Robert F. Kennedy left a lasting legacy in his numerous speeches before his tragic assassination in 1968.
On November 20, 1925, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was born in Massachusetts. Assassinated on June 6, 1968, RFK was a politician and lawyer, serving as the 64th United States Attorney General from January 1961 to September 1964, and as a U.S. Senator from New York from January 1965 until his assassination.
For many historians, RFK has become an icon of modern American liberalism, transforming into a champion of the working class, the poor, and minorities.
Best Robert F. Kennedy quotes:
The Irish were not wanted there [when his grandfather came to Boston]. Now an Irish Catholic is president of the United States … There is no question about it. In the next 40 years a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother has. … We have tried to make progress and we are making progress … we are not going to accept the status quo. … The United States Government has taken steps to make sure that the constitution of the United States applies to all individuals.
The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use — of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public.
- I Remember, I Believe," The Pursuit of Justice (1964)
Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.
- "Extremism, Left and Right," pt. 3, (1964)
Just because we cannot see clearly the end of the road, that is no reason for not setting out on the essential journey. On the contrary, great change dominates the world, and unless we move with change we will become its victims
- Farewell statement, Warsaw, Poland, reported in The New York Times (2 July 1964)
A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.
- Speech in the United States Senate (9 May 1966)
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.
- Day of Affirmation, address delivered at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (June 6, 1966); reported in the Congressional Record (June 6, 1966), vol. 112, p. 12430.
*Originally published on Nov 19, 2019, last updated in November 2020.
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