a little credit – that Kennedy might not have been president without former Mayor Richard J. Daley and his very public support.

To celebrate the milestone, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum released digital copies of its archives. "Eight Forty-Eight" listened to tape from his epic inaugural address to a civic luncheon in Chicago and found more than a few gems. And that some things never change.

To honor the silver anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, the show revisited significant moments of his presidency and had experts reflect on his legacy.

The voices of former Federal Communications Commission chair Newton Minow, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Lonnie Bunch, writer Carol Felsenthal and the executive director of the ACLU of Illinois Colleen Connell.