World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Robert F. Kennedy Speech Collection


Robert F. Kennedy Speech Collection

The Robert F. Kennedy Speech Collection is a collection of Ball State University's Digital Media Repository containing a film, transcript, and complete audio recording of Robert F. Kennedy's April 4, 1968 speech in Muncie, Indiana. The collection also contains many photographs and a short research paper.

On March 16, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy declared his candidacy for president of the United States saying, “I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man but to propose new polices.”[1] On March 28, he flew into Weir Cook Airport in Indianapolis to file as a presidential candidate in the Indiana primary.

On April 4, Kennedy made his first stop on the Indiana campaign trail at the University of Notre Dame, where a rally was held in support of his candidacy. Kennedy then continued on to Muncie, Indiana where he spoke at Ball State University.

In some ways, Robert F. Kennedy was following in his slain brother’s footsteps by visiting Muncie. John F. Kennedy spoke in Muncie during his 1960 campaign for presidency. Robert F. Kennedy’s stop in Muncie was part of his campus tour; he was scheduled to spend five days in Indiana and his brother Edward Kennedy was to campaign in the state for six days as well. Plans called for the entire Kennedy family to visit Indiana before the May 7, primary.

Local attorney Marshall Hanley was instrumental in bringing Robert F. Kennedy to Muncie. Hanley was the 10th District coordinator for the Kennedy campaign, a position he held during John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign.

The Men’s Gym was selected as the location for Kennedy’s speech; however there was much concern over filling all the seats in the gym. Conversely, the Gym was filled to capacity, with an estimated 9,000 people filling all the seats and the entire playing court, after playing waiting hours for Kennedy’s appearance.

On stage Kennedy was accompanied by his wife, Robert Stewart, Mayor Paul Cooley, Mrs. ArmeNa Rahe, and Marshall Hanley. Kennedy spoke for 34 minutes and spent 21 minutes answering questions presented by the audience. Kennedy’s speech was devoted to domestic issues and to potential international issues that may arise after withdrawal from the Vietnam War. He also spoke passionately about hunger and poverty in America and the rest of the world.[2]

One student African-American student raised a question to Kennedy that seems almost a premonition of the speech to come later that night after the horrific events of the day. The student asked, “Your speech implies that you are placing a great deal of faith in white America. Is that faith justified?” Kennedy answered, “Yes” and added that “faith in Black America is justified, too” although he said there “are extremists on both sides.”[3]

It has been argued that although this speech has been largely overlooked and ignored, due to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., it was one of most powerful and heartfelt speeches Kennedy delivered.[4]

From Muncie, the Kennedy entourage flew back to Indianapolis that night where Robert F. Kennedy delivered what many call his greatest speech, announcing the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination to a predominantly African-American audience. Discarding the themes of his earlier speeches, Kennedy addressed the crowd for six minutes, speaking entirely about King’s death and its meaning for the nation and the world, ending by asking for prayers for King, his family, and “for our country.”

On May 7, 1968, Kennedy won Indiana’s Democratic primary with 42% of the vote compared to 31% for Indiana Governor Roger D. Branigin and 27% for Eugene McCarthy. Kennedy’s trip to Muncie had a positive impact on Delaware County voters, as he received 40% of the votes cast in the county.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Straw, John, (2005). RFK in Middletown
  2. ^ Straw, John, (2005). RFK in Middletown
  3. ^ Straw, John, (2005). RFK in Middletown
  4. ^ Clarke, Thurston (2008). The last campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 days that inspired America. New York: Henry Holt and Company. p. 85.
  5. ^ Straw, John, (2005). RFK in Middletown

External links

  • Robert F. Kennedy Speech Collection [1]
  • Ball State University [2]
  • Ball State University Libraries [3]
  • Ball State University Libraries' Digital Media Repository [4]
  • Ball State University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections [5]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.