Four Deaths That Shaped Modern American History

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John Kirby and Libby Handros' upcoming documentary series “Four Died Trying.” Photo credit:

The 1960s represented a pivotal time in American history, one that embodied vast change and influence in shaping what the country has become. From the Civil Rights movement to the Vietnam War to the moon landing, society was in a period of steadfast innovation, self reflection and self determination. The specter of death, however, could not escape the memory of the time, including the deaths of the millions of civilians and soldiers in Southeast Asia and the thousands of victims of racial violence. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy delivered a resounding blow to the trajectory of these movements and ultimately, the direction of the United States.

Joining host Robert Scheer on this episode of the Scheer Intelligence podcast, filmmakers John Kirby and Libby Handros discuss their upcoming documentary series “Four Died Trying.” The series focuses on the deaths of these four iconic leaders in American history and the endlessly enigmatic stories that surround their assassinations.

“We think that each of these guys were making moves that challenged the very heart of the power structure in the United States and around the world,” Kirby said. Scheer, Kirby and Handros dive into some of the history surrounding each of the figures and how they were becoming greater threats to U.S. economic, military and domestic power by the day, a circumstance that the Kirby and Handros film theorizes is the main reason for their deaths.

Kirby and Handros highlight the abundance of interviews featured throughout the series, providing crucial context and previously untold stories from people closely related to the four figures. Among the names mentioned are Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ilyasah Shabazz (Malcolm X’s daughter), American trade union activist Paul Schrade and over 100 others.



Joshua Scheer