JFK Assassination Timeline

Video highlights from Killing Kennedy

October 31, 1959
The 20-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald visits the United States Embassy in Moscow and attempts to renounce his U.S. citizenship in a meeting with Second Secretary and Consul Richard E. Snyder.

January 2, 1960
John F. Kennedy announces his candidacy for president from the Senate Caucus Room in Washington, D.C.

January 4, 1960
Oswald is told he is being sent to Minsk, Soviet Union, where he would work at a radio and television factory.

November 8, 1960
Kennedy defeats Richard Nixon by a razor-thin margin of two-tenths of one per cent to become president of the United States. He makes history as the youngest elected president and the first Roman Catholic ever elected to the office.

February 13, 1961
Oswald contacts the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to inform them he wants to return to the United States.

March 17, 1961
Oswald is introduced to Marina Prusakova at a dance hall in Minsk.

April 17, 1961
A group of CIA-trained and -funded Cuban refugees launches an unsuccessful invasion intended to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Known as the Bay of Pigs invasion, the failure would leave Kennedy looking vulnerable and indecisive and would further embolden Castro’s cause in the region and beyond.

April 30, 1961
Oswald and Marina are married in Minsk. Their first daughter, June Lee, is born on February 15, 1962.

October 14, 1962
U.S. military aircraft surveillance photos show conclusive evidence that a Soviet missile battery is under construction near San Cristobal, Cuba.

June 1, 1962
The Oswalds leave for America with a promissory note from the embassy for $435.71. They arrive in Fort Worth, Texas, two weeks later, where they will live with Oswald’s brother Robert.

June 26, 1962
Oswald is interviewed by the FBI for the first time.

October 22, 1962
Kennedy addresses the nation as the threat of Soviet missiles in Cuba nears its peak, and orders a blockade of Soviet ships travelling into Cuba.

February 22, 1963
The Oswalds meet Ruth Paine, who would later take Marina and the children in to her house, where Oswald would visit on weekends in the time leading up to the assassination.

March 12, 1963
Oswald purchases a 6.5 MM Mannlicher-Carcano rifle — mail ordered from Klein’s Sporting Goods. The price including shipment was $21.95. He picks up the rifle and a revolver he had previously ordered, on March 25. He is later photographed by Marina holding both of these weapons in the backyard of their Neeley Street home along with a copy of The Militant newspaper, which named ex-U.S. General Edwin A. Walker a “Fascist.”

April 10, 1963
Oswald allegedly attempts the assassination of Walker, shooting at him through a kitchen window but missing. Oswald is later implicated in the crime due to a handwritten letter he writes to Marina that details what she should do in the event of his capture.

April 24, 1963
Oswald moves to New Orleans, where Marina and June would later join him.

July/August 1963
Oswald claims to work for an activist organization called the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee,” in New Orleans. He is seen passing out pamphlets on the street and on August 9, he becomes engaged in a physical altercation with anti-Castro movement supporters. Oswald spends the night in jail on a charge of disturbing the peace.

August 9, 1963
The Kennedys’ infant son Patrick Bouvier Kennedy dies at Boston Children’s Hospital of hyaline membrane disease, now known as respiratory distress syndrome. He is just two days old.

September 1963
Oswald travels to Mexico City in an attempt to convince officials there to allow him to travel to Cuba. He learns that he must obtain a Soviet visa in order to do this. He is ultimately denied by both embassies.

September 26, 1963
The White House announces Kennedy’s upcoming trip to Dallas in November.

October 16, 1963
Lee begins a job as an order clerk at the Texas Schoolbook Depository in Dallas.

November 1, 1963
FBI agent James Hosty interviews Ruth Paine and Marina at the Paine home. Oswald later warns the Bureau and Agent Hosty to leave his family alone.

November 21, 1963
Oswald asks co-worker Buell Wesley Frazier for a ride to visit Marina, and to pick up curtain rods for his boarding house in Oak Cliff. He attempts to reconcile with Marina, but the evening ends in another argument. Frazier reports that the next morning Oswald was carrying a package that he claims contains the curtain rods he had mentioned the evening before.

November 22, 1963
11:37 a.m. – The president and his wife, Jackie, arrive to a cheering crowd at Love Field in Dallas. The presidential motorcade begins to make its way toward downtown Dallas, where an estimated crowd of 200,000 people have lined the parade route, which is scheduled to end with a major speech at the Dallas Trade Mart.
12:30 p.m. – As the motorcade turns west onto Elm Street in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza, just five minutes from its destination, shots ring out. Kennedy is mortally wounded and Texas Governor John Connally suffers serious wounds as well.
12:32 p.m. – Oswald is confronted by Dallas patrolman Marrion Baker in the lunchroom of the Schoolbook Depository Building. The building’s superintendent, Roy Truly, vouches for him, and he is released.
1:00 p.m. – Kennedy, age 46, is pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital.
1:12 p.m. – Based on reports from witnesses, police search the Texas School Book Depository. Near a southeast corner window on the sixth floor, they find a barricade of boxes, three spent bullet cartridges and a paper bag. A few minutes later, they find a rifle stuffed between boxes near the staircase. Oswald’s palm and fingerprints are later found on two boxes.
1:18 p.m. – Police receive a report that Dallas patrolman J.D. Tippit has been shot and killed in the Oak Cliff section of the city, just south of downtown.
1:55 p.m. – A witness to the Tippit shooting leads police to the Texas Theatre, where Oswald is arrested after a brief struggle.
2:38 p.m. – Aboard Air Force One, which is on its way back to Washington, D.C, and carrying Kennedy’s body, Lyndon B. Johnson is officially sworn in as the 36th president of the United States.
7:10 p.m. – After several interrogations and two police line-ups, Oswald is formally arraigned for the murder of Tippit.
11:26 p.m. – Oswald is charged with the murder of Kennedy.

November 23, 1963
12:05 a.m. – Oswald makes his first appearance in front of the media and denies responsibility for the crimes. Later in the day he would visit with family, undergo further questioning and meet with the president of the Dallas Bar Association about legal representation.

November 24, 1963
11:15 a.m. – Oswald is signed out of jail and preparations are made to transfer him to a county facility.
11:21 a.m. – Oswald is shot and killed by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas City Jail.
Oswald is pronounced dead just after 1:00 p.m. at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

November 25, 1963
After lying in state for a day, an estimated 800,000 people lined the streets to watch the procession of Kennedy’s coffin from the Capitol to St. Matthews Church to its final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery. On the same day, Oswald is buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas.


 
 

Discuss this article

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit