Robert F. Kennedy Death Of Jfk Content Vintage Original 1966 Typed Letter Signed For Sale
ROBERT F. KENNEDY DEATH OF JFK CONTENT VINTAGE ORIGINAL 1966 TYPED LETTER SIGNED
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DESCRIPTION:RARE & UNUSUAL! Democratic senator and civil rights activistROBERT F. KENNEDY signed typewritten letter on his personal United States Senate letterhead stationery written to Mr. Evan Thomas of Harper & Row Publishers. The warmly written one page letter, dated July 28, 1966, contains excellent and poignant commentary on the death of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. It reads: "Dear Evan: While I have not read William Manchester's account of the death of President Kennedy, I know of the President's respect for Mr. Manchester as an historian and reporter. I understand others have plans to publish books regarding the events of November 22, 1963. As this is going to be the subject matter of a book and since Mr. Manchester in his research had access to more information and sources than any other writer, members of the Kennedy family will place no obstacle in the way of publication of his work. However, if Mr. Manchester's account is published in segments or excerpts, I would expect that incidents would not be taken out of context or summarized in any way which might distort the facts of, or the events relating to President Kennedy's death. Sincerely, Robert F. Kennedy." Signed in black ink fountain pen.
The signature is dark, and prominent with excellent contrast.
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ROBERT F. KENNEDY BIO
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy(November 20, 1925 — June 6, 1968), also referred to by his initialsRFK, was an American politician, New York, and a notedcivil-rightsactivist. An icon ofmodern American liberalismand a member of theKennedy family, he was a younger brother of PresidentJohn F. Kennedy, and he served as the president's chief adviser during his presidency. From 1961 to 1964 he served as theU.S. Attorney General.
Following his brotherJohn's assassination, on November 22, 1963, Kennedy continued to serve as the Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnsonfor nine months. There had long been bad blood between them, so in September 1964 Kennedy resigned to seek a U.S. Senate seat from New York, which he won in November. Within a few years he publicly split with Johnson over theVietnam War.
In March1968Kennedy began a campaign for the presidency and was a front-running candidate of theDemocratic Party, appealing especially to black, Hispanic and Catholic voters. In the California presidential primary, on June 4, Kennedy defeatedEugene McCarthy, the hero of the New Left and student elements in the Democratic Party. That night Kennedy wasshotbySirhan Sirhan, aPalestinian Arab.Mortally wounded, he survived nearly 26 hours, then died early in the morning of June 6.
Bobby was born on November 20, 1925, inBrookline, Massachusetts, the seventh child ofJoseph P. Kennedy, Sr.andRose E. Fitzgerald.
In September 1927, theKennedy familymoved toRiverdale, New York, a neighborhood in theBronx, then two years later, moved 5 miles (8.0km) northeast toBronxville, New York. Bobby spent summers with his family at their home inHyannis Port, Massachusetts, and Christmas and Easter holidays with his family at their winter home inPalm Beach, Florida, purchased in 1933. He attended public elementary school in Riverdale from kindergarten through second grade; thenBronxville School, the public school in Bronxville, from third through fifth grade, repeating the third grade;thenRiverdale Country School, a private school for boys in Riverdale, for sixth grade.
In March 1938, when he was 12, Bobby sailed with his mother and his four youngest siblings to England, where his father had begun serving as ambassador. He attended the private Gibbs School for Boys in London for seventh grade, returning to the U.S. just before the outbreak of war in 1939.
In September 1939, for eighth grade, Bobby attendedSt. Paul's School, an elite privatepreparatoryschool for boys inConcord, New Hampshire.However, he transferred after two months at St. Paul's toPortsmouth Priory School, aBenedictineboarding school for boys inPortsmouth, Rhode Island, for eighth through tenth grades.In September 1942, Kennedy transferred toMilton Academy, a third boarding school inMilton, Massachusetts, for eleventh and twelfth grades.
Six weeks before his eighteenth birthday, Bobby enlisted in theU.S. Naval Reserveas anapprentice seaman,released from active duty until March 1944 when he left Milton Academy early to report to theV-12 Navy College Training ProgramatHarvard Collegein Cambridge, Massachusetts. His V-12 training was at Harvard (March–November 1944);Bates CollegeinLewiston, Maine(November 1944 – June 1945); and Harvard (June 1945 – January 1946). On December 15, 1945, theU.S. Navycommissioned thedestroyerUSS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., and shortly thereafter granted Kennedy's request to be released from naval-officer training to serve starting on February 1, 1946, as an apprentice seaman on the ship'sshakedown cruisein theCaribbean.On May 30, 1946, he received his honorable dischargefrom the Navy.
In September 1946, Kennedy entered Harvard as a junior, having received credit for his time in the V-12 program.Kennedy worked hard to make the as anend, was astarterand scored atouchdownin the first game of his senior year before breaking his leg in practice,earning hisvarsity letterwhen his coach sent him in for the last minutes of a game againstYale, wearing a cast.Kennedy graduated from Harvard with a bachelor's degree ingovernmentin March 1948and immediately sailed off onRMSQueen Marywith a college friend for a six-month tour of Europe and the Middle East, accredited as a correspondent of the Boston Post, for which he filed six stories.Four of these stories, filed fromPalestineshortly before the end of theBritish Mandate, provided a first-hand view of the tensions.He was critical of the British policy in Palestine. Further, he praised the Jewish people he met there "as hardy and tough". Kennedy held out some hope after seeing Arabs and Jews working side by side but, in the end felt the "hate" in Palestine was too strong and would lead to a war.
In September 1948, Kennedy enrolled at theUniversity of Virginia School of June 17, 1950, Kennedy marriedEthel Skakelat St. Mary's Catholic Church inGreenwich, Connecticut. Kennedy graduated from law school in June 1951 and flew with Ethel to Greenwich to stay in his father-in-law's guest house. Kennedy's first child,Kathleen, was born on July 4, 1951,and Kennedy spent the summer studying for the Massachusettsbar exam.
In September 1951, Kennedy went to San Francisco as a correspondent of theBoston Postto cover the convention concluding theTreaty of Peace with Japan.In October 1951, Kennedy embarked on a seven-week Asian trip with his brother John (then Massachusetts 11th districtcongressman) and his sisterPatriciato Israel, India, Vietnam, and Japan.Because of their age gap, the two brothers had previously seen little of each other. This 25,000-mile (40,000km) trip was the first extended time they had spent together and served to deepen their relationship.
In November 1951, Kennedy moved with his wife and daughter to a townhouse inGeorgetownin Washington, D.C., and started work as a lawyer in the Internal Security Section (which investigated suspected Soviet agents) of theCriminal Divisionof theU.S. Department of Justice.In February 1952, he was transferred to theEastern District of New YorkinBrooklynto prosecute fraud cases. On June 6, 1952, Kennedy resigned to manage his brother John's successful1952 U.S. Senate
In December 1952, at the behest of his father, he was appointed McCarthyas assistant counsel of theU.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.He resigned in July 1953, but "retained a fondness for McCarthy."After a period as an assistant to his father on theHoover Commission, Kennedy rejoined the Senate committee staff as chief counsel for the Democratic minority in February 1954.When the Democrats gained the majority in January 1955, he became chief counsel. Kennedy was a background figure in the televisedMcCarthy Hearingsof 1954 into the conduct of McCarthy.
Kennedy worked as an aide toAdlai Stevenson IIduring the1956 presidential electionto learn for a future national campaign by John. The candidate did not impress Kennedy, however, and he voted for incumbentDwight D. soon made a name for himself as the chief counsel of the 1957–59Senate Labor Rackets Committeeunder chairmanJohn L. McClellan. In a dramatic scene, Kennedy squared off withTeamstersunion PresidentJimmy Hoffaduring the antagonistic argument that marked Hoffa's testimony.Kennedy left the Rackets Committee in late 1959 in order to run his brother John's successful presidential campaign.
In 1960, he published the bookThe Enemy Within, describing the corrupt practices within the Teamsters and other unions that he had helped investigate; the book sold very well.
John F. Kennedy's choice of Robert Kennedy as Attorney General following his election victory in 1960 was controversial, withThe New York TimesandThe New Republiccalling him inexperienced and unqualified.He had no experience in any state or federal court,causing the President to joke, "I can't see that it's wrong to give him a little legal experience before he goes out to practice law."Kennedy did have significant experience in studying organized crime. After performing well in the Senate hearing he easily won confirmation in January 1961. Kennedy chose what Schlesinger calls an "outstanding" group of deputy and assistant attorneys general, includingByron WhiteandNicholas Katzenbach.
Hilty concludes that Bobby "played an unusual combination of roles—campaign director, attorney general, executive overseer, controller of patronage, chief adviser, and brother protector" and that nobody before him had such power.His tenure as Attorney General was easily the period of greatest power for the office; no previous United States Attorney General had enjoyed such clear influence on all areas of policy during an administration. To a great extent, President Kennedy sought the advice and counsel of his younger brother, resulting in Robert Kennedy remaining the President's closest political adviser. Kennedy was relied upon as both the President's primary source of administrative information and as a general counsel with whom trust was implicit, given the familial ties of the two men. He exercised widespread authority over every cabinet department, leading the Associated Press to dub him, "Bobby--Washington's No. 2 man."The president once remarked about his brother that, "If I want something done and done immediately I rely on the Attorney General. He is very much the doer in this administration, and has an organizational gift I have rarely if ever seen surpassed."
As one of President Kennedy's closest White House advisers, RFK played a crucial role in the events surrounding theBerlin Crisis of 1961.Operating mainly through a private backchannel connection to Soviet spyGeorgi Bolshakov, RFK relayed important diplomatic communications between the US and Soviet governments.Most significantly, this connection helped the US set up the Vienna Summit in June 1961 and later defuse the tank standoff with the Soviets at Berlin'sCheckpoint Charliein October.
As Attorney General, Kennedy pursued a relentless crusade againstorganized crimeand themafia, sometimes disagreeing on strategy withJ. Edgar Hoover, Director of theFederal Bureau of Investigation(FBI). Convictions against organized-crime figures rose by 800 percent during his term.
Kennedy was relentless in his pursuit ofTeamstersunion PresidentJimmy Hoffa, resulting from widespread knowledge of Hoffa's corruption in financial and electoral actions, both personally and organizationally.The enmity between the two men was intense, with accusations of a personal vendetta being exchanged between the two; in what Hoffa called a "blood feud" between him and Kennedy.In 1964 Hoffa was imprisoned for jury tampering.
Kennedy expressed the administration's commitment to civil rights during a 1961 speech at theUniversity of Georgia Law School:
In 1963,FBI DirectorJ. Edgar Hoover, who viewed civil-rights leaderMartin Luther King, Jr.as an upstart troublemakercalling him an "enemy of the state",presented Kennedy with allegations that some of King's close confidants and advisers that the allegations, if made public, would derail the Administration's civil rights initiatives, Kennedy warned King to discontinue the suspect associations, and later felt compelled to issue a written directive authorizing the FBI to wiretap King and other leaders of theSouthern Christian Leadership Conference, King's civil rights organization.Although Kennedy only gave written approval for limited wiretapping of King's phones "on a trial basis, for a month or so",Hoover extended the clearance so his men were "unshackled" to look for evidence in any areas of King's life they deemed worthy.The wire tapping continued through June 1966 and was revealed in 1968, days before Kennedy's death.
Kennedy remained committed to civil rights enforcement to such a degree that he commented, in 1962, that it seemed to envelop almost every area of his public and private life—from prosecuting corrupt southern electoral officials to answering late night calls fromCoretta Scott Kingconcerning the imprisonment of her husband for demonstrations in Alabama. During his tenure as Attorney General, he undertook the most energetic and persistent desegregation of the administration that Capitol Hill had ever experienced. He demanded that every area of government begin recruiting realistic levels of black and other ethnic workers, going so far as to criticize Vice PresidentLyndon B. Johnsonfor his failure to desegregate his own office staff.
Although it has become commonplace to assert the phrase "The Kennedy Administration" or even "President Kennedy" when discussing the legislative and executive support of the civil rights movement, between 1960 and 1963, a great many of the initiatives that occurred during President Kennedy's tenure were as a result of the passion and determination of an emboldened Robert Kennedy, who through his rapid education in the realities of Southern racism, underwent a thorough conversion of purpose as Attorney General. Asked in an interview in May 1962, "What do you see as the big problem ahead for you, is it Crime or Internal Security?" Robert Kennedy replied, "Civil Rights."The President came to share his brother's sense of urgency on the matters at hand to such an extent that it was at the Attorney General's insistence that he made his famous address to the nation.
Bobby played a large role in the Freedom Riders protests. Kennedy acted after the Anniston bus bombings to protect the Riders in continuing their journey. Kennedy sent John Seigenthaler, his administrative assistant, to Alabama to attempt to secure the riders' safety there. Despite a work rule which allowed a driver to decline an assignment which he regarded as a potentially unsafe one, Kennedy also persuaded a manager ofThe Greyhound Corporationto obtain a coach operator who was willing to drive a special bus for the continuance of the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, on the circuitous journey to Jackson, Mississippi.Later, during the attack and burning by a white mob of the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, at which Martin Luther King Jr. and some 1,500 sympathizers were in attendance, the Attorney General telephoned King to ask his assurance that they would not leave the building until the force ofU.S. MarshalsandNational Guardhe sent had secured the area. King proceeded to berate Kennedy for "allowing the situation to continue". King later publicly thanked Robert Kennedy for his commanding of the force dispatched to break up an attack that might otherwise have ended King's life.
Kennedy then negotiated the safe passage of the Freedom Riders from the First Baptist Church to Jackson Mississippi, where they were arrested.He offered to bail the Freedom Riders out of jail, but they refused. This upset Kennedy, who went as far to call any bandwagoners of the original freedom rides "honkers".
Kennedy's attempts to end the Freedom Rides early were in many ways tied to an upcoming summit with Khrushchev and De Gaulle, believing the continued international publicity of race riots would tarnish the President heading into international negotiations.This reluctance to protect and advance the Freedom Rides alienated many of the Civil Rights leaders at the time who perceived him as intolerant and narrow minded.
In September 1962, he sent U.S. Marshals toOxford, Mississippi, to enforce a federal court order allowing the admittance of the first African American student,James Meredith, to theUniversity of Mississippi. Kennedy had hoped that legal means, along with the escort of U.S. Marshals, would be enough to force GovernorRoss Barnettto allow the school admission. He also was very concerned there might be a "mini-civil war" between the U.S. Army troops and armed protesters.President John F. Kennedy reluctantly sent federal troops after the situation on campus turned the period of Meredith's admittance resulted in hundreds of injuries and two deaths. Yet Kennedy remained adamant concerning the rights of black students to enjoy the benefits of all levels of the educational system. The Office of Civil Rights also hired its first African-American lawyer and began to work cautiously with leaders of thecivil rights movement. Robert Kennedy saw voting as the key to racial justice, and collaborated with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to create the landmarkCivil Rights Act of 1964, which helped bring an end toJim Crow laws.
He was to maintain his commitment to racial equality into his own presidential campaign, extending his firm sense of social justice to all areas of national life and into matters of foreign and economic policy. During a speech atBall State UniversityinMuncie, Indianaon April 4, 1968, Kennedy questioned the student body on what kind of life America wished for herself; whether privileged Americans had earned the great luxury they enjoyed and whether such Americans had an obligation to those, in U.S. society and across the world, who had so little by comparison. It has been argued that although this speech has been largely overlooked and ignored, because of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., it was one of most powerful and heartfelt speeches Kennedy delivered.
After the assassination of his brother Jack, Robert Kennedy undertook a 1966 tour of South Africa in which he championed the cause of the anti-apartheidmovement. The tour was greeted with international praise at a time when few politicians dared to entangle themselves in the politics of South Africa. Kennedy spoke out against the oppression of the native population and was welcomed by the black population as though a visiting head of state. In an interview withLook Magazinehe had this to say:
In South Africa, a group of foreign press representatives chartered an aircraft, after theNational Union of South African Studentsfailed to make sufficient travel arrangements. Kennedy not only accommodated a suspectedSpecial Branchpoliceman on board, but took with good grace the discovery that the aircraft had once belonged toFidel Castro.
Kennedy also used the power of federal agencies to influenceU.S. Steelnot to institute a price increase.The Wall Street Journalwrote that the administration had set prices of steel "by naked power, by threats, by agents of the state security police."Yale law professorCharles Reichwrote inThe New Republicthat the Justice Department had violated civil libertiesby calling a federal grand jury to indict U.S. Steel so quickly, then disbanding it after the price increase did not occur.
During the John F. Kennedy administration, thefederal governmentcarried out its last pre-Furmanfederal execution (Victor FeguerinIowa, 1963)and Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General, represented the Government in this case.
In 1968, Kennedy expressed his strong willingness to support a bill then under consideration for the abolition of the death penalty.
As his brother's confidant, Kennedy oversaw the CIA's anti-Castroactivities after the failedBay of Pigs invasion. He also helped develop the strategy to blockade Cuba during theCuban Missile Crisisinstead of initiating a military strike that might have led to nuclear war. Kennedy had initially been among the more hawkish elements of the administration on matters concerning Cuban insurrectionary aid. His initial strong support for covert actions in Cuba soon changed to a position of removal from further involvement once he became aware of the CIA's tendency to draw out initiatives and provide itself with almost unchecked authority in matters of foreign covert operations.
Allegations that the Kennedys knew of plans by the CIA to killFidel Castro, or approved of such plans, have been debated by historians over the years. John F. Kennedy's friend and associate, historianArthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., for example, expressed the opinion that operatives linked to the CIA were among the most reckless individuals to have operated during the period—providing themselves with unscrutinized freedoms to threaten the lives of Castro and other members of the Cuban revolutionary government regardless of the legislative apparatus in Washington—freedoms that, unbeknownst to those at the White House attempting to prevent a nuclear war, placed the entire U.S.–Soviet relationship in perilous danger.
The "Family Jewels" documents, declassified by the CIA in 2007, suggest that before the Bay of Pigs invasion Robert Kennedy personally authorized one such assassination attempt.However, ample evidence exists disputing that fact, specifically that Robert Kennedy was only informed of an earlier plot involving CIA's use ofMafiabossesSanto Trafficante, Jr.andJohn Roselliduring a briefing on May 7, 1962, and in fact directed the CIA to halt any existing efforts directed at Castro's assassination.Concurrently, Kennedy served as his brother's personal representative inOperation Mongoose, the post-Bay of Pigs covert operations program established in November 1961 by President Kennedy. Mongoose was meant to incite a revolution within Cuba that would result in the downfall of Castro, not Castro's assassination.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy proved himself to be a gifted politician, with an ability to obtain compromises tempering aggressive positions of key figures in the hawk camp. The trust the President placed in him on matters of negotiation was such that Robert Kennedy's role in the crisis is today seen as having been of vital importance in securing a blockade, which averted a full military engagement between the United States and Soviet Russia. His clandestine meetings with members of the Soviet government continued to provide a key link toNikita Khrushchevduring even the darkest moments of the Crisis, in which the threat of nuclear strikes was considered a very present reality.
On the last night of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy was so grateful for his brother's work in averting nuclear war that he summed it up by saying, "Thank God for Bobby".
Theassassination of President Kennedyon November 22, 1963, was a brutal shock to the world, the nation and, of course, Robert and the rest of the Kennedy family. Robert was absolutely devastated, and was described by many as being a completely different man after his brother's death.
In the days following the assassination, Kennedy wrote letters to his two eldest children, Kathleen and Joe, saying that as the oldest Kennedy family members of their generation, they had a special responsibility to remember what their uncle had started and to love and serve their country.
Kennedy was asked byDemocratic Partyleaders to introduce a film about his late brother John F. Kennedy atthe 1964 party convention. When he was introduced, the crowd—including party bosses, elected officials and delegates—applauded thunderously and tearfully for a full 22 minutes before they would let him speak.He was close to breaking down before he spoke about his brother's vision for both the party and the nation, and recited a quote from Shakespeare'sRomeo and Juliet(3.2) that Jacqueline Kennedy had given him:
[...] and when [he] shall die
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
Nine months after President John F. Kennedy's assassination, Robert Kennedy left the Cabinet to run for a seat in theU.S. Senate, representing New York.
President Johnson and Bobby were often at severe odds with each other, both politically and personally, yet Johnson gave considerable support to Bobby's campaign, as he was later to recall in his memoir of theWhite Houseyears.
His opponent in the1964 Keating, who attempted to portray Kennedy as an arrogant carpetbagger. Kennedy emerged victorious in the November election, helped in part by Johnson's huge victory margin in New York. During the campaign he visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe, RabbiMenachem Mendel Schneerson, seeking his blessing and endorsement.
In 1965 Bobby became the first person to summitMount Kennedy.At the time it was the highest mountain in Canada that had not yet been climbed. It was named in honor of his brother Jack after his assassination.
In June 1966, Kennedy visitedapartheid-ruled South Africaaccompanied by his wife,Ethel Kennedy, and a small number of aides. At theUniversity of Cape Townhedelivered the Annual Day of Affirmation speech. A quote from this address appears on his memorial atArlington National Cemetery. ("Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope....")
During his years as a senator, Kennedy also helped to start a successful redevelopment project in Brooklynin New York City, visited theMississippi Deltaas a member of the Senate committee reviewing the effectiveness of 'War on Poverty' programs and, reversing his prior stance, called for a halt in further escalation of theVietnam War.
As Senator, Kennedy endeared himself to African Americans, and other minorities such as Native Americans and immigrant groups. He spoke forcefully in favor of what he called the "disaffected," the impoverished, and "the excluded," thereby aligning himself with leaders of the civil rights struggle and social justice campaigners, leading the Democratic party in a pursuit of a more aggressive agenda to eliminate perceived discrimination on all levels. Kennedy supporteddesegregation busing, integration of all public facilities, theVoting Rights Act of 1965and anti-poverty social programs to increase education, offer opportunities for employment, and provide health care for African-Americans.
The administration of President Kennedy had backed U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world in the frame of the Cold War. While Robert Kennedy vigorously supported President Kennedy's earlier efforts, like his brother he never publicly advocated commitment of ground troops. Senator Kennedy had cautioned President Johnson against commitment of U.S. ground troops as early as 1965, but Lyndon Johnson chose to commit ground troops on recommendation of the rest of President Kennedy's still intact staff of advisers. Robert Kennedy did not strongly advocate withdrawal from Vietnam until 1967, within a week of Martin Luther King taking the same public stand. Consistent with President Kennedy'sAlliance for Progress, Robert Kennedy placed increasing emphasis on human rights as a central focus of U.S. foreign policy.
In 1968, President Johnson began to run for reelection. In January 1968, faced with what was widely considered an unrealistic race against an incumbent President, Senator Kennedy stated he would not seek the presidency.After theTet Offensivein Vietnam, in early February 1968, Kennedy received a letter from writerPete Hamill, that said that poor people kept pictures of President Kennedy on their walls and that Robert Kennedy had an "obligation of staying true to whatever it was that put those pictures on those walls".Kennedy traveled toDelano, California, to meet with civil rights activistCésar Chávezwho was on a twenty-five day hunger strike showing his commitment tononviolence.It was at his visit in California where Kennedy decided he would challenge Johnson for the presidency, telling his former DOJ press secretaryEdwin Guthman, that his first step was to get little-known SenatorEugene McCarthyofMinnesota to withdraw from the presidential race.The weekend before the New Hampshire primary, Kennedy announced to several aides that he would attempt to persuade McCarthy to concede from the race to avoid splitting the antiwar vote, but with the advice fromSouth Dakota SenatorGeorge McGovern, he urged Kennedy to wait until after the primary to announce his candidacy.Johnson won a narrow victory in the New Hampshire primary on March 12, 1968, against McCarthy, which boosted McCarthy's standing in the race.
After much speculation and reports leaking out about his plans,and seeing in McCarthy's success that Johnson's hold on the job was not as strong as originally thought, Kennedy declared his candidacy on March 16, 1968, in the Caucus Room of the old Senate office building—the same room where his brother declared his own candidacy eight years earlier.He stated, "I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I'm obliged to do all I can."
McCarthy supporters angrily denounced Kennedy as an opportunist, and thus the anti-war movement was split between McCarthy and Kennedy.On March 31, 1968, Johnson stunned the nation by dropping out of the race.Vice PresidentHubert Humphrey, long a champion of labor unions and civil rights, entered the race with the support of the party "establishment", including most members of Congress, mayors, governors and labor unions.He entered the race too late to enter any primaries, but had the support of the president and many Democratic insiders.Robert Kennedy, like his brother before him, planned to win the nomination through popular support in the primaries.
Kennedy stood on a platform of racial and economic justice, non-aggression in foreign policy, decentralization of power and social improvement. A crucial element to his campaign was an engagement with the young, whom he identified as being the future of a reinvigorated American society based on partnership and equality. Kennedy's policy objectives did not sit well with the business world, in which he was viewed as something of a fiscal liability, opposed as they were to the tax increases necessary to fund such programs of social improvement. At one of his university speeches (Indiana University Medical School) he was asked, "Where are we going to get the money to pay for all these new programs you're proposing?" Kennedy replied to the medical students, about to enter lucrative careers, "From you."It was this intense and frank mode of dialogue with which Kennedy was to continue to engage those whom he viewed as not being traditional allies of Democratic ideals or initiatives. He aroused raoffer animosity in some quarters, with J. Edgar Hoover's DeputyClyde Tolsonreported as saying, "I hope that someone shoots and kills the son of a bitch."
It has been widely commented that Robert Kennedy's campaign for the American presidency far outstripped, in its vision of social improvement, that of President Kennedy; Robert Kennedy's offer for the presidency saw not only a continuation of the programs he and his brother had undertaken during the President's term in office, but also an extension of these programs through what Robert Kennedy viewed as an honest questioning of the historic progress that had been made by President Johnson in the 5 years of his presidency. Kennedy openly challenged young people who supported the war while benefiting from draft deferments, visited numerous small towns, and made himself available to the masses by participating in long motorcades and street-corner stump speeches (often in troubled inner-cities). Kennedy made urban poverty a chief concern of his campaign, which in part led to enormous crowds that would attend his events in poor urban areas or rural parts of Appalachia.
On April 4, 1968, Kennedy learned of the assassination ofMartin Luther King, Jr.and gave a heartfelt impromptu city, in which Kennedy called for a reconciliation between the races.Riotsbroke out in 60 cities in the wake of King's death, but not in Indianapolis, a fact many attribute to the effect of this speech.
Kennedy finally won theIndianaDemocratic primary on May 7 and theNebraskaprimary on May 14, but lost theOregonprimary on May 28.If he could defeat McCarthy in the California primary, the leadership of the campaign thought, he would knock McCarthy out of the race and set up a one-on-one againstHubert Humphrey(whom he bested in the primary held on the same day as the California primary in Humphrey's birth state,South Dakota) at theChicago national conventionin August.
Kennedy scored a major victory in winning the California primary. He addressed his supporters shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, in a ballroomatThe Ambassador HotelinLos Angeles,California. Leaving the ballroom, he went through the hotel kitchen after being told it was a shortcut,despite being advised to avoid the kitchen by his bodyguard, FBI agent Bill Barry. In a crowded kitchen passageway,Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian, opened fire with a.22-caliberrevolver. Kennedy was hit three times and five other people also were wounded.George Plimpton, formerdecathleteRafer Johnson, and former professional football playerRosey Grierare credited with wrestlingSirhan Sirhanto the ground after Sirhan shot the Senator.Following the shooting, Kennedy was first rushed to Los Angeles's Central Receiving Hospital and then to the city'sGood Samaritan Hospitalwhere he died early the next morning.Sirhan said that he felt betrayed by Kennedy's support for Israel in the June 1967Six-Day War, which had begun exactly one year before the assassination.
His body was returned to New York City, where itlay in reposeatSaint Patrick's Cathedralfrom approximately 10:00 PM until 10:00 AM on June 8.Ahigh requiem massattended by members of the extended Kennedy family, PresidentLyndon B. Johnsonand his wifeLady Bird Johnson, and members of the JohnsonCabinetwas held at St. Patrick's Cathedral at 10:00 AM on June 8.His brotherTedsaid the following:
My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: 'Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.'
The quote is a paraphrase of a line spoken by thedevil(The Serpent) toEveinGeorge Bernard Shaw'sBack to Methuselah, "You see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?'"
The requiem mass concluded with the hymn "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", sung byAndy Williams.Immediately following the mass, Kennedy's body was transported by a special private train to Washington, D.C. Thousands of mourners lined the tracks and stations along the route, paying their respects as the train passed. The train departed New York at 12:30 PM.The four-hour trip took more than eight hours due to the thick crowds lining the tracks on the 225 miles (362km) journey.When the train arrived atElizabeth, New Jersey, an eastbound train on a parallel track to the funeral train hit and killed several spectators after they were unable to get off the track in time even though the eastbound train's engineer had slowed to 30mph for the normally 55mph curve and had blown his horn continuously and rang his bell through the curve.Scheduled to arrive at about 4:30 PM,sticking brakes on the casket-bearing car also contributed to delays,and the train arrived at 9:10 PM on June 8.
Bobby was buriednear his brother, Jack, inArlington National CemeteryinArlington, Virginia (just outside Washington, D.C.).Bobby had always maintained that he wished to be buried in Massachusetts, but his family believed he should be interred in Arlington next to his brother.TheNavy BandplayedThe Navy Hymn.The procession passed theNew Senate Office Building(where Kennedy had his offices), and the proceeded to theLincoln Memorialwhere it paused. TheMarine Corps BandplayedThe Battle Hymn of the Republic.The funeral motorcade arrived at the cemetery at 10:24 p.m. As it entered the cemetery, people lining the roadway spontaneously lit candles to guide the motorcade to the burial site.The 15-minute ceremony began at 10:30 p.m.CardinalPatrick O'Boyle,Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, officiated at the graveside service in lieu of CardinalRichard Cushingof Boston, who fell ill during the trip.Also officiating wasArchbishop of New YorkTerence Cooke.John Glennpresented the folded flag on behalf of the United States to Senator Ted Kennedy, who passed it to Bobby's eldest son Joe, who passed it to Ethel.
Arlington National Cemetery officials say that Bobby's burial was the only night burial to have taken place at the cemetery.However, the burial ofPatrick Bouvier Kennedy(the infant son ofJack, who died two days after birth in August 1963) and Jack's stillborn daughter Arabella also occurred at night. The two children were buried next to their father on December 5, 1963.
On June 9, PresidentLyndon B. Johnsonassigned security staff to allU.S. presidential candidatesand declared an officialnational day of mourning. After the assassination, the mandate of theU.S. Secret Servicewas altered by Congress to include Secret Service protection of U.S. presidential candidates.
Courtesy of Wikipedia
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