Kennedy speaks to West Virginia coal miners April 25, 1960. courtesy of LIFE magazine
Kennedy, from boyhood to manhood, had never known hunger. Now, arriving in West Virginia from a brief rest in the sun in the luxury of Montego Bay, he could scarcely bring himself to believe that human beings were forced to eat and live on these cans of dry relief ration, which he fingered like artifacts of another civilization. "Imagine,"he said to one of his assistants one night, "just imagine kids who never drink milk." Of all the emotional experiences of his pre-convention campaign, Kennedy's exposure to the misery of the mining fields probably changed him most as a man; and as he gave tongue to his indignation, one could sense him winning friends.
From the book, The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H. White