RFK after the DC riots, April 7, 1968

By April 7, 2018Uncategorized

50 YEARS AGO TODAY: Having helped to quiet Indianapolis after the death of Dr. King on April 4, and made an extended plea for an end to violence April 5 in Cleveland, Robert Kennedy returned to one of the cities worst hit by riots: Washington DC. With city officials and members of the community, he walked a 22-block area that had been ground zero. Here’s how we described the scene in our book:

“Soldiers in full battle gear, deployed on tanks and armored personnel carriers, attempted to keep the cur- few. On Sunday, April 7, he walked the riot-torn neighborhoods with D.C. City Councilman the Reverend Walter Fauntroy, who remembered that ‘the stench of burning wood and broken glass were all over the place. We walked the streets. The troops were on duty. A crowd gathered behind us, following Bobby Kennedy. The troops saw us coming at a distance, and they put on their gas masks and got the guns at ready, waiting for this horde of blacks coming up the street. When they saw it was Bobby Kennedy, they took off their masks and let us through. They looked awfully relieved.’”

Caption on the featured image, from the Washington Post: “An April 7, 1968, photo showing Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y., stepping through the debris of a building razed by fire during a 22-block tour on foot, April 7, 1968, through the badly damaged area along 14th Street is placed on a easel at the present day corner of 7th and U Streets in northwest Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais).”