On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated outside of Memphis Hotel. That same day Robert Kennedy was scheduled to speak in Indianapolis at 17th and Broadway as part of a routine campaign stop. Kennedy’s team urged him to cancel the appearance. They feared for Kennedy’s safety, as they saw other cities in the nation erupt in violence due to the tragedy. Going against of what was advised, Kennedy went out and spoke to the crowd. Kennedy’s speech urged for peace, making Indy one of the only cities not to riot the night of Martin Luther King Jr’s tragic death.
Each year on April 4th a powerful gathering takes place at Marin Luther King Jr. Park. Join the inspiration tonight at 5 pm with Kennedy King Memorial tonight as the initiative commemorates the date with Pastor David Greene of Concerned Clergy, 1960s Freedom Rider Frances Wilson Canty, plus performances, tributes, and of course, the iconic speech by Robert F. Kennedy.
“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness; but love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another.” These were a few of the words that Robert Kennedy spoke in Indianapolis 49 years ago.
The Kennedy King Memorial Park is located within Indianapolis’ Martin Luther King Park on 17th and Broadway. In 1994, President Clinton to announced a national competition to build a “Landmark for Peace” on the site where Robert Kennedy delivered his speech. Now stands a sculpture that honors the contributions of both Kennedy and King.