1968 was an intense year, both MLK JR. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, and there were lots of riots. What a year. To begin, first was MLK. Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Texas by James Earl Ray. Ray was a racist and strongly against desegregation. It is believed that he had planned for months ahead of time. This resulted in race riots, because naturally, people were angry about the assassination of a their role model. The highest concentration of these riots were in cities like Washington D.C., Kansas City, and Baltimore. Eventually, the riots started to get violent, which is unfortunate considering that that would be the last thing King would have ever wanted. 350 people were arrested and ten died in the chaos of the burning cars, window breaking. Riots continued all the way through May.
The next major assassination that year was of Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother. Robert had just passed the democratic primary to continue his brothers presidency and legacy. Shortly after passing primary, he was shot multiple times by Sirhan Sirhan, on June 5th, 1968, though he did not die until the next day. Unfortunately, not only was Kennedy killed, but five others around him were injured by the shooter.
The final crisis in this standard is the Chicago Democratic National Convention (DNC). This riots at the convention were started because the democratic party was deciding its stance on communist Vietnam, which of course brought out Vietnam war protestors from all around to fight against this. Police fought the crowds back not only with physically fighting them, but also with gasses to get the crowd to leave. Thee injuries had doctors speeding over to help. Doctor, protestors, reporters, everyone alike were hurt and killed by the police.
I learned that 1968 was a very rough year, role models and activists were killed and riots got violent all over the country. That must have been a scary time for a lot of people. I am curious what kind of president Robert Kennedy would have been, but we will never know. Unfortunately a lot of lives were lost in the fight for equality, but it just pushed the cause forward and help get us to where we are today.