5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Bobby Kennedy

On June 5, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles by a man named Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy was running for president, and he was addressing campaign workers that evening after winning the California primary.  Despite his premature death, he remains a major figure in U.S. culture and politics. Here are five things you probably didn't know about Bobby Kennedy.


Kennedy Was a Key Figure in the FBI Surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. # Robert F. Kennedy had just won the California primary when he was assassinated. Photo credit: By Photo by Warren K. Leffler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Believe it or not, Kennedy was the one who authorized the FBI surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., starting in 1963. The FBI was convinced that King was a communist sympathizer and pressured Kennedy to allow the surveillance. So, Kennedy himself was not so suspicious of King to want that surveillance—but he did eventually give in to J. Edgar Hoover's request, which led to King being surveilled for three years.

However, He Was Also a Major Figure in Protecting Civil Rights. # Kennedy frequently traveled around the country to learn more about local social and economic conditions. Photo credit: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. However, before you dismiss Kennedy, remember that he was a major figure in protecting key civil rights people and events. After Dr. King's assassination, Kennedy, who was supposed to attend one of King's rallies, still went there, announced King's death, and pleaded with the crowd to stay calm. While riots broke out in other cities, Indianapolis—where King was assassinated and Kennedy made that speech—did not succumb to major violence. Kennedy was also the person who helped protect the first African-American student, James Meredith, at the University of Mississippi by having U.S. marshals guard him. Kennedy also protested apartheid in South Africa and traveled around the U.S. to study poverty and its real-world effects on society.


Kennedy Worked on One Candidate's Campaign and Yet Voted for the Other Candidate. Back in the 1950s, Kennedy joined Adlai Stevenson's presidential campaign for about six weeks. Stevenson was the Democrat running against Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, but Stevenson's campaign ended up practically ignoring young Kennedy. By the end of the campaign season, Kennedy switched sides and voted for Eisenhower.

He Was Among the First Group to Ascend Mount Kennedy in Canada Despite Never Having Climbed Before. In 1965, the tallest unclimbed peak on the North American continent was Mount Kennedy in Canada. The mountain had just been named in honor of John Kennedy, and Bobby decided he was going to be the first to climb the mountain even though he was not a mountain climber. However, with the help of a very good and very experienced team of climbers, Kennedy made it, and he left several mementos of John at the summit.

Kennedy Tried to Prevent Lyndon Johnson From Accepting the Vice Presidential Spot on John Kennedy's Campaign. Bobby Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson did not get along, to put it nicely. In fact, the dislike, at least on Bobby's side, was severe. Johnson had already accepted John Kennedy's offer to be on the ticket in the 1960 election, but that didn't stop Bobby from trying to get Johnson to refuse the position. John told Johnson to ignore Bobby.

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