June 5, 1968: Robert Kennedy Is Assassinated

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The Kennedys have been a family infused with politics, celebrity, public service, and tragedy for decades. Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968—just a few years after his brother, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated.

Kennedy's tenure is best known for its advocacy for the civil rights movement, the fight against organized crime and the Mafia, and involvement in U.S. foreign policy related to Cuba. In office, Kennedy opposed racial discrimination and U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

In 1968, Kennedy became a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency by appealing to poor, African American, Hispanic, Catholic, and young voters.

He addressed his supporters shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, in a ballroom at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. As he left through the hotel kitchen, he was shot.

As Kennedy lay mortally wounded, hotel busboy Juan Romero cradled his head and placed a rosary in his hand. Kennedy asked Romero, "Is everybody OK?", and Romero responded, "Yes, everybody's OK."

Kennedy's assassination was a blow to the optimism for a brighter future that his campaign had brought for many Americans who lived through the turbulent 1960s. His death has been cited as a significant factor in the Democratic Party's loss of the 1968 presidential election to Richard Nixon.

Kennedy's ideas about using government authority to assist less fortunate peoples became central to American liberalism as a tenet of the "Kennedy legacy."

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