History Expert Weighs In On Significance of JFK Assassination Records Release

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U.S. officials announced Thursday evening how some records in relation to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy would be released, while other files would be held pending review.

Dr. Jeremi Suri, professor of public affairs and history at the University of Texas at Austin, says it’s much-needed insight on what happened in 1963.

“This reminds us that even though we’re a democracy, we have to work harder on transparency,” he said.

Suri also said officials should build a system which automatically releases information, saying “the public has a right to know.” He says these records will provide Texans more insight on what has helped shape the state’s politics.

“It’s not just that the assassination occurred here,” Suri said. “But Lee Harvey Oswald and many of the people involved with the assassination one way or another had a connection to Texas and so the fact that this is all connected to Texas politics and Texas law enforcement means this is a story that’s broader than just the assassination, but really about the development of our state over the last 70 or 80 years.”

The LBJ Presidential Library has an exhibit outlining the the transition of power from President Kennedy to President Lyndon B. Johnson, with artifacts from the day of the assassination. It also features artifacts from the days after the assassination.

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