Robert F. Kennedy
American Senator
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy, also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F. Kennedy and acted as one of his advisors during his presidency. From 1961 to 1964, he was the U.S. Attorney General.
Robert F. Kennedy's personal information overview.
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NYTimes - over 5 years
THE GIRL IN THE POLKA-DOT DRESS By Beryl Bainbridge 162 pp. Europa Editions. Paper, $15. On May 30, 1888, Anton Chekhov wrote exasperatedly to a friend, the newspaper editor A. S. Suvorin, complaining about the state of contemporary Russian literature, filled with its moral injunctions and its pious prescriptions for human behavior. The writer, he
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Joe Kennedy III: 3rd generation of Kennedy politicians on horizon as buzz ... - Daily Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Here John F. Kennedy, left, Robert Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy, right, stand together in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts Kennedy Compound: It was once the home of Joseph P. Kennedy, Senior, his wife Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, and two of their sons, US President
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Colleges shifting course in tight, changing times - Ct Post
Google News - over 5 years
Robert Kennedy, former president of the University of Maine, has been named interim president of the board by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Michael P. Meotti, the current interim president, will become executive vice president under the new hierarchy
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Governor Malloy appoints Dr. Kennedy to hiher education board - Connectcut Plus
Google News - over 5 years
By Governor Malloy's office HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy appointed earlier this week Dr. Robert Kennedy, immediate past president of the University of Maine, as the Interim President of the Board of Regents of Higher Education,
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Joseph Kennedy III joins Middlesex DA's Office - Milford Daily News
Google News - over 5 years
Joe Kennedy and grandson of Robert Kennedy, mostly recently served as a prosecutor in the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office. “Joe's extensive civic and community involvement combined with his impressive personal qualities gives us great
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Impact of RFK's Historic Trip to South Africa Still Reverberates - MPBN News
Google News - over 5 years
On June 6th, 1966, two years before the day he would die from an assassin's bullet, Robert Kennedy delivered a speech in Cape Town that Margaret Mitchell likes to quote from for its message of individual empowerment. "Each time a man stands up for an
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Getting to know Robert Kennedy - Ruston Daily Leader
Google News - over 5 years
Beginning Friday night, area residents will have a chance to view a play paralleling today's society with that of the 1960s. “RFK,” written by Jack Holmes, will be performed at 8 pm Friday and Saturday night at the Norton Building
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'The Last Mountain' Brings a Kennedy and the Appalacian Mountains to Chilmark -
Google News - over 5 years
Robert Kennedy, Jr. will be on hand at this week's MVFF screening to discuss mountain-top coal removal, wind power and a film that focuses on both. By Mathea Morais Martha's Vineyard is no stranger to the energy debate, but mountain top coal mining may
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Action News Hawk helps police capture suspect - KTNV Las Vegas
Google News - over 5 years
Police say it was their quick thinking that helped catch Robert Kennedy, 35, who's now in custody for robbing a Walgreens on East Tropicana early Friday morning. "We want to thank you over at Channel 13," says Metro's Public Information Officer,
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Kosse Fireworks additions - Groesbeck Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Ms. Christine Kelly and Robert Kennedy. You must be an online subscriber to view this story. The full version of this story will be available to all readers after 4 weeks. Full versions of news stories from the current week are available to online
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Police capture suspected pharmacy burglar after traffic mishap - Las Vegas Sun
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James Robert Kennedy, 35, has now been charged with burglary and possession of stolen property after he fled from the drug store and was later captured by police. Metro Police say the episode started unfolding around 5:40 am when a passerby saw a man
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Milton Gwirtzman, Adviser to Kennedys, Dies at 78
NYTimes - over 5 years
Milton S. Gwirtzman, a Washington insider who advised John, Robert and Edward Kennedy and wrote speeches for them while helping the family navigate difficult political seas and emotional traumas over the years, died Saturday at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 78. The cause was a metastatic melanoma, said his wife, Katherine Krents. Within the
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Milton S. Gwirtzman, D.C. lawyer and confidant to Kennedy brothers, dies at 74 - Washington Post
Google News - over 5 years
Mr. Gwirtzman also worked for Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968. After Robert Kennedy was assassinated that year, Mr. Gwirtzman helped draft a eulogy that was delivered by Ted Kennedy. Mr. Gwirtzman then co-wrote — with William J. vanden
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Robert Kennedy Jr. says West Virginia coal industry out of control in documentary -
Google News - over 5 years
SEATTLE - "West Virginia has lost the capacity to govern itself," says Robert Kennedy Jr. on the phone. "We need federal intervention." Kennedy, who suffers from the rare speech impediment spasmodic dysphonia, speaks in a pinched,
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Robert F. Kennedy
  • 1968
    Age 42
    Shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, after defeating Senator Eugene McCarthy in the California presidential primary, he was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian, and died the following day.
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    In 1968, Kennedy was a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, appealing especially to poor, African-American, Hispanic, and Catholic voters.
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    In May 1968, while on a campaign swing through Oregon, Kennedy defended his gun control policy as keeping firearms away from "people who have no business" with them, elaborating that they were criminals, individuals with mental issues, and the underaged.
    More Details Hide Details On February 8, 1966, Kennedy urged the United States to pledge that it would not be the first country to use nuclear weapons against countries that did not have them noting that China had made the pledge and the Soviet Union indicated it was also willing to do so.
    Jerry Bruno, an "advance man" for JFK who also worked on RFK's 1968 Presidential campaign, would later state in 1993: "I talked to Robert Kennedy many times about the Warren Commission, and he never doubted their result."
    More Details Hide Details In a 2013 interview with CBS journalist Charlie Rose, son Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. stated that his father was "fairly convinced" that others besides Oswald were involved in his brother's assassination and that he privately believed the Commission's report was a "shoddy piece of craftsmanship".
    In 1968, Kennedy expressed his strong willingness to support a bill then under consideration for the abolition of the death penalty.
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    The British playwright Roy Smiles' play about RFK's 1968 presidential campaign, The Last Pilgrim, was staged in London in 2010.
    More Details Hide Details It was shortlisted for Best Play at the Off West End Awards in the UK in 2011.
    The 2008 film A Ripple of Hope is a documentary that retells his call for peace during a campaign stop in Indianapolis on April 4, 1968, the night of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    More Details Hide Details The 2010 film RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope is a documentary that follows his five-day visit to South Africa in June 1966, during which he made his famous Ripple of Hope speech at the University of Cape Town. The 2012 documentary film Ethel about the life of Ethel Kennedy recounts many of the major personal and political events of Kennedy's life, through interviews with family members including Ethel herself, and news footage. Kennedy's role in the Cuban Missile Crisis has been dramatized by Martin Sheen in the 1974 TV play The Missiles of October and by Steven Culp in Thirteen Days (2000). He is portrayed by John Shea in the 1983 TV miniseries Kennedy. The 1985 three-part TV mini-series Robert Kennedy & His Times stars Brad Davis and is based on the book of the same title by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
    Documentary filmmaker DA Pennebaker made several films featuring Kennedy. His short film Jingle Bells (1964) follows Kennedy and his children as they celebrate Christmas in New York City with local school children and Sammy Davis, Jr. His later film Hickory Hill documents the 1968 Annual Spring Pet Show at Hickory Hill, the Kennedy Virginia estate.
    More Details Hide Details In 1970 ABC-TV presented the David L. Wolper film The Unfinished Journey of Robert F. Kennedy, narrated by John Huston.
    The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights was founded in 1968, with an international award program to recognize human rights activists.
    More Details Hide Details The sports stadium D.C. Stadium in Washington, D.C., was renamed Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in 1969. In 1978, the United States Congress awarded Kennedy its Gold Medal of Honor. In 1998, the United States Mint released a special dollar coin that featured his image on the obverse and the emblems of the United States Department of Justice and the United States Senate on the reverse. On November 20, 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft dedicated the Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington, D.C., as the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, honoring Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday. They both spoke during the ceremony, as did Kennedy's eldest son, Joseph. In a further effort to remember Kennedy and continue his work helping disadvantaged, a small group of private citizens launched the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps in 1969, which today helps more than 800 abused and neglected children each year.
    In his Indianapolis speech on April 4, 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby slightly misquoted these lines from Aeschylus:
    More Details Hide Details Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. 1964 New York United States Senatorial Election Kennedy was the first sibling of a President of the United States to serve as U.S. Attorney General. Biographer Evan Thomas wrote that at times he misused his powers by "modern standards", but concluded, "on the whole, even counting his warts, he was a great attorney general." Walter Isaacson commented that Kennedy "turned out arguably to be the best attorney general in history", praising him for his championing of civil rights and other initiatives of the administration. Some of his successors as Attorney General have been unfavorably compared to him, as not displaying the same level of poise in the profession. Near the end of his time in office as Attorney General under Barack Obama, Eric Holder cited Kennedy as the inspiration for his belief that the Justice Department could be "a force for that which is right."
    During a campaign speech at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, on April 4, 1968, he questioned the student body on what kind of life Americans wished for themselves, whether privileged Americans had earned the great luxury they enjoyed, and whether such Americans had an obligation to those in U.S. society, and across the world, who had so little by comparison.
    More Details Hide Details It has been argued that although this speech has been largely overlooked and ignored because of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., it was one of the most powerful and heartfelt speeches Kennedy delivered.
    Kennedy scored a major victory in winning the California primary. He addressed his supporters shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, in a ballroom at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
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    On April 4, 1968, Kennedy learned of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and gave a heartfelt impromptu speech in Indianapolis's inner city, calling for a reconciliation between the races.
    More Details Hide Details The address was the first time Kennedy spoke publicly about his brother's killing. Riots broke out in 60 cities in the wake of King's death, but not in Indianapolis, a fact many attribute to the effect of this speech. He attended King's funeral, accompanied by Jacqueline and Ted Kennedy. He was described as being the "only white politician to hear only cheers and applause." Kennedy won the Indiana Democratic primary on May 7 and the Nebraska primary on May 14 but lost the Oregon primary to McCarthy on May 28. If he could defeat McCarthy in the California primary, the leadership of the campaign thought, he would knock McCarthy out of the race and set up a one-on-one against Hubert Humphrey at the Chicago national convention in August.
    After much speculation, and reports leaking out about his plans, and seeing in McCarthy's success that Johnson's hold on the job was not as strong as originally thought, Kennedy declared his candidacy on March 16, 1968, in the Caucus Room of the old Senate office building, the same room where his brother had declared his own candidacy eight years earlier.
    More Details Hide Details He stated, "I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I'm obliged to do all I can." McCarthy supporters angrily denounced Kennedy as an opportunist. They believed that McCarthy had taken the most courageous stand by opposing the sitting president of his own party and that his surprising result in New Hampshire had earned him the mantle of being the anti-war candidate. Kennedy's announcement split the anti-war movement in two. On March 31, 1968, Johnson stunned the nation by dropping out of the race. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, a champion of labor unions and supporter of civil rights, entered the race with the money and backing of the party "establishment", including most members of Congress, mayors, governors, "the south", and labor unions. He entered the race too late to enter any primaries but had the support of the president. Kennedy, like his brother before him, planned to win the nomination through popular support in the primaries.
    After the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in early February 1968, he received a letter from writer Pete Hamill that said poor people kept pictures of President Kennedy on their walls and that Kennedy had an "obligation of staying true to whatever it was that put those pictures on those walls."
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy traveled to Delano, California, to meet with civil rights activist César Chávez, who was on a 25-day hunger strike showing his commitment to nonviolence. It was on this visit to California that Kennedy decided he would challenge Johnson for the presidency, telling his former Justice Department aides, Edwin Guthman and Peter Edelman, that his first step was to get lesser-known Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota to drop out of the presidential race. The weekend before the New Hampshire primary, Kennedy announced to several aides that he would attempt to persuade McCarthy to withdraw from the race to avoid splitting the antiwar vote, but Senator George McGovern urged Kennedy to wait until after that primary to announce his candidacy. Johnson won a narrow victory in the New Hampshire primary on March 12, 1968, against McCarthy, but this close second-place result dramatically boosted McCarthy's standing in the race.
    In late May 1968, shortly before he was assassinated, Kennedy called the war "the gravest kind of error" in a speech in Corvallis, Oregon. In an interview on June 4, hours before he was shot, Kennedy continued to advocate a change in policy towards the war in Vietnam. In 1968, President Johnson prepared to run for re-election.
    More Details Hide Details In January, faced with what was widely considered an unrealistic race against an incumbent president, Kennedy stated that he would not seek the presidency.
    On February 8, 1968, Kennedy delivered an address in Chicago, Illinois, where he critiqued Saigon "government corruption" and expressed his disagreement with the Johnson administration's stance that the war would determine the future of Asia.
    More Details Hide Details On March 14, Kennedy met with Johnson administration defense secretary Clark Clifford at the Pentagon regarding the war. Clifford's notes indicate that Kennedy was offering not to enter the ongoing Democratic presidential primary if President Johnson would admit publicly to having been wrong in his war policy and appoint "a group of persons to conduct a study in depth of the issues and come up with a recommended course of action"; Johnson rejected the proposal.
    An icon of modern American liberalism, and a member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy ran for its presidential nomination in the 1968 election.
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  • 1967
    Age 41
    Robert B. Semple, Jr. repeated similar sentiments in September 1967, writing the Johnson administration was preparing "a concentrated attack" on Robert F. Kennedy's proposal that Semple claimed would "build more and better low-cost housing in the slums through private enterprise."
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy confided to journalist Jack Newfield that while he tried collaborating with the administration through courting its members and compromising with the bill, "They didn't even try to work something out together. To them it's all just politics." He also visited the Mississippi Delta as a member of the Senate committee reviewing the effectiveness of 'War on Poverty' programs, particularly that of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Marian Wright Edelman described Kennedy as "deeply moved and outraged" by the sight of the starving children living in the economically abysmal climate, changing her impression of him from "tough, arrogant, and politically driven." Edelman noted further that the senator requested she call on Martin Luther King, Jr. to bring the impoverished to Washington, D.C., to make them more visible, leading to the creation of the Poor People's Campaign.
    Sirhan later said that he felt betrayed by Kennedy's support for Israel in the June 1967 Six-Day War, which had begun exactly one year before the assassination.
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy's body was returned to New York City, where it lay in repose at Saint Patrick's Cathedral from approximately 10:00 p.m. until 10:00 a.m. on June 8. A high requiem mass attended by members of the extended Kennedy family, President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird Johnson, and members of the Johnson cabinet was held at St. Patrick's Cathedral at 10:00 a.m. on June 8. Kennedy's brother, Ted, the only surviving Kennedy brother, said the following: The requiem mass concluded with the hymn "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", sung by Andy Williams. Immediately following the mass, Kennedy's body was transported by a special private train to Washington, D.C. Thousands of mourners lined the tracks and stations along the route, paying their respects as the train passed. The train departed New York at 12:30 p.m. When the train arrived in Elizabeth, New Jersey, an eastbound train on a parallel track to the funeral train hit and killed two spectators after they were unable to get off the track in time, even though the eastbound train's engineer had slowed to 30 mph for the normally 55 mph curve and had blown his horn continuously and rung his bell through the curve. The normally four-hour trip took more than eight hours because of the thick crowds lining the tracks on the journey. Scheduled to arrive at about 4:30 p.m., sticking brakes on the casket-bearing car also contributed to delays, and the train arrived at 9:10 p.m. on June 8.
    On November 26, 1967, during an appearance on Face the Nation, Kennedy asserted his view that the Johnson administration had deviated from his brother's policies in Vietnam, his first time he contrasted the two administrations' policies on the war.
    More Details Hide Details He added that the view that Americans were fighting to end communism in Vietnam was "immoral".
    On May 15, 1967, Kennedy debated Governor of California Ronald Reagan about the Vietnam War.
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    On March 2, 1967, Kennedy outlined a three-point plan to end the war which included suspending the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, and the eventual withdrawal of American and North Vietnamese soldiers from South Vietnam; this plan was rejected by Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who believed North Vietnam would never agree to it.
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    In the early part of 1967, Kennedy traveled to Europe, where he had discussions relating to the Vietnam conflict with leaders and diplomats.
    More Details Hide Details A story leaked to the State Department that Kennedy was talking about seeking peace while President Johnson was pursuing the war. Johnson became convinced that Kennedy was undermining his authority. He voiced this during a meeting with Kennedy, who reiterated the interest of the European leaders to pause the bombing while going forward with negotiations. Johnson declined to do so.
  • 1966
    Age 40
    On June 29, 1966, Kennedy released a statement disavowing President Johnson's choice to bomb Haiphong, but he avoided criticizing either the war or President Johnson's overall foreign policy, believing that it might harm Democratic candidates in the 1966 midterm elections.
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    In April 1966, Kennedy had a private meeting with Philip Heymann of the State Department's Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs to discuss efforts to secure the release of American prisoners of war in Vietnam.
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy wanted to press the Johnson administration to do more, but Heymann insisted that the administration believed the "consequences of sitting down with the Viet Cong" mattered more than the prisoners they were holding captive.
    Kennedy undertook a 1966 tour of South Africa in which he championed the cause of the anti-apartheid movement.
    More Details Hide Details The tour was greeted with international praise at a time when few politicians dared to entangle themselves in the politics of South Africa. He spoke out against the oppression of the native population, and was welcomed by the black population as though he were a visiting head of state. In an interview with Look magazine he said: In South Africa, a group of foreign press representatives chartered an aircraft after the National Union of South African Students failed to make sufficient travel arrangements. Kennedy not only accommodated a suspected Special Branch policeman on board, but took with good grace the discovery that the aircraft had once belonged to Fidel Castro. Kennedy also used the power of federal agencies to influence U.S. Steel not to institute a price increase. The Wall Street Journal wrote that the administration had set prices of steel "by naked power, by threats, by agents of the state security police." Yale law professor Charles Reich wrote in The New Republic that the Justice Department had violated civil liberties by calling a federal grand jury to indict U.S. Steel so quickly, then disbanding it after the price increase did not occur.
  • 1965
    Age 39
    Kennedy drew attention in Congress early on as the brother of President Kennedy, which set him apart from other senators. He drew more than fifty senators as spectators when he delivered a speech in the Senate on nuclear proliferation in June 1965.
    More Details Hide Details However, he also saw a decline in his power, going from the president's most trusted advisor to one of a hundred senators, and his impatience with collaborative lawmaking showed. Though fellow senator Fred R. Harris expected not to like Kennedy, the two became allies, Harris even calling them "each other's best friends in the Senate". Kennedy's younger brother Ted was his senior there. Robert saw his brother as a guide on managing within the Senate and the arrangement worked to deepen their relationship. Senator Harris noted, Kennedy was intense about matters and issues which concerned him. Kennedy gained a reputation in the Senate of being well prepared for debate, however his tendency to speak to other senators in a more "blunt" fashion caused him to be "unpopular... with many of his colleagues".
    While serving in the Senate, Kennedy advocated for gun control. In May 1965, he co-sponsored S1592, proposed by President Johnson and sponsored by Senator Thomas J. Dodd, that would put federal restrictions on gun sales.
    More Details Hide Details Speaking in support of the bill, Kennedy noted that: "For too long we dealt with these deadly weapons as if they were harmless toys. Yet their very presence, the ease of their acquisition and the familiarity of their appearance have led to thousands of deaths each year the passage of this bill would save hundreds of thousands of lives in this country and spare thousands of families grief and heartache."
    Kennedy cautioned Johnson against sending combat troops as early as 1965, but Johnson chose instead to follow the recommendation of the rest of his predecessor's still intact staff of advisers.
    More Details Hide Details In July, after Johnson made a large commitment of American ground forces to Vietnam, Kennedy made multiple calls for a settlement through negotiation. The next month, John Paul Vann, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, wrote that Kennedy "indicated comprehension of the problems we face", in a letter to the senator.
    Though bothered by the beginning of the bombing of North Vietnam in February 1965, Kennedy did not wish to appear antipathetic to the president's agenda.
    More Details Hide Details By April, Kennedy was advocating a halt to the bombing to Johnson, who acknowledged that he played a part in influencing his choice to temporarily cease bombing the following month.
    He supported desegregation busing, integration of all public facilities, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and anti-poverty social programs to increase education, offer opportunities for employment, and provide health care for African Americans.
    More Details Hide Details Consistent with President Kennedy's Alliance for Progress, he also placed increasing emphasis on human rights as a central focus of U.S. foreign policy. The JFK administration had backed U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world in the frame of the Cold War, but Kennedy was not known to be involved in discussions on the Vietnam War when he was Attorney General. According to historian Doris Kearns, before choosing to run for the Senate, Kennedy had sought an ambassadorship to South Vietnam. Entering the Senate, Kennedy initially kept private his disagreements with President Johnson on the war. While Kennedy vigorously supported his brother's earlier efforts, he never publicly advocated commitment of ground troops.
    He served as a senator for New York from 1965 until his assassination in 1968.
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  • 1964
    Age 38
    On September 27, 1964, Kennedy issued a statement through his New York campaign office: "As I said in Poland last summer, I am convinced Oswald was solely responsible for what happened and that he did not have any outside help or assistance.
    More Details Hide Details He was a malcontent who could not get along here or in the Soviet Union." He added, "I have not read the report, nor do I intend to. But I have been briefed on it and I am completely satisfied that the Commission investigated every lead and examined every piece of evidence. The Commission's inquiry was thorough and conscientious." After a meeting with Kennedy in 1966, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. wrote: "It is evident that he believes that Warren Commission's report was a poor job and will not endorse it, but that he is unwilling to criticize it and thereby reopen the whole tragic business."
    His opponent in the 1964 race was Republican incumbent Kenneth Keating, who attempted to portray Kennedy as an arrogant carpetbagger.
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy won the November election, helped in part by Johnson's huge victory margin in New York.
    Nine months after his brother's assassination, Kennedy left the cabinet to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate representing New York, announcing his candidacy on August 22, 1964, two days before that year's Democratic National Convention.
    More Details Hide Details He had considered the possibility of running since early spring, but also giving consideration to leaving politics altogether after the plane crash and injury of his brother, Ted, in June, two months earlier. Positive reception in Europe convinced him to remain in politics. Kennedy was lauded during concurrent trips to Germany and Poland, the denizens of the latter country's greetings to Kennedy being interpreted by Leaming as evaporating the agony he had sustained since his brother's passing. Kennedy was given permission to run by the New York State Democratic Committee on September 1, amid mixed feelings in regards to his candidacy. Despite their notoriously difficult relationship, Johnson gave considerable support to Kennedy's campaign.
    In July 1964, Johnson issued an official statement ruling out all of his current cabinet members as potential running mates, judging them to be "so valuable... in their current posts".
    More Details Hide Details In response to this statement, angry letters poured in directed towards both Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, expressing disappointment at Kennedy being dropped from the field of potential running mates. Johnson, worried that delegates at the convention would draft Kennedy onto the ticket, ordered the FBI to monitor Kennedy's contacts, and actions there, and to make sure that he could not speak until after Hubert Humphrey was confirmed as his running mate.
    Democratic organizers were supportive of his being a vice-presidential, write-in candidate in the New Hampshire primary. 25,000 Democrats wrote in Kennedy's name in March 1964, only 3,700 fewer than the number of Democrats who wrote in Johnson's name as their pick for president.
    More Details Hide Details Despite the fanfare within the Democratic Party, President Johnson had no inclination to have Kennedy on his ticket. The two men disliked one another intensely, with feelings often described as "mutual contempt" that went back to their first meeting in 1953, and had intensified during JFK’s presidency. Johnson instead chose Hubert Humphrey to be his running mate. During a post-presidency interview with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Johnson claimed that Kennedy "acted like he was the custodian of the Kennedy dream" despite Johnson being seen as this after JFK was assassinated, arguing that he had "waited" his turn and Kennedy should have done the same. Johnson recalled a "tidal wave of letters and memos about how great a vice president Bobby would be" being swept upon him, but knowing that he could not "let it happen" as he viewed the possibility of having Kennedy on the ticket ensuring that he would never know if he could be elected "on my own".
    In the wake of the assassination of his brother, Lyndon Johnson's ascension to the presidency and the office of Vice President now vacant, Kennedy was viewed favorably as a potential candidate for the position in the 1964 presidential election.
    More Details Hide Details Several Kennedy partisans called for him to be drafted in tribute to his brother, national polling showing that three of four Democrats were in favor of him as Johnson's running mate.
    Kennedy was asked by Democratic Party leaders to introduce a film about his late brother at the 1964 party convention.
    More Details Hide Details When he was introduced, the crowd, including party bosses, elected officials, and delegates, applauded thunderously and tearfully for a full 22 minutes before they would let him speak. He was close to breaking down before he spoke about his brother's vision for both the party and the nation and recited a quote from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (3.2) that Jacqueline had given him:
    Kennedy saw voting as the key to racial justice and collaborated with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to create the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which helped bring an end to Jim Crow laws.
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy was to maintain his commitment to racial equality into his own presidential campaign, extending his firm sense of social justice to all areas of national life, and into matters of foreign and economic policy.
  • 1963
    Age 37
    The ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission of 1963–1964 concluded that the president had been assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald and that Oswald had acted alone.
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    At the time of the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, RFK was at home with aides from the Justice Department when J. Edgar Hoover called and told him his brother had been shot.
    More Details Hide Details Before he could ask any questions, Hoover hung up. Kennedy later said he thought Hoover had enjoyed telling him the news. Kennedy then received a call from Tazewell Shepard, a naval aide to the president, who told him that his brother was dead. Shortly after the call from Hoover, Kennedy phoned McGeorge Bundy at the White House, instructing him to change the locks on the president's files. He ordered the Secret Service to dismantle the Oval Office and cabinet room's secret taping systems. He scheduled a meeting with CIA director John McCone and asked if the CIA had any involvement in his brother's death. McCone denied it, with Kennedy later telling investigator Walter Sheridan that he asked the director "in a way that he couldn't lie to me, and they CIA hadn't". An hour after the assassination, he received a phone call from Vice President Johnson while the vice president boarded Air Force One. RFK remembered their conversation starting with Johnson demonstrating sympathy before the Vice President stated his belief that he should be sworn in immediately; RFK opposed the idea since he felt "it would be nice" for President Kennedy's body to return to Washington with the deceased president still being the incumbent. Eventually, the two concluded that the best course of action would be for Johnson to take the oath of office before returning to Washington. In his 1971 book We Band of Brothers, aide Edwin O. Guthman recounted Kennedy admitting to him an hour after receiving word of his brother's death that he thought he would be the one "they would get" as opposed to his brother.
    Evelyn Lincoln wrote of that November 19, 1963, conversation just three days before Kennedy's assassination.
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy performed well in his confirmation hearing and chose what friend and biographer Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. called an "outstanding" group of deputy and assistant attorneys general, including Byron White and Nicholas Katzenbach. Hilty concludes that Kennedy "played an unusual combination of roles—campaign director, attorney general, executive overseer, controller of patronage, chief adviser, and brother protector" and that nobody before him had such power. His tenure as Attorney General was easily the period of greatest power for the office – no previous United States Attorney General had enjoyed such clear influence on all areas of policy during an administration. To a great extent, President Kennedy sought the advice and counsel of his younger brother, with Robert being the president's closest political adviser. He was relied upon as both the president's primary source of administrative information, and as a general counsel with whom trust was implicit. He exercised widespread authority over every cabinet department, leading the Associated Press to dub him "Bobby—Washington's No. 2-man".
  • 1962
    Age 36
    In September 1962, he sent U.S. Marshals to Oxford, Mississippi, to enforce a federal court order allowing the admittance of the first African-American student, James Meredith, to the University of Mississippi.
    More Details Hide Details The attorney general had hoped that legal means, along with the escort of U.S. Marshals, would be enough to force Governor Ross Barnett to allow the school admission. He also was very concerned there might be a "mini-civil war" between U.S. Army troops and armed protesters. President Kennedy reluctantly sent federal troops after the situation on campus turned violent. Ensuing riots during the period of Meredith's admittance resulted in hundreds of injuries and two deaths, yet Kennedy remained adamant that black students have the right to enjoy the benefits of all levels of the educational system. The Office of Civil Rights also hired its first African-American lawyer and began to work cautiously with leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
    However, ample evidence exists disputing that fact, specifically that Kennedy was only informed of an earlier plot involving the CIA's use of Mafia bosses Santo Trafficante, Jr. and John Roselli during a briefing on May 7, 1962, and in fact directed the CIA to halt any existing efforts directed at Castro's assassination.
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    Asked in an interview in May 1962, "What do you see as the big problem ahead for you, is it crime or internal security?" Kennedy replied, "Civil rights."
    More Details Hide Details The president came to share his brother's sense of urgency on the matters at hand to such an extent that it was at the attorney general's insistence that he made his famous address to the nation. Kennedy played a large role in the response to the Freedom Riders protests. He acted after the Anniston bus bombings to protect the Riders in continuing their journey, sending John Seigenthaler, his administrative assistant, to Alabama to attempt to secure the riders' safety there. Despite a work rule which allowed a driver to decline an assignment which he regarded as a potentially unsafe one, he also persuaded a manager of The Greyhound Corporation to obtain a coach operator who was willing to drive a special bus for the continuance of the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, on the circuitous journey to Jackson, Mississippi.
    Kennedy remained committed to civil rights enforcement to such a degree that he commented in 1962 that it seemed to envelop almost every area of his public and private life, from prosecuting corrupt southern electoral officials to answering late night calls from Coretta Scott King concerning the imprisonment of her husband for demonstrations in Alabama.
    More Details Hide Details During his tenure as Attorney General, he undertook the most energetic and persistent desegregation of the administration that Capitol Hill had ever experienced. He demanded that every area of government begin recruiting realistic levels of black and other ethnic workers, going so far as to criticize Vice President Johnson for his failure to desegregate his own office staff.
  • 1961
    Age 35
    Concurrently, Kennedy served as the president's personal representative in Operation Mongoose, the post-Bay of Pigs covert operations program established in November 1961 by the president.
    More Details Hide Details Mongoose was meant to incite a revolution within Cuba that would result in the downfall of Castro, not Castro's assassination. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy proved himself to be a gifted politician with an ability to obtain compromises, tempering aggressive positions of key figures in the hawk camp. The trust the president placed in him on matters of negotiation was such that his role in the crisis is today seen as having been of vital importance in securing a blockade, which averted a full military engagement between the United States and Soviet Russia. His clandestine meetings with members of the Soviet government continued to provide a key link to Nikita Khrushchev during even the darkest moments of the Crisis, in which the threat of nuclear strikes was considered a very present reality. On the last night of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy was so grateful for his brother's work in averting nuclear war that he summed it up by saying, "Thank God for Bobby."
    He predicted during an interview in May 1961 that an African-American "can also achieve the same position that my brother has as President of the United States" over the course of the next thirty to forty years.
    More Details Hide Details Larry Sabato would later write that when RFK's family backed Barack Obama in 2008, they picked a candidate with great differences in upbringing from that of the privileged President Kennedy. In 1963, FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, who viewed civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. as an upstart troublemaker, calling him an "enemy of the state", presented Kennedy with allegations that some of King's close confidants and advisers were communists. Concerned that the allegations, if made public, would derail the Administration's civil rights initiatives, Kennedy warned King to discontinue the suspect associations, and later issued a written directive authorizing the FBI to wiretap King and other leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King's civil rights organization. Although Kennedy only gave written approval for limited wiretapping of King's phones "on a trial basis, for a month or so", Hoover extended the clearance so that his men were "unshackled" to look for evidence in any areas of King's life they deemed worthy. The wiretapping continued through June 1966 and was revealed in 1968, days before Kennedy's death.
    Kennedy expressed the administration's commitment to civil rights during a 1961 speech at the University of Georgia Law School:
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    As one of the president's closest White House advisers, Kennedy played a crucial role in the events surrounding the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
    More Details Hide Details Operating mainly through a private backchannel connection to Soviet spy Georgi Bolshakov, he relayed important diplomatic communications between the American and Soviet governments. Most significantly, this connection helped the U.S. set up the Vienna Summit in June 1961, and later defuse the tank standoff with the Soviets at Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie in October. As Attorney General, Kennedy pursued a relentless crusade against organized crime and the Mafia, sometimes disagreeing on strategy with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Convictions against organized crime figures rose by 800 percent during his term. Kennedy worked to shift Hoover's focus away from communism, which he saw as a more serious threat, to organized crime. According to James Neff, Kennedy's success in this endeavor was due to his brother's position, giving the attorney general leverage over Hoover. Biographer Richard Hack concluded that Hoover's dislike for Kennedy came from his being unable to control him.
    At the behest of Johnson, Baker persuaded the influential Southern Senator Richard Russell to allow a voice vote to confirm the President's brother in January 1961, as Kennedy "would have been lucky to get 40 votes" on a roll-call vote.
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    He was appointed Attorney General after the successful election and served as the closest adviser to the president from 1961 to 1963.
    More Details Hide Details His tenure is best known for its advocacy for the Civil Rights Movement, the crusade against organized crime and the Mafia, and involvement in U.S. foreign policy related to Cuba. After his brother's assassination, he remained in office in the Johnson administration for a few months. He left to run for the United States Senate in New York in 1964 defeating Republican incumbent Kenneth Keating.
    He was previously the 64th U.S. Attorney General from 1961 to 1964, serving under his older brother, President John F. Kennedy and his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson.
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  • 1960
    Age 34
    Although it has become commonplace to assert the phrase "The Kennedy Administration" or even "President Kennedy" when discussing the legislative and executive support of the civil rights movement, between 1960 and 1963 a great many of the initiatives that occurred during his tenure were the result of the passion and determination of an emboldened Robert Kennedy, who, through his rapid education in the realities of Southern racism, underwent a thorough conversion of purpose as attorney general.
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    After winning the 1960 presidential election, President-elect John F. Kennedy appointed his younger brother Attorney General.
    More Details Hide Details The choice was controversial, with The New York Times and The New Republic calling Robert inexperienced and unqualified. He had no experience in any state or federal court, causing the President to joke, "I can't see that it's wrong to give him a little legal experience before he goes out to practice law." However, Kennedy did have significant experience in studying and fighting organized crime. According to Bobby Baker, the Senate Majority Secretary and a protégé of Lyndon Johnson, President-elect Kennedy did not want to name his brother as Attorney General. However, their father overruled the President-elect.
    In 1960, Kennedy published the successful book, which he had drafted over the summer of the previous year, The Enemy Within, describing the corrupt practices within the Teamsters and other unions that he had helped investigate.
    More Details Hide Details Biographer Evan Thomas wrote that the book was a bestseller and could have launched a political career on its own, but "family duty called", and Kennedy went to work on the presidential campaign of his brother, John. In contrast to his role in his brother's previous campaign eight years prior, Kennedy gave stump speeches throughout the primary season, gaining confidence as time went on. His strategy "to win at any cost" led him to call on Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. to attack Hubert Humphrey as a draft dodger; Roosevelt eventually did make the statement that Humphrey avoided service. Concerned that John Kennedy was going to receive the Democratic Party's nomination, some supporters of Lyndon Johnson, who was also running for the nomination, revealed to the press that JFK had Addison's disease, saying that he required life-sustaining cortisone treatments. Though in fact a diagnosis had been made, Kennedy tried to protect his brother by denying the allegation, saying that JFK had never had "an ailment described classically as Addison's disease". After securing the nomination, John Kennedy nonetheless decided to offer Lyndon Johnson the vice presidency. This did not sit well with some Kennedy supporters, and Robert tried unsuccessfully to convince Johnson to turn down the offer, leading him to view Robert with contempt afterward. RFK had already disliked Johnson prior to the presidential campaign, seeing him as a threat to his brother's ambitions. Despite Kennedy's attempts, Johnson became his brother's running mate.
    His older brothers were Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (1915–1944) and John F. "Jack" Kennedy (1917–1963), who was elected the 35th President of the United States in 1960.
    More Details Hide Details His younger brother was longtime United States Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy (1932–2009). All four of his grandparents were children of Irish immigrants. His father was a wealthy businessman, and a leading Irish Catholic figure in the Democratic Party. After he stepped down as ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1940, Joe, Sr. focused his attention on his firstborn, Joseph, Jr., planning that he would enter politics and be elected president. He also urged the younger children to examine and discuss current events in order to propel them to public service. After Joseph, Jr. was killed during World War II, the senior Kennedy's hopes fell on his second son, John, to become president. Joseph, Sr. had the money and connections to play a central role in the family's political ambitions. Kennedy's older brother John was often bedridden by illness and, as a result, became a voracious reader. Although he made little effort to get to know his younger brother during his childhood, John would take him for walks and regale him with the stories of heroes and adventures he had read. One of their favorite authors was John Buchan, who wrote The Thirty-Nine Steps which influenced both Robert and John. John sometimes referred to Robert as "Black Robert" due to his prudishness and disposition.
    Kennedy was the campaign manager for his brother John in the 1960 presidential election.
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  • 1959
    Age 33
    He left the Rackets Committee in late 1959 in order to run his brother's presidential campaign.
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  • 1957
    Age 31
    He soon made a name for himself as the chief counsel to the 1957–59 Senate Labor Rackets Committee under chairman John L. McClellan.
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy was given authority over testimony scheduling, areas of investigation, and witness questioning by McClellan, a move that was made by the chairman to limit attention to him and allow outrage by organized labor to be directed toward Kennedy. In a famous scene, Kennedy squared off with Teamsters Union President Jimmy Hoffa during the antagonistic argument that marked Hoffa's testimony. During the hearings, Kennedy received criticism from liberal critics and other commentators both for both his outburst of impassioned anger and doubts about the innocence of those who invoked the Fifth Amendment. Senators Barry Goldwater and Karl Mundt wrote to each other and complained about "the Kennedy boys" having hijacked the McClellan Committee by their focus on Hoffa and the Teamsters. They believed Kennedy covered for Walter Reuther and the United Auto Workers, a union which typically would back Democratic office seekers. Amidst the allegations, Kennedy wrote in his journal that the two Senators had "no guts" as they never addressed him directly, only through the press.
    He gained national attention as the chief counsel of the Senate Labor Rackets Committee from 1957 to 1959, where he publicly challenged Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa over the corrupt practices of its union and authored The Enemy Within, a book about corruption in organized labor.
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  • 1956
    Age 30
    Kennedy was also a delegate at the 1956 Democratic National Convention, having replaced Tip O'Neil at the request of his brother John, joining in what was ultimately an unsuccessful effort to help JFK get the vice presidential nomination.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly after this, following instructions by his father, Kennedy tried making amends with J. Edgar Hoover. There seemed to be some improvement in their interactions, which came to be seen as "elemental political necessity" by Kennedy. This later changed after Kennedy was appointed Attorney General, where Hoover saw him as an "unprecedented threat".
    Kennedy went on to work as an aide to Adlai Stevenson during the 1956 presidential election which helped him learn how campaigns worked, in preparation for a future run by his brother, Jack.
    More Details Hide Details Unimpressed with Stevenson, he reportedly voted for incumbent Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • 1954
    Age 28
    For his work on the McCarthy committee, Kennedy was included in a list of Ten Outstanding Young Men of 1954, created by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce.
    More Details Hide Details His father had arranged the nomination, his first national award.
    After a period as an assistant to his father on the Hoover Commission, Kennedy rejoined the Senate committee staff as chief counsel for the Democratic minority in February 1954.
    More Details Hide Details That month, McCarthy's chief counsel Roy Cohn subpoenaed Annie Lee Moss, accusing her of membership in the Communist party. Kennedy revealed that Cohn had called the wrong Annie Lee Moss and he requested the file on Moss from the FBI. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had been forewarned by Cohn and denied him access, referring to RFK as "an arrogant whipper-snapper". When the Democrats gained the majority in the Senate in January 1955, Kennedy became chief counsel and was a background figure in the televised Army-McCarthy Hearings of 1954 into McCarthy's conduct. The Annie Lee Moss incident turned Cohn into an enemy, which led to Kennedy assisting Democratic senators in ridiculing Cohn during the hearings. The animosity grew to the point where Cohn had to be restrained after asking RFK if he wanted to fight him.
  • 1953
    Age 27
    The period of July 1953 to January 1954 saw him have "a professional and personal nadir", feeling that he was adrift while trying to prove himself to the rest of the Kennedy family.
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    He resigned in July 1953, but "retained a fondness for McCarthy".
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  • 1952
    Age 26
    In December 1952, at the behest of his father, Kennedy was appointed by Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy as assistant counsel of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
    More Details Hide Details McCarthy was a friend of the Kennedy family and was the godfather of Robert's daughter Kathleen. However, Kennedy disapproved of the senator's aggressive methods of garnering intelligence on suspected communists. This was a highly visible job for him.
    On June 6, 1952, Kennedy resigned to manage his brother Jack's successful 1952 U.S. Senate campaign in Massachusetts.
    More Details Hide Details JFK's victory was of great importance to the Kennedy family, elevating him to national prominence, and turning him into a serious potential presidential candidate. But his brother's victory was equally important to Robert, who felt he had succeeded in eliminating his father's negative perceptions of him.
    In February 1952, he was transferred to the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn to prosecute fraud cases.
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  • 1951
    Age 25
    In November 1951, Kennedy moved with his wife and daughter to a townhouse in Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and started work as a lawyer in the Internal Security Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; the section was charged with investigating suspected Soviet agents.
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    In October 1951, he embarked on a seven-week Asian trip with his brother John (then Massachusetts 11th district congressman) and their sister Patricia to Israel, India, Vietnam, and Japan.
    More Details Hide Details Because of their age gap, the two brothers had previously seen little of each other—this trip came at the behest of their father and was the first extended time they had spent together, serving to deepen their relationship. On this trip, the brothers met Liaquat Ali Khan just prior to his death by assassination, and India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
    In September 1951, he went to San Francisco as a correspondent for the Boston Post to cover the convention concluding the Treaty of Peace with Japan.
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    Kennedy graduated from law school in June 1951 and flew with Ethel to Greenwich to stay in his father-in-law's guest house.
    More Details Hide Details The couple's first child, Kathleen, was born on July 4, 1951. Kennedy spent the summer studying for the Massachusetts bar exam. During this time, his brother John tried to keep Joe, Sr. "at arm's length". The brothers rarely interacted until Robert was contacted by Kenny O'Donnell to repair the relationship between John and their father during John's Senate campaign. As a result of this, Joe, Sr. came to view Kennedy favorably as reliable and "willing to sacrifice himself" for the family.
  • 1950
    Age 24
    On June 17, 1950, Kennedy married socialite Ethel Skakel, the third daughter of businessman George and Ann Skakel (née Brannack), at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenwich, Connecticut.
    More Details Hide Details The couple had eleven children; Kathleen (born 1951), Joseph (born 1952), Robert Jr. (born 1954), David (1955–1984), Courtney (born 1956), Michael (1958–1997), Kerry (born 1959), Christopher (born 1963), Max (born 1965), Douglas (born 1967), and Rory (born 1968). Rory was born the December after her father's assassination. Kennedy owned a home at the well-known Kennedy compound on Cape Cod in Hyannis Port but spent most of his time at his estate in McLean, Virginia, known as Hickory Hill, located west of Washington, D.C. His widow, Ethel, and their children continued to live at Hickory Hill after his death. She now lives full-time at the Hyannis Port home. Kennedy was said to be the gentlest and shyest of the family as well as the least articulate orally. By the time he was a young boy, his grandmother, Josie Fitzgerald, worried he would become a "sissy". His mother had a similar concern, as he was the "smallest and thinnest", but soon after the family discovered "there was no fear of that". Family friend Lem Billings met Kennedy when he was eight years old and would later reflect that he loved him, adding that he "was the nicest little boy I ever met". Billings also said he was barely noticed "in the early days, but that's because he didn't bother anybody".
    On June 17, 1950, Kennedy married Ethel Skakel at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenwich, Connecticut.
    More Details Hide Details His brother John served as his best man.
  • 1948
    Age 22
    In September 1948, he enrolled at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville.
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy adapted to this new environment, being elected president of the Student Legal Forum, where he successfully produced outside speakers including James M. Landis, William O. Douglas, Arthur Krock, and Joseph McCarthy and his family members Joe Sr. and John F. Kennedy. Kennedy's paper on Yalta, written during his senior year, is deposited in the Law Library's Treasure Trove.
  • 1946
    Age 20
    Throughout 1946, Kennedy became active in his brother John's campaign for the U.S. Representative seat vacated by James Michael Curley, joining the campaign full-time after his naval discharge.
    More Details Hide Details Biographer Schlesinger wrote that the election served as an entry into politics for both Robert and John. Two years later in March 1948, Robert graduated from Harvard with a bachelor's degree in political science. After graduating, he sailed immediately on the with a college friend for a six-month tour of Europe and the Middle East, accredited as a correspondent for the Boston Post, filing six stories. Four of these stories, submitted from Palestine shortly before the end of the British Mandate, provided a first-hand view of the tensions in the land. He was critical of British policy on Palestine, and praised the Jewish people he met there calling them "hardy and tough". He held out some hope after seeing Arabs and Jews working side by side but, in the end, feared that the hatred between the groups was too strong and would lead to a war.
    In September 1946, Kennedy entered Harvard as a junior, having received credit for his time in the V-12 program.
    More Details Hide Details He worked hard to make the Harvard varsity football team as an end, was a starter, and scored a touchdown in the first game of his senior year before breaking his leg in practice. He earned his varsity letter when his coach sent him in for the last minutes of a game against Yale, wearing a cast. His father spoke positively of him when he served as a blocking back and sometime receiver for the faster Dave Hackett. Joseph, Sr. attended some of Kennedy's practices and saw his son catch a touchdown pass in an early-season rout of Western Maryland. His teammates admired his physical courage. He was five feet ten and 155 pounds, which made him too small for college football. Despite this, he was a fearless hitter and once tackled a 230-pound fullback head-on. Wally Flynn, another player, looked up in the huddle after one play to see him crying after having broken his leg. Disregarding the injury, he kept playing.
    On May 30, 1946, he received his honorable discharge from the Navy.
    More Details Hide Details For his service in the Navy, Kennedy was eligible for the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
  • 1945
    Age 19
    On December 15, 1945, the U.S. Navy commissioned the destroyer, and shortly thereafter granted Kennedy's request to be released from naval-officer training to serve aboard Kennedy starting on February 1, 1946 as a seaman apprentice on the ship's shakedown cruise in the Caribbean.
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  • 1944
    Age 18
    Kennedy's brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. was killed in action in August 1944, after his bomber exploded during a volunteer mission known as Operation Aphrodite.
    More Details Hide Details Robert was most affected by his father's reaction to his eldest son's passing. He appeared completely heartbroken and his peer Fred Garfield commented that Kennedy developed depression and questioned his faith for a short time. After his brother's death, Kennedy gained more attention, moving higher up the family patriarchy.
    Six weeks before his 18th birthday, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve as a Seaman Apprentice, but was released from active duty until March 1944 when he left Milton Academy early to report to the V-12 Navy College Training Program at Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    More Details Hide Details His V-12 training occurred at Harvard (March–November 1944), Bates College in Lewiston, Maine (November 1944–June 1945), where he graduated with a specialized V-12 degree along with 15 others) and Harvard once again (June 1945-January 1946). While at Bates College, Kennedy wrote a letter to David Hackett in which he expressed feelings of inadequacy and frustration at being isolated from the action, talked of filling his free time taking classes with other sailors and remarked that "things are the same as usual up here, and me being my usual moody self I get very sad at times." He added, "If I don't get the hell out of here soon I'll die." Aside from Hackett, who was serving as a paratrooper, more of his Parker Hall dorm mates went overseas and left him behind. With others entering combat before him, Kennedy said this made him "feel more and more like a Draft Dodger (sic) or something". He was also frustrated with the apparent desire to shirk military responsibility by some of the other V-12 students.
  • 1942
    Age 16
    In September 1942, Kennedy transferred to his third boarding school, Milton Academy, in Milton, Massachusetts, for eleventh and twelfth grades.
    More Details Hide Details His father Joseph Kennedy, Sr. wanted Kennedy to transfer to Milton, believing it would better prepare his son for Harvard. At Milton, he met and became friends with David Hackett. He invited Hackett to join him for Sunday mass. Hackett started accompanying him, and was impressed when Kennedy took it upon himself to fill in for a missing altar boy one Sunday. Hackett admired Kennedy's determination to bypass his shortcomings, and remembered him redoubling his efforts whenever something did not come easy to him, which included athletics, studies, success with girls, and popularity. Hackett remembered the two of them being "misfits", a commonality that drew him to Kennedy, along with an unwillingness to conform to how others acted even if doing so meant not being accepted. Kennedy's grades improved. One of his first relationships was with a girl named Piedy Bailey. The pair were photographed together when he walked her home after chapel on a Sunday night. Bailey was fond of him and remembered him as being "very appealing". She recalled him being funny, "separate, larky; outside the cliques; private all the time". Soon after he transferred to Milton, he pressed his father to allow him to enlist, as he wanted to catch up to his brothers who were both serving in the military. Kennedy had arrived at Milton unfamiliar with his peers and made little attempt to know the names of his classmates; he called most of the other boys "fella" instead.
  • 1939
    Age 13
    In September 1939, Kennedy began eighth grade at St. Paul's School, an elite Protestant private preparatory school for boys in Concord, New Hampshire, that his father favored.
    More Details Hide Details However, after two months his mother, unhappy with the school's use of the Protestant Bible, took advantage of her ambassador husband's absence from Boston and withdrew Kennedy from St. Paul's. She enrolled him in Portsmouth Priory School, a Benedictine Catholic boarding school for boys in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, which held daily morning and evening prayers and mass three times a week, with a high mass on Sundays. Kennedy attended Portsmouth for eighth through tenth grade. At Portsmouth Priory School, Kennedy was known as "Mrs. Kennedy's little boy Bobby" after he introduced his mother to classmates, who made fun of them. He was defensive of his mother, and on one occasion chased a student out of the dormitory after the boy had commented on her appearance. He befriended Peter MacLellan and wrote to him, when his brother John was serving in the U.S. Navy, that he would be visiting his brother "because he might be killed any minute". Kennedy blamed himself when his grades failed to improve. In letters to her son, Rose urged him to read more and to strengthen his vocabulary. Rose also expressed disappointment and wrote that she did not expect him to let her down. He began developing in other ways, and his brother John noticed his increased physical strength, predicting that the younger Kennedy "would be bouncing me around plenty in two more years". Monks at Portsmouth Priory School regarded him as a moody and indifferent student.
    In April 1939, he gave his first public speech at the laying of a cornerstone for a youth club in England.
    More Details Hide Details According to embassy and newspaper reports, his statements were penciled in his own hand and were delivered in a "calm and confident" manner.
  • 1938
    Age 12
    In March 1938, Kennedy sailed with his mother and his four youngest siblings to England to join his father who had begun serving as ambassador to the United Kingdom.
    More Details Hide Details He attended the private Gibbs School for Boys in London for seventh grade, returning to the United States just before the outbreak of World War II in Europe.
  • 1933
    Age 7
    Kennedy spent summers with his family at their compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, and Christmas and Easter holidays at their winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, purchased in 1933.
    More Details Hide Details He attended public elementary school in Riverdale from kindergarten through second grade; then Bronxville School, the public school in Bronxville, from third through fifth grade. He repeated the third grade. A teacher at Bronxville reflected that he was "a regular boy". She added, "It seemed hard for him to finish his work sometimes. But he was only ten after all." He then attended Riverdale Country School, a private school for boys in Riverdale, for sixth grade. He would later recall of his childhood "going to different schools, always having to make new friends, and that I was very awkward and I was pretty quiet most of the time. And I didn't mind being alone." He developed an interest in American history, decorating his bedroom with pictures of U.S. Presidents and filling his bookshelves with volumes on the American Civil War. He also became an avid stamp collector, once receiving a handwritten letter from Franklin Roosevelt, who was also a philatelist.
  • 1927
    Age 1
    In September 1927, the Kennedy family moved to Riverdale, New York, a wealthy neighborhood in the Bronx, then two years later, moved northeast to Bronxville, New York.
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  • 1925
    Robert F. Kennedy was born on November 20, 1925, in Brookline, Massachusetts, the seventh child of businessman/politician Joseph P. "Joe" Kennedy, Sr. (1888–1969) and philanthropist Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890–1995).
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