Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 18, 1939, the third son of Marguerite Claverie Oswald. His father, Robert Lee Oswald, had died of a heart attack two months earlier. Young Oswald was placed in a Lutheran orphanage at the age of three, but he was removed when his mother left for Dallas in January 1944 and remarried. His schooling began in Benbrook, Texas, but he reentered the first grade in Covington, Louisiana, in 1946; he continued his education in Fort Worth in January 1947, as a result of his mother's separation and divorce. After he and his mother moved to New York in August 1952, he became a chronic truant and was placed under psychiatric care. They moved again to New Orleans in January 1954; in 1955 Oswald left school and tried unsuccessfully to join the Marine Corps. He found a job and used his spare time to pursue his growing interest in communist literature. He returned to Fort Worth with his mother in July of the following year and in October 1956 joined the Marine Corps. He served fifteen months overseas, mostly in Japan; later he served in California. After an appeal based on the illness of his mother, he was released early from the service in September 1959. A month later Oswald left for the Soviet Union, entering through Finland. He tried to commit suicide when ordered out of Russia, but while attempting to renounce his United States citizenship he was permitted to remain and work in a Russian radio factory. On April 30, 1961, he married Marina Nikolaevna Prusakova. A daughter was born in February 1962, and in June, after prolonged efforts, Oswald was allowed to return with his family to the United States. He lived in Fort Worth until October, when he moved to Dallas. On April 10, 1963, he attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker at the latter's home; the bullet missed Walker by inches. In late April, upon his return to New Orleans, Oswald organized a so-called Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He went to Mexico in September in an unsuccessful effort to get a visa to Cuba and the Soviet Union, and he returned in October to Dallas. A second daughter was born at that time.
Oswald was arrested on November 22, 1963, and later charged with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the murder of policeman J. D. Tippit. It was alleged that Oswald positioned himself in a sixth-story window of the Texas School Book Depository and there fired on the motorcade of President Kennedy and Governor John B. Connally. It was also claimed that Oswald killed J. D. Tippit shortly after the assassination while resisting arrest. Oswald was finally arrested in a movie theater that same day in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Two days later, on November 24, Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby in the basement of the city jail while being transferred to the county jail. He was buried in Fort Worth. See alsoKENNEDY ASSASSINATION.
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Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Washington: GPO, 1964).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Outlaws, Criminals, Prostitutes, Gamblers, and Rebels
Texas Post World War II
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Oswald, Lee Harvey,”
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