Senator Robert F. Kennedy announcing his presidential bid. (Bettman/Getty Images)

Things Worth Remembering: RFK’s Tribute to a Slain Hero

Hours after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Kennedy called upon a crowd to find ‘wisdom through the awful grace of God.’

Welcome to Douglas Murray’s column, Things Worth Remembering, in which he presents great speeches from famous orators we should commit to heart. To listen to Robert F. Kennedy deliver his 1968 speech in Indianapolis on the night of Martin Luther King’s murder, and Douglas’s reflections on it, scroll to the end of this piece.

There is a style of speaking that I call freefall. You stand in front of an audience with little or no idea of what you are going to say and just jump. Of course, you hope that the parachute opens. But it doesn’t always. It is the hardest type of public speaking, but it can also be the most successful, because it allows you to adapt to your audience’s every murmur, laugh, or silence.

When I think of the most successful version of freefall speaking, I invariably think of the remarkable speech that Robert F. Kennedy gave in Indianapolis on April 4, 1968—the night that Martin Luther King was assassinated.

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