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September 22, 2015

U.Va. Miller Center, Edward M. Kennedy Institute to Release Kennedy Oral History Sept. 30

Kickoff Event to Feature Labor Sec. Perez, Historian Michael Beschloss & Others

The University of Virginia’s Miller Center and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate will release the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Project on Wed., Sept. 30. The project features 20 interviews with Kennedy about his Senate career, which spanned almost five decades and ten presidential administrations. It also includes nearly 250 interviews with family, friends, colleagues, foreign leaders, journalists, and staffers.

Transcripts of interviews will be available on Sept. 30 at 12:01AM EDT and jointly hosted at and

On the day of the release, former colleagues, staffers, and historians will gather in Washington, DC for an event celebrating the project and recognizing Sen. Kennedy’s commitment to civil rights throughout his career. This event will start at 3 p.m. and take place in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room, located in room 325 of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Co-Founder and President of the Board of Directors of the EMK Institute and will deliver welcome remarks.

Historian Michael Beschloss will deliver an address, and PBS NewsHour Co-anchor Judy Woodruff will moderate a panel discussion on Kennedy’s work on civil rights. Panelists include:

  • Senator Alan Simpson, former U.S. Senator
  • Senator Chris Dodd, former U.S. Senator
  • Representative John Lewis, U.S. Congressman
  • Margaret Spellings, former Education Secretary and President of the George W. Bush Presidential Center
  • Barbara Perry, Director of the Miller Center’s Kennedy Oral History Project
  • Melody Barnes, former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, former Chief Counsel to Senator Kennedy

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who worked for Senator Kennedy for several years, will deliver closing remarks.

If you are interested in covering the release event, please email or call one of the contacts below.

The Kennedy Oral History Project was launched in 2004. The interviews with Kennedy cover a broad range of topics, including his pre-Senate years, relationship with his brothers, rise in the Senate, political style, Senate and presidential campaigns, public causes, and legacy.

In addition to interviews with Kennedy, scholars interviewed others who knew him throughout his life. Interviewees whose transcripts are being released include Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, former Democratic Presidential Candidate Michael Dukakis, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain, former Vice President Walter Mondale, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Theodore Sorensen, speechwriter for President John F. Kennedy, and many others.

The Miller Center also has conducted the oral histories of Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. These interview transcripts are available at The Center is currently working on the oral history of George W. Bush.

Contacts: Kristy Schantz, 202-744-1109,
Daniel Reilly, 617-740-7000,
Natalie Boyle, 617-740-7000,

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