Washington (March 11, 2022) –Today, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) introduced a bicameral congressional resolution to formally mark the life and legacy of Lowell native and esteemed author Jack Kerouac in advance of his 100th birthday this Saturday.
“On his 100th birthday, it’s fitting that we recognize our beatnik Bay Stater Jack Kerouac as a cultural force that shaped a generation,” said Senator Markey. “Massachusetts has always been at the forefront of the social and literary movements of our time, and as leader of the Beat Generation literary movement, Jack Kerouac is one of our most shining examples. His influence reaches from his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts around the globe, and I’m proud to join Congresswoman Trahan and Senator Warren in honoring his legacy.”
“Jack Kerouac bravely served our nation during World War II and helped ignite a literary and social movement through his work, and he never lost touch of his local Lowell, MA roots,” said Senator Warren. “I'm glad to support this resolution with Congresswoman Lori Trahan and Senator Markey for his 100th birthday.”
“Anyone growing up in Lowell knows just how much of an institution Jack Kerouac is — not just here in the Mill City, but across the nation,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “Decades after the publication of his most famous novels, many of which use our city as the backdrop, Jack Kerouac continues to be an inspiration to Lowell natives of all ages. As we join together as a community to commemorate his 100th birthday, I’m proud to partner with Senators Markey and Warren to introduce a resolution honoring his tremendous contributions to America’s literary canon.”
The son of French-Canadian immigrants, Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac – better known as Jack Kerouac – was born in Lowell on March 12th, 1922. A graduate of Lowell High School, he earned a football scholarship to Columbia University before returning home to Lowell and briefly covering sports for The Lowell Sun. At the age of 20, he served during World War II as a Merchant Marine. It was during his deployment that he wrote his first novel, The Sea Is My Brother. After his honorable discharge, Kerouac settled down in New York and began his literary career.
Kerouac’s work, including the publication of his internationally acclaimed On the Road, helped ignite the “Beat Generation,” a literary and social movement following the war that rebuked traditional values and materialism. The Beat movement would come to dominate popular media and culture in the 1950s and 1960s, but Kerouac never lost touch with his roots in Lowell, frequently returning to his hometown and using the Mill City as a backdrop for many of his novels. Following his passing in 1969, Kerouac was laid to rest in Edson Cemetery in Lowell.
The resolution introduced today builds on the request that Trahan, Markey, and Warren led last year to honor Kerouac with a commemorative stamp. The U.S. Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee is currently considering that request.