Capping a lifelong interest in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Rappahannock Community College faculty member Jack Moore (associate professor, Administration of Justice) traveled to Dallas to take part in a solemn memorial observance on the event’s 50th anniversary, November 22. A cross-section of historians and conspiracy theorists were present in order to learn more or to validate their theories about what happened that day; Moore, who is a frequent guest on WNIS-Radio’s Macrini Morning News, reported on the occasion in a live interview for the show.
“During the ceremony,” says Moore, “I looked around and saw people of all ages. Many were young — too young to have been alive at the time of the event. But just as with me, they were there because the event influenced their path in life. They were there to discover more about this single day in history that had such an impact on how they grew up in America.”
Moore’s interest in Kennedy’s death began at the age of five, when his mother suggested that a family vacation to the nation’s capital include a stop at the Kennedy gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery. She was reading a book about the assassination at the time, and continued over the next several years to save newspaper clippings and read all the available books on the subject. By the time Moore was thirteen he had come to share her fascination, especially when a film of the shooting, captured by private citizen Abraham Zapruder, was shown on television for the first time.
This fascination was reflected in Moore’s study of that particular period of history, during his undergraduate and graduate career at Gardner-Webb University and then at Old Dominion University. He wrote his master’s thesis on “Historiographical Survey of Kennedy Assassination Literature,” and traveled to Dallas eight times between 1990 and 2013 in order to expand his knowledge of the case.
Moore graduated from Regent University School of Law in 1997, practicing law in the Tidewater area until he decided to pursue his dream of coaching and teaching; in 2008, he joined RCC as the baseball coach and administrative justice instructor. He is still very much interested in the Kennedy assassination as an historical mystery, especially because it touched every aspect of American life at the time. The RCC class he teaches on the subject is presented either as a history course (HIS 295—Topics in History) or an administration of justice course (ADJ 164—Case Studies in Murder/Violent Crime), depending on the student’s curriculum. Its value for history students lies in the perspective they gain about the social, cultural, and political circumstances that surrounded the assassination. For administration of justice students, the Kennedy assassination is the most-studied violent crime in history, and sets the investigative basis for many other criminal cases.
“From a historical perspective,” says Moore, “many have written that the United States lost its innocence that day, via a cascading series of historic events that came to a confluence that was the assassination. November 22 was a tragedy that crystallized all these thoughts, beliefs, and deeds in a few horrific moments.”