Robert F. Kennedy Speaks on Violence, One Day After M.L. King, Jr.'s Assassination

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Date: Aug. 23, 2016
Document Type: Video file
Duration: 00:02:03
Length: 199 words
Content Level: (Level 4)

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This clip of archival footage is excerpted from a speech made by Robert F. Kennedy to the Cleveland City Club on April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. His speech centered on the theme of violence in society, and he described it as being a time of shame and sorrow in America.
CBS News/BBC Worldwide Learning

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear; violence breeds violence, repression breeds retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls. Whenever we tear at the fabric of our lives which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, whenever we do this, then the whole nation is degraded. "Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the cases and pay the cost." Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easier for men of all shades of sanity to acquire weapons and ammunition that they desire. Too often we honor swagger and blaster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|TNTFKR801001725