From the Archive
50th Anniversary of Robert Kennedy's Assassination
June 5, 2018
by Magnum Photographers
On June 5, 1968 US Senator and Presidential Candidate Robert F Kennedy was fatally wounded following a speech he'd given to supporters in Los Angeles. His death was another great blow to the Kennedy family, his brother Joseph having been killed during WWII and JFK killed by an assassin in 1963. But many would say that the progressive Democratic movement in the United States suffered the most.
Educated in law, Robert Kennedy became involved in US national politics early in his career. He helped with his brother John's Senatorial and later Presidential campaign, served as council to a couple of Senate committees and was eventually appointed US Attorney General by his brother in 1961. Ten months after the assassination of JFK Bobby resigned his post and began his campaign to represent New York State in the US Senate.
During his time as Attorney General, Robert Kennedy brilliantly used his authority to insure the protection of Civil Rights leaders. Through this action and his efforts during his time as US Senator, Bobby proved himself a strong advocate for Civil Rights and the poor. He's also responsible for a somewhat successful crusade against organized crime and was an outspoken critic of President Johnson's Vietnam War policy.
While 1968 proved to be a tumultuous year around the world it was particularly tragic for Americans. Early in the year the Tet Offensive proved that the conflict in Vietnam would not only last a long time but some even predicted that it could end in defeat. On April 3rd, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis while Kennedy was in Indiana on a Presidential Campaign visit. Though devastated by the loss, Kennedy urged calm and the continuation of the movement. Little did he know that he would also succumb to an assassin's bullet three months later.
Palestinian-born Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, was convicted of Kennedy's death. It's been believed that Sirhan's was motivated to kill Kennedy by the latter's support of the state of Israel but the evidence to support this theory is inconsistent.
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