It was April 4, 1968. At 6:01 p.m., across the street from the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, a gunman fired a rifle-and the leader of the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lay mortally wounded. As news of King's assassination spread, American cities were engulfed in chaos and fear. Urban areas erupted in riots. Fires burned out of control. Dozens of people were killed. Robert F. Kennedy, meanwhile, was en route to Indianapolis, where at 9 p.m. he was scheduled to make a campaign appearance in an African-American neighborhood. Pressing questions arose: Should Kennedy venture into the heart of the Indianapolis inner city and talk to the potentially volatile crowd gathered in a park? What could he say that would assuage their grief? Should he defy the Indianapolis city officials who ordered him to stay away? Would his life be in danger? Kennedy didn't blink. Despite the violence raging across the country, he courageously kept his promise to speak, climbing up on a shaky flatbed truck and delivering a moving, extemporaneous plea for peace and reconciliation-a talk that eventually would be regarded as one of the great political speeches of the twentieth century. A Ripple of Hope draws on interviews with Kennedy aides and associates, as well as "everyday people" who were in the crowd that night, to tell the story of an inspiring moment in American history.
Robert F. Kennedy,Martin Luther King Jr.