We would like to print excerpts of the speech Robert Kennedy gave in 1968 on the night that Martin Luther King was murdered. This speech was made off the top of his head.
“I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace and all over the world; and that is, that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.
Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort….For those of you who are black–considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge…..
For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with–be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.;;;
What we need in the United State is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they are white or whether they are black.
So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King-yeah, it’s true–but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love– a prayer for understanding and compassion of which I spoke.
We can do well for this country. We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past, but we– and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it is not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.
And, let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago; to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.
Thank you very much.