Posted June 5, 2008 – Forty years ago today, the life of Robert F. "Bobby" Kennedy was cut short by an assassin's bullet.
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Kennedy had just finished addressing his supporters in a ballroom at the Los Angeles Ambassador Hotel, after winning the critical California presidential nomination. He then went through a hotel service area to greet some of his supporters, who were working in the kitchen when an assassin shot him in the head. At that moment, he clutched a rosary given to him by a busboy as he bled to death. Kennedy was 42. Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of the murder and remains in the California state prison at Corcoran.
Bobby’s brother, President John Kennedy, had been killed less than five years earlier, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. two months earlier.
Four decades after the two murders, Black Americans are torn between the hope that Barack Obama will reach the White House and the fear that he too could fall to an assassin. In May, Obama was given full Secret Service protection. It was the earliest juncture for any presidential candidate since the practice was first introduced following the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy.
The possibility of Obama having a similar fate is etched deep in the minds of many Black Americans, especially those who remember the events of 1968. However, Obama has a message for those concerned about his safety; "stop worrying," noting that neither King nor Sen. Kennedy had the Secret Service with them.
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