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Bobby Kennedy Lesson for Kids: Speeches, Quotes, & Assassination

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

This lesson talks about Bobby Kennedy, who was the brother of President John F. Kennedy. Find out why his words left such an impression on people all over the world.

Who Is Bobby Kennedy?

When some people give speeches, they put words together in a way that makes the listener remember them and really think about the speaker's message. Bobby Kennedy (also known as Robert F. Kennedy and RFK), was one of those people.

RFK lived in the 1960s and was part of a family that was active in politics and public service. His brother, John F. Kennedy (JFK), was elected president of the United States in 1960, but was assassinated (killed) in 1963. RFK became attorney general when his brother was president and wanted to do more. After JFK died he became a United States Senator for New York, and in 1968 he ran for president. Along the way, he gave some remarkable and powerful speeches. Below are just a few of his most famous quotes.

Robert F. Kennedy
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Speeches and Quotes

  • ''If we do our duty . . . not just as Democrats, but as American citizens. . . then this generation of Americans is going to be the best generation in the history of mankind.''

RFK said these words in a speech that was a tribute to JFK. Even after his brother was assassinated, Bobby offered a hopeful vision for the future.

RFK with his brothers John and Ted
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  • ''We must recognize the full human equality of all of our people . . . not because it is economically advantageous - although it is; not because the laws of God command it - although they do; not because people in other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do.''

Bobby Kennedy traveled to South Africa, where he gave a speech to the University of Cape Town in 1966 to a group of white students. They were against apartheid , a system that treated whites and blacks differently. He talked about the power that young people have to bring about change. This speech is also called the ''Ripple of Hope'' because of a line that says that when a person does the right thing, he sends out a ''ripple of hope.'' As there are more ripples, they can become something bigger and more powerful to make a change.

  • ''Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?''

This was a quote by George Bernard Shaw RFK included this in his speeches.

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