RFK on the death of MLK

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People around the country and world are commemorating today the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

50 years ago, a white man named James Earl Ray shot and killed King as he stood on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Bobby Kennedy had served as the nation’s Attorney General. The brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy was seeking the presidency himself.

And he had a campaign rally in Indianapolis the night of April 4, 1968.

He looked over the audience, and told the people waiting for him to speak to lower their signs.

And then he had to say the unimaginable:

“I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.”

Kennedy, with his campaign workers and aides on that stage that night, went on to talk about what kind of nation the US would go on to be.

Would it be polarized and divided? Would there be understanding and compassion?

He told the crowd he could sympathize with their anger and sorrow.

“For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man,” Kennedy said.

And he called on the country to unite.

Just 2 months later, Bobby Kennedy would be gone too.

Killed by an assassin’s bullet in the kitchen of LA’s Ambassador Hotel. A Wilshire Boulevard fixture buzzing with more of those adoring fans.

He’d just won the California Democratic Primary.

Who knows what would’ve been… had it not been for the hate and those bullets.

Photo credit: Indianapolis Star



Benjamin Gottlieb