The first phase of a website, www.jamesbonovan.com, is dedicated to James Britt Donovan's legacy of ideas and action, as they relate to his role in the Bay of Pigs/Cuban prisoner negotiations and subsequent release. The web design team, www.Section101.com, worked to the last minute before the holiday to make this happen in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of this historic milestone where Donovan played the starring role on behalf of the Cuban Families Committee and the Kennedy Administration. On December 22, 2012, Donovan's daughter, Mary Ellen Donovan Fuller Fletcher spoke at the Bay of Pigs Museum in front of an audience of prominent Cuban-Americans and the Mayor of Miami at a ceremony commemorating the anniversary. A picture of Donovan now hangs in the Museum, and a letter from Mary Ellen, printed in the Miami Herald on December 21, appears on the home page.
Fifty years ago, Donovan was greeted in Miami by President Kennedy, along with the press and jubilant Cuban-Americans, upon his successful negotiations for the release of thousands of prisoners. He then flew on Air Force Two to Plattsburgh Air Force Base (now known as Plattsburgh International Airport), where he was greeted by members of the press. He then held a press conference at the Lake Placid Club Golf House, part of the storied Lake Placid Club, founded by Melville Dewey (of the Dewey Decimal System), where Donovan was on the Board and the President of the Lake Placid Club Education Foundation. My family is very lucky to have a home in that very special Little Village nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, www.lakeplacid.com, which has not only hosted two Olympic Games and is the home of the greatest moment in sports history, but also the home of history of another kind.
Had Donovan and JFK lived, I firmly believe the United States would be in a very different position with Cuba. Donovan forged a very strong relationship with Castro upon this very intense negotiation over the months following the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion. He died in 1970 at the age of 53: a life cut way too short with so much more to accomplish. That said, what he did achieve in such a short lifetime is remarkable and exemplary for current and future generations. The site shows just one part of history where he played the starring role, and there is much more to come.