Lee Harvey Oswald Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Ashley Davis

Ashley has taught first, fourth, and fifth grades and holds a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Lee Harvey Oswald became a historical figure when he was accused of assassinating a U.S. President. But who was he? This lesson will focus on the Lee Harvey Oswald's life before and after his infamous action.

The Action

Have you ever heard someone say, 'You are known by your actions', or 'Your actions define you?' Well, it's true. Years from now, people likely won't remember what you wore or how your hair looked, but they will probably remember the type of person you were. Your actions, good and bad, are what tell others about you.

Lee Harvey Oswald is no different. He is well-known in American history for his alleged, or assumed, actions in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. What led to his alleged actions on that fatal day? We may never know, but let's look into his past for some clues.

Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald


Lee Harvey Oswald was born on October 18, 1939, in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father died shortly after he was born, and his mother remarried several times during his childhood. At times, Lee Harvey Oswald and his two older brothers would be sent to orphanages because their mother couldn't care for them.

When the family was together, they lived in several different places -- New York, New Orleans, and Texas. Just like it would be today, being a single mother of three children was difficult. His mother worked long hours and had to move often to find work. This led to Lee Harvey Oswald spending a lot of time alone, forming few friendships, and doing a lot of reading.


Oswald's childhood reading taught him about socialism. Socialism is a way of organizing a society so that the wealth is distributed somewhat equally among the people. Oswald became very interest in and supported socialism even though it is very different from the way things are done in America.

Even so, Oswald joined the Marines in 1956. While in the Marines, he was noted for having great accuracy when shooting. But he got in trouble twice in 1958 alone for having weapons that were not allowed and being violent. He left the Marines in 1959.

Shortly after leaving the Marines, Oswald moved to Russia, where he was thought to be a spy for America. While there, he met and married his wife, Marina. Unhappy with life in Russia, he would move back to Dallas, Texas in 1961.

A Turn

Back in America, Oswald's behavior began to take a turn for the worse. He bounced from job to job and place to place, including Dallas, New Orleans, Mexico, and back to Dallas. He also became abusive toward his wife, began ordering guns, and took on an alias, or fake name, Alek J. Hidell.

Oswald began ordering guns.

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