Illinois History Minutes

October 28 Illinois History Minute


It’s October 28th, a day in 1960 when two presidential campaigns came to central Illinois.

A special train carrying Vice-President Richard Nixon on a whistle-stop tour pulled into Tuscola that morning, where some 4,000 university students, townspeople, farmers and the Tuscola High School band had gathered to hear the Republican candidate, according to the Daily Illini.

The University of Illinois student newspaper noted that prior to the arrival of Nixon’s train, “a group of University coeds lined up against the restraining ropes

bearing banners and hats with slogans supporting Nixon. University Young Republicans also were in force with dozens of Nixon-Lodge campaign signs.”

Meanwhile, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt campaigned for Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy at the University of Illinois. At a news conference prior to her speech at the Latzer Hall YMCA, Mrs. Roosevelt was asked about Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s recent appearance before the United Nations, where he clashed with Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, and at one point reportedly banged his shoe on a table in anger in an exchange with a delegate from the Philippines.

"Well, I think Mr. Khrushchev had every intention, if he couldn't get his own way, to wreck the United Nations if he could, because he's not accustomed to not getting his own way,” said Mrs. Roosevelt, who was a staunch supporter of the world body.

“And I think (Khrushchev) left it stronger than ever before, and in this country had a marvelous effect,” said Mrs. Roosevelt. “Because I find wherever I go, I don't have to explain any more about the United Nations. Suddenly, there is a tremendous interest, and everybody knows about it.”