Three Poems For Martin Luther King Day | HuffPost Life
The candidate, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, had been warned not to go by the city's police chief. He turned to an aide and asked, "Do they know about Martin Luther King?" And Kennedy sought to heal the racial wounds that were certain to follow by referring to the death of his own. The nation remembers Martin Luther King on Monday, so let's take a look "A Poem on the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy" meditates on. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Rose While his relationship with King had slowly improved from.
It all looked different now. Privately, though, Bobby was dismissive of the commission, seeing it, in the words of his former press secretary, as a public relations tool aimed at placating a rattled populace.
He made no mention of the hunches that appeared to be rattling around in his own mind. There is no indication that Bobby ever found evidence to prove a wider conspiracy. Cuba, the Mafia, and the CIA. And by the time the president was gunned down, Bobby understood better than anyone how all three had become hopelessly interwoven, and how much all three bore his own imprint. Was there something I did to encourage it?
Was I to blame? For while John Kennedy was the one gunned down, Bobby had reason to believe he may have been the ultimate target. As for that new president in waiting, Bobby took a call from Lyndon Johnson as he sat aboard Air Force One, phoning to get from the attorney general the precise wording for the oath of office he would soon take.
The conversation between RFK and LBJ, like their relationship itself, was strained, with their mutual disrespect barely concealed.
Even in his grief, Bobby had to recognize this: It would usher into the Oval Office the man he had aggressively tried to keep off the ticket inand then had belittled and ostracized for the three years that followed. There would be payback. The attorney general often began his days with meetings at CIA headquarters in Langley. Bobby knew Draznin had impeccable mob sources, so he asked him to do some digging to determine if there had been any Mafia involvement in the assassination.
As the crusading chief counsel of the Senate Rackets Committee in the s, Bobby had made a national name for himself by grilling leading gangsters as he exposed the nefarious connections between the mob and American labor unions.
His chief nemesis during these hearings was Jimmy Hoffa, the squat, bull-faced leader of the Teamsters union. Bobby accused Hoffa of funneling millions in worker pension funds into a money-laundering scheme with mob leaders.
That alliance bought the Teamster leader muscle to silence his enemies and scare corporate leaders into submission. Bobby had been unrelenting in his war against these mob and labor leaders, ignoring the admonition of his father to choose less violence-prone targets and dismissing the underworld threats against his own life. Instead, Bobby had doubled down, even persuading his brother Jack, then a senator, to join the cause. After Jack became president and he attorney general, Bobby wasted little time in leveraging the full force of the Justice Department to try to crush these corrupt characters.
An immediate focus, according to several of his aides with direct knowledge, was Hoffa. But, according to an oral history that Sheridan would eventually give to the John F.
The reaction of the pugnacious labor leader was unlike that of most other Americans. While not on trial at the time, another mob leader close to Hoffa was also chafing under the intense scrutiny of the Justice Department.
Trafficante had been imprisoned in Cuba in In addition to lots of underworld associations, Trafficante and Hoffa even shared a lawyer, Frank Ragano. He thought Hoffa was just venting, and delivered the message jokingly, but said the two mobsters seemed to take it much more seriously.
Marcello ended up being acquitted in New Orleans the same day that the president was killed. Trafficante is also alleged to have made a deathbed confession of his involvement to his lawyer, expressing regret that maybe the gun should have been pointed at Bobby. This is the same Giancana who, it would later be revealed, had shared a mistress with JFK. In a recent interview, Kaiser said he believes Marcello, Trafficante, and probably Giancana — likely at the behest of Hoffa — were all involved in putting in motion the hit on JFK.
As for Giancana, he was expected to testify in before a Senate subcommittee co-chaired by Gary Hart of Colorado. Established to investigate the JFK assassination, the subcommittee was the first official body to openly question the lone-gunman narrative of the Warren Commission.
But before Giancana could appear, his bullet-riddled body was found in his basement in suburban Chicago.
That speculation only intensified after the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, whose record of pro-Castro agitation quickly came to light. The Kennedy brothers had refused to launch a full-scale military invasion of the island nation, and by had even begun authorizing some back-channel efforts toward compromise with both Castro and his Soviet benefactors. This, Bobby knew, would be viewed as intolerable by the most hard-line Cuban exiles.
Written by Richard Helms, the wily CIA deputy director who many believed was really running the agency, the report was contained in the confidential RFK Justice Department files released earlier this year. What would now happen to their movement? What if his murder was only the first of a series that was still under way?
Who among them would be next? And how could they help stop the rioting that had broken out in ghettos across America — the violent antithesis of everything for which King had stood? But the same nineteen-inch Philco Starlite television set that beamed scenes of America aflame that night also brought some consolation, from Indianapolis, where Senator Robert F.
Kennedy had spoken shortly after King had been declared dead. And unlike so many other cities that night, Indianapolis had stayed calm.
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King would have you doing. They were right there at the hospital, and all they wanted to do was talk about the autopsy. Or they were going around chasing the kids with the firebombs, trying to interview them. It was almost like they were trying to provoke a riot. We were grateful he was out there.
So had the Indianapolis police. Even Kennedy might have had second thoughts. Why would Kennedy, of all people, subject himself to such a risk? Kennedy at his desk at the Justice Department.
When the moment came, he knew instantly what he wanted, and needed, and had promised, to do. The story of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy is hard to tell because they left so few fragments of it behind. For two such famous men whose lives and fates were so closely intertwined, there was only a scant paper trail. Lots of what happened between them happened privately, mostly in unrecorded phone calls, beyond the reach of journalists and historians.
They evidently wanted it that way. And then, in the last few years of their lives, it trailed off almost entirely into telepathy. As often as they came to appear together posthumously — in the memorial drawings, photographs, tapestries, and crockery, usually in triptychs with John F.
Connecting Two Lions - Martin Luther King and Robert Francis Kennedy
Kennedy, found largely in black homes — there are few photographs of the two, most of them snapshots or group pictures. Both had larger-than-life, tyrannical fathers.
Both were deeply religious. Both were ever in a hurry, for each knew about the capriciousness and brevity of life. It popped up so often — in virtually every profile — that it became a running joke: People were forever diagnosing the many, many moments when Robert Kennedy changed out of that.
Perhaps that meant he never really did, or had and then relapsed. Though his faith occasionally faltered, there were few epiphanies.