June 6, 1968 – June 6, 2018: the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy

“Barefoot and Boss.” Barefoot Sanders and Robert F. Kennedy, Dallas, Nov. 14, 1961. Andy Hanson photograph, DeGolyer Library, SMU






Fifty years ago, like his brother President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy – Bobby – was murdered by an assassin’s bullet.  The year 1968 was a tempestuous time in America. The Vietnam War continued, and the anti-war movement peaked. Martin Luther King had been killed earlier in the year, igniting riots across the country. President Lyndon B. Johnson decided not to seek a second term in the upcoming election. Robert Kennedy, former U.S. Attorney General, stepped up to a swell of support, running for national office. He was perceived by some to be the only man in American politics capable of uniting the people. He was beloved by minorities for his integrity and devotion to the civil rights cause.



“For a whole generation of progressive political activists and journalists, there was a glimmer of something different in RFK than the more conventional politics of his brothers Jack and Ted — an ability to both put together a mind-bending coalition of minority and white-working-class voters that would blow up the racial politics the GOP was beginning to aggressively embrace by 1968 and to keep the fraying New Deal majority alive.” New York Magazine, June 5, 2018


Quotes from Robert F. Kennedy:

“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” 

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

“All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”

“Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.”

The picture above is from the Andy Hanson photographs collection. Hanson worked for the Dallas Times Herald for thirty years until it closed in 1991. He photographed and actively documented the theater, opera, musical, and social events in the city. Included in the collection are many photographs and negatives of famous, high profile, politicians, celebrities, and newsworthy people in Dallas.

For some Hanson images online, see:


Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library, SMU