"A Rush to Judgment" Explores Overlooked Piece of the Warren Commission

Submitted by Jan Hebbard on Mon, 11/13/2017

When: 4:30-6:30pm, Thursday November 16th.

Where: Auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries at the University of Georgia
 

What happens when the documents that preserve our collective history are lost or excluded from the official record? A panel discussion Nov. 16 takes up this question and more in the context of U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell’s role on the Warren Commission which investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Titled, “A Rush to Judgment? The Warren Commission and the Dissent of Richard Russell,” the event will feature a conversation among three former aides who worked in Russell’s office during the 1960s. Charles Campbell, Earl Leonard, and Powell Moore will explore the reasons for Russell’s dissent from the final report of the commission and his reaction when he learned of the exclusion of that dissent from official records housed at the National Archives.   

The talk will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries at the University of Georgia. A light reception will follow the program. The event is free and open to the public.

Charles Campbell, past chair and current member of the Richard B. Russell Foundation, Inc. recalls that Russell’s service was not something he liked to speak about.

“There was obviously a serious split among members of the Warren Commission. One faction led by Chief Justice Warren thought that the national interest lay in providing definitive answers that eliminated the possibility of a conspiracy. The other faction led by Sen. Russell believed that the national interest required a thorough investigation that followed the facts wherever they led,” said Campbell. Russell had misgivings about the final report which concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone.

In 1968 Russell learned from a researcher that there was no evidence in the commission’s official records of his written dissent, the debate it prompted, or the changes made in the final report as a result. According to Campbell, “If Sen. Russell had not seen to it that all of his records were preserved for history at UGA, there would be no remaining documentation.”

Sheryl Vogt, director of the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, says this event has long been on her wish list for programming and now the timing felt right.

“Like Russell, the American public has never been fully satisfied with the Warren report. I have always thought the story of Russell’s frustration at being in what he called an ‘untenable position’ was one worth examination. Since a new group of classified records from the investigation of the assassination were released in July and August, now seemed the perfect time to take up the Senator’s misgivings, as seen by those closest to him during his time on the commission.”

For more information contact Jan Hebbard at (706) 542-5788 or jhebbard@uga.edu.

For more information on parking, visit: http://www.libs.uga.edu/scl/visit/parking.html

Contact: Jan Hebbard, jhebbard@uga.edu, 706-542-5788

 

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