Why did the Dallas leadership fear Communism, Civil Rights, and John F. Kennedy?     

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It's a bit too restrictive to speak of a specifically Dallas-oriented fear of Kennedy personally or of "movements" gaining power at the time. Of the three things you name, the one which at that time (1963) was more universally thought of as a danger was communism. Kennedy himself believed in...

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It's a bit too restrictive to speak of a specifically Dallas-oriented fear of Kennedy personally or of "movements" gaining power at the time. Of the three things you name, the one which at that time (1963) was more universally thought of as a danger was communism. Kennedy himself believed in the "domino theory" that the communists, if not stopped from taking over one country, such as South Vietnam, would then cause other countries, similarly, to fall like a row of dominoes and, eventually, "take over the world." So, even liberal Democrats at that moment in history considered the Soviet Union a kind of Great Satan.

Kennedy himself was viewed as a danger in the southern US, not because he was potentially "soft on communism" (which he definitely was not), but because of the civil rights issue. Most southerners in 1963 still belonged to the Democratic party, but ever since FDR and his agenda of greater liberalism and inclusiveness, the party had begun to split between the conservative southern "Dixiecrat" orientation, and the northern progressivism that eventually won out. The civil rights struggle of the fifties and sixties, for the most part supported by President Kennedy and his brother Robert as Attorney General, was violently opposed by many southern whites. Kennedy as president was a focal point of that opposition, so there were, in fact, antagonistic feelings toward him in Dallas and among southern white people generally.

Interestingly, though conspiracy theorists have advanced a multitude of ideas about Kennedy's assassination, the idea that southern racists were behind it does not seem to have been expressed to any great extent. Usually the theories focus on some element of the CIA or the military-industrial complex in general, or on organized crime, as the culprits. The Dallas leadership named in your question had no obvious connections with these other elements.

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In the 1950s and early 1960s, Dallas was a hotbed of conservatism and anti-Communist fear. The city became the regional headquarters of the John Birch Society, which espoused the idea that Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower were pawns of the Communist Party. The founder of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch, believed that Communists controlled the Civil Rights movement and John F. Kennedy. Right-wing extremists popularized the idea in Dallas that Kennedy had sold out to traitors, and, though these leaders represented a fringe group, they swayed public opinion against Kennedy.

Other leaders, such as H.L. Hunt, the Republican Texas oil tycoon, also helped sway public opinion against Kennedy. Hunt was anti-Catholic and had been active in circulating anti-Catholic literature during Kennedy's campaign. Hunt and other Texas oilmen were afraid that Kennedy would repeal the oil depletion allowance that represented a large tax break for them, and they were very opposed to his regulation of business. Edwin Walker, a former Army general who resigned in 1961, also lived in Dallas and propagated anti-Communist beliefs. With Hunt's backing, Walker ran for Governor of Texas as a rabid segregationist and lost. In April of 1963, a few months before Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, Oswald bizarrely also tried to kill Walker but failed. The right-wing leaders in Dallas were also opposed to the United Nations, and Adlai Stevenson, the U.S. envoy to the U.N., was heckled and harassed when he gave a speech in Dallas in October of 1963, a month before Kennedy was shot. By the time Kennedy visited Dallas in November of 1963, public opinion and opinion in the Dallas press was running high against him, though many friendly crowds showed up before his assassination on November 22, 1963.  

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