The Raleigh Call:  Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK Assassination

By Kelly Agan, N.C. Government & Heritage Library, 2015

Late in the evening of November 23, 1963 as the clock neared midnight in Raleigh, an attempt was allegedly made at the Dallas County jail on behalf of Lee Harvey Oswald to contact one or two phone numbers in the 919 area code.  The day before Oswald had been arrested for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

What has come to be dubbed the “Raleigh Call” went unrecorded in the Warren Commission investigation that began the same month.  Later in the 1960s, one of the Dallas County switchboard operators on duty that night allegedly shared a story about the call with authorities.  The story goes that the operator reported that she had been asked to call two numbers in Raleigh, although without success, and then threw away the memo slip from the fruitless calls, later recreating a slip as a souvenir that included two phone numbers along with the name “John Hurt.” 

Little has come of the story, and mysteries surrounding the call have contributed to assassination conspiracy theories.  In July 1980, both the Raleigh Spectator and the News and Observer printed articles attempting to expose details about the call, its related personalities and chain of events.  And still the “Raleigh Call” and an Oswald connection to Raleigh remain an unsolved mystery.


Proctor, Grover B. “Oswald’s Raleigh Call.” Raleigh Spectator (Raleigh, N.C.), July 24, 1980.

Smith, Pat. “Oswald May have tried to call Raleigh man from Dallas Jail.” News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), July 17, 1980.

Grover B. Proctor, Jr. Website. The JFK Assassination.

Benson, Randolph. “JFK, Oswald and the Raleigh connection.” Indy Week

JFK Assassination Records.  National Archives.

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