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HOME   -   FAMOUS SPEECHES IN HISTORY   -   ON THE DEATH OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

 
   


BOBBY KENNEDY ANNOUNCING MARTIN LUTHER KING'S DEATH
BOBBY KENNEDY ANNOUNCING MARTIN LUTHER KING'S DEATH
 

On the Death of Martin Luther King Jr.

 


Go here for more about
Robert F. Kennedy.

Go here for more about
Kennedy's Speech On the Death of MLK.



Video clip - Bobby Kennedy announcing the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Scroll down for the text transcript.

 

 

It follows the full text transcript of Robert F. Kennedy's speech on the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered at Indianapolis, Indiana - April 4, 1968.


 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Iím only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening. Because... I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, itís perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.

For those of you who are black - considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote:

"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."


What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, yeah thatís true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love - a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. Weíve had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and itís not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Thank you very much.
 

 


 



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