The Kennedy Detail
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Friday, December 16, 2011

JFK and the African Student Airlift

"Education is, in truth, the only key to genuine African independence and progress."

— Senator John F. Kennedy, February 12, 1960

At a key point in the 1960 presidential campaign, a dynamic young leader from Kenya named Tom Mboya visited Senator John F. Kennedy. Mboya led a campaign of his own that would eventually bring hundreds of African students to America for higher education, including Barack Obama Sr., President Obama's father. Kennedy's decision to support the effort became an issue in the election and possibly a factor in his narrow victory.

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