The Foundation has assembled a team of distinguished scholars, with the assistance of the nationally acclaimed oral historians at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, to preserve for the permanent historical record first-hand knowledge about Jack Kemp’s life and public career. The purpose of this three-year project is to expand and enrich the historical record through personal insights and commentary that would otherwise be lost, and to enable future generations to learn about the America of our time directly from those entrusted with its governance. Through interviews conducted by Morton Kondracke, longtime editor of Roll Call and one of Washington’s most respected journalists, the Jack Kemp Oral History Project will provide an occasion for those who were close to him, whether ally or critic, to reflect on their time in public life, to distill lessons learned and to preserve wisdom gained from their experience.
The first Kemp Oral History symposium was held in Buffalo, New York on March 3, 2011, covering Kemp’s time as Quarterback for the Buffalo Bills and the operations of his Buffalo Congressional office. The second symposium, on the landmark tax legislation of 1981 and 1986, was held at the University of Virginia Miller Center on April 18, 2011. When complete, the oral history archive of individual and group interviews will be deposited with the Library of Congress and made available to researchers online through this website.
Kemp “wasn’t powerful because he held a mighty post, and he never served in the House majority. He helped to transform the Republican Party though he was never its Presidential standard bearer. His influence sprang from the power of his ideas, and from the sincerity and enthusiasm with which he spread them.”
– The Wall Street Journal