Robert F. Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968) who is often referred to as RFK or Bobby was a contemporary social reformer who integrated his Christian faith into efforts to solve social issues and injustices. By contemporary, I mean years of his life overlapped with many of us who are alive today.
The term “chameleon” is often used to describe a contemporary social reformer who changes one color as a result of personal ambition to increase social power and another color as a result of personal ambition to decrease social injustices. RFK was described as such by his contemporaries. To whatever degree this was true, it is evident he strived to reconcile these two ambitions as an United States Attorney General, United States Senator, and during the 81 days of his presidential campaign before an assassin’s bullets ended his chances of becoming President of the United States.
Bobby’s speeches and books are filled with quotes, stories, and teachings that clearly show that his public life was guided by his Christian faith as he strove to solve and end social injustices such as poverty and prejudice.
Speeches and Quotes by RFK
- “A Tiny Ripple of Hope,” delivered June 6, 1966 at Jameson Hall, Cape Town, South Africa.
“Each time a man (or women) 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 which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
- “On the Mindless Menace of Violence,” a speech given at the City Club of Cleveland on April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter. This is the breaking of a man’s (woman’s) spirit by denying him (or her) the chance to stand as a father (or mother) and as a man (or women) among other men (or women). And this too afflicts us all.”
Books about RFK
The Gospel According to RFK, edited with commentary by Norman MacAfee
Robert F. Kennedy: A Spiritual Biography, by Konstantin Sidorenko
Robert F. Kennedy: Apostle of Change, by Douglas Ross
Make Gentle the Life of this World: The Vision of Robert F. Kennedy, edited and with an introduction by Maxwell Taylor Kennedy
Books by RFK
Just Friends and Brave Enemies
The Enemy Within: The Mcclellan Committee’s Crusade Against Jimmy Hoffa And Corrupt Labor Unions
Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis (was released one year after his assassination)
For more information about RFK please click on the following web site to the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights – http://rfkcenter.org