Did JFK die in the heartland? by Tony Garcia
Answer by Tony Garcia:
Hmm… “Heartland” is a term with a pliable definition. The Heartland website defines heartland as the Midwest(1). Those 14 states certainly touch no ocean, though a few do border on the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. So, by this narrow definition, the answer to your question would be no.
Wikipedia’s definition, on the other hand, is far more broad, insisting that any state not touching an ocean is the heartland; this would include Texas, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. Though it does not touch an ocean, it does significantly kiss the Gulf of Mexico, which is one of many gulfs of the Caribbean Sea, which itself is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean.(2) Here then, the answer to your question is yes.
The website Reference.com initially excludes southern states touching the Gulf of Mexico as well as Texas.(3) The website does offer a small caveat whereby the Deep South need not feel that their agricultural contribution is to the nation is lost upon the more narrow-minded mapmakers. Under this meaning, the answer is an emphatic no.
Generally, I tend to think of the heartland of the U.S. as those states whose borders touch no oceans or immense lakes—Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, West Virginia, Kentucky, Iowa, Tennessee… Well, you get the picture.
While I have heard many Texans describe their state as though it were pre-1850 when is was the Republic of Texas, a sovereign country in North America(4), I guess that, in its broadest sense, one could consider Texas as part of the heartland. Though I do remember that, at the time of President Kennedy’s assassination, Dallas was known as “the city of hate.”(5)