Robert F. Kennedy, the 'Complicated' Advocate for Civil Rights

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was killed on June 6, 1968. He was a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination that year.

His assassination came only two months after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. He was a close advisor to his brother, President John F. Kennedy. RFK had a complicated relationship with the civil rights movement. He had frequent and often heated meetings with groups advocating for social justice. “Somewhere in this man sits good, our task is to find his moral center and win him to our cause,” Martin Luther King Jr. said about Kennedy. Eventually he became known for opposing racism and fiercely advocating for equity. As attorney general, he ordered federal troops to escort James Meredith, the first Black student at Ole Miss. Kennedy also saw how neighborhood poverty affected students. “Many of them cannot go to school because they have no clothes or shoes," Robert F. Kennedy said during his 1967 tour of high-poverty areas in the South.

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