One (Last) Brief Shining Moment

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We don’t usually run photographs accompanying letters to the editor on this page. But when we got this picture of Robert Kennedy speaking at the Palestra, along with the letter from Thomas Davis III C’70, we couldn’t bring ourselves not to.

The date was April 2, 1968, just two days after President Lyndon Johnson electrified the presidential race by announcing that he would not seek reelection. Kennedy, Davis reports, spoke to the standing-room-only crowd about matters ranging from the Vietnam War—and the charged subject of student draft deferments, which he viewed as discriminatory—to civil rights. Two days later, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Two months later, so was Kennedy.

Having captured that image nearly half a century ago, Davis writes, “I don’t get it out and look at it very often. My own father died unexpectedly that June, and this photo has always been a somewhat painful reminder for me of that difficult, formative year of 1968.”—S.H.

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    2 Responses

    1. william gregory

      I was there with my friend Carl who worked in the library. I worked in the med school. I called him up and said we should go to hear him. We sat on the left side of RFK. I who was a lifelong republican decided I was going to vote for RFK. His speech was electrfying. During the q&a with the students one student rose and asked where he stood on granting amesty to draft dodging students who went to Canada. He said that he would not give them amiesty. The crowd which was predominately students rose up and booed him. What I found remarkable about that which should his strength in his principals. He won my vote that day. Said to say that would not. A far cry from where we are now with Trump..

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