Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Remembering Bobby Kennedy's Death 50 Years Later

Barbara Perry RFK Robert Kennedy
Barbara Perry
Last Saturday's episode of The Score on Bearing Drift featured an interview with Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.  I spoke to Dr. Perry about the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-New York) as he was campaigning in California for his party's presidential nomination.

Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan on June 5 (although, as Dr. Perry acknowledges but dismisses in our interview, there is some dispute over whether Sirhan's gun killed RFK or if there was a second gunman) and died on June 6, 1968.  Coincidentally, California Governor Ronald Reagan, who also sought his party's presidential nomination that year, although briefly, died on June 5, 2004, and June 6 is the anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II.

My interview with Barbara Perry can be heard at about the 26-minute mark of The Score for June 2, 2018, on Bearing Drift.  Here's an excerpt from the program notes for that episode.

This coming week, on June 6, Americans will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy, who was gunned down during a tumultuous year that also saw the murder of Martin Luther King Junior, riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and a turning point in public opposition to the war in Vietnam. I spoke by telephone to presidential scholar Barbara Perry of the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia about the significance of Kennedy’s death fifty years ago. (The Score also featured Dr. Perry a few weeks ago, when she talked about the late Barbara Bush and the role of First Ladies.) Those of you old enough to remember RFK's funeral will no doubt still recall the haunting version of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sung at St. Patrick's Cathedral by the pop star and Kennedy family friend, Andy Williams. It's not on the podcast but seemed appropriate to embed here.