Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 15: We Shall Overcome
Introduction Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Segment 5 Segment 6 Segment 7 Segment 8

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Bobby Kennedy
Segment 7
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This terrible war has claimed yet another victim—the President of the United States. The next evening, in Memphis, Dr. King speaks to a huge crowd. Once again, like during his "I Have a Dream" speech, he uses no notes; he just speaks from his heart: "I would like to live a long life. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. And I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. I have a dream this afternoon that the brotherhood of man will become a reality.... I'm not worrying about anything, 'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.' " Check The Source - "I'm Not Worried About Anything"

The next evening, Martin Luther King, Jr., goes out onto the balcony off his room at the Lorraine Motel to breathe some fresh air before dinner. His friend Ralph Abernathy hears something that sounds like a firecracker. But it is no firecracker. Martin Luther King, Jr., has been shot dead. He is thirty-nine years old. His assassin, a white man named James Earl Ray, will be captured two months later at an airport, in London, England.

Robert Kennedy hears the news about Dr. King in Indianapolis, See It Now - Bobby Kennedy just before he is to speak to a black crowd in a troubled section of the city. "Cancel the talk," the mayor of Indianapolis urges. The police refuse to protect him. But Kennedy will not leave. He climbs onto the back of a truck and tells the crowd of the tragedy in Memphis. "Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort," Kennedy says. "In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black, you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and with a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love." Check The Source - "To Replace Violence With Compassion"

The crowd is hushed; people weep; and there is no violence in Indianapolis that day.

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Did You Know?
J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI in the 1960s, hated Dr. King. He was using illegal methods to tap King's phone, and he was starting rumors and planting false articles in newspapers. Later, the truth came out about Hoover.

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

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