BALTIMORE (June 6, 2018)–Today marks a sad day in the nation’s history. On June 6, 1968, the nation mourned the death of one of its leaders. A family—a wife, 10 children, parents, and a host of siblings, nieces, nephews, and others—had to mourn the loss of a promising life cut short. Just two months after informing an Indianapolis crowd that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated, Robert Kennedy’s life was tragically cut short. Today, we pause to mark fifty years since the assassination of Senator and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Sr.
As the 64th Attorney General of the United States, Robert F. Kennedy used his power to ensure that black students were able to safely enter formerly all-white University of Mississippi. When an angry white mob firebombed the Freedom Riders’ bus and mercilessly beat them, Mr. Kennedy sent federal troops to Alabama to escort those activists to relative safety.
After the death of his brother, Jack, Attorney General Kennedy remained in office to champion President Kennedy’s vision—the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Upon his election to the Senate, Mr. Kennedy advocated for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and thus had a hand in passing the two most significant laws of the twentieth century. As Attorney General, he evolved as a civil and human rights champion as a Senator and continued this work until his untimely death.
As we reflect on the life and legacy of Robert F. Kennedy, we should recommit ourselves to a cause that he worked for his entire adult life—the strengthening of this American republic. During this all important election year, we should demand that Congress work to restore Section 4(b) of the legislation he voted for—the Voting Rights Act. Let us continue the work of Senator Kennedy to secure a living wage for all persons in this nation; to protect our military from fighting unnecessary wars; and to bring people from all walks of life together to perfect our union.
The NAACP sends its deepest condolences to Mrs. Kennedy and the family of Robert F. Kennedy on this most somber of anniversaries.