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Bob Dylan accepting Tom Paine Award Back

The Tom Paine Award, 1963

Weeks after John F. Kennedy was gunned down by an assassin, the Emergency Civil Liberties Union presented Bob Dylan with the Tom Paine Award. This was the height of his protest-song phase and they expected a dutiful speech.

That's not what they got. "I got to admit that the man who shot President Kennedy, Lee Oswald, I don't know exactly where – what he thought he was doing, but I got to admit honestly that I too – I saw some of myself in him," he said to gasps. "I don't think it would have gone – I don't think it could go that far. But I got to stand up and say I saw things that he felt, in me – not to go that far and shoot."

Shortly afterward, he was forced to issue a statement making it clear that he didn't truly identify with Oswald.

(Source: Rolling Stone Magazine)