LGBT Rights Movement: The Patch Raid and Flower Power Protest

The Patch was a gay bar that opened in April 1968 on the Pacific Coast Highway in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA [1].

Gay Rights Movement In 1960s America. Photo:

In the midst of the LGBT rights movement, The Patch was raided in August 1968 by Los Angeles police officers after a four-month-long battle within the community. Patrons responded to the raid by protesting in what became known as the 1968 Flower Power Protest against the Los Angeles Police [2]. This marked an important moment of the gay rights movement as “one of the first sites of resistance against police harassment of gay meeting places and establishments” [3].

The Patch Raid and Flower Power Protest Against the Los Angeles Police Department

The Patch, formerly located at 610 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles, CA. Photo: The Los Angeles Advocate, July 1968, page 19.

Because The Patch offered live music and allowed men to dance together, it became one of the most popular gay bars in Los Angeles once it opened in 1968. However, the police commission opposed many of the bar’s policies, and while they did not make arrests, they frequently visited to ensure patrons followed the law, ticketed parked cars, and refused to arrest bystanders who harassed patrons outside [4]. The local PTA and musician’s union also protested the bar, with tension in the community consistently building [5].  

LAPD checks IDs outside of The Patch, August 1968. Photo: Box Turtle Bulletin.

According to The Los Angeles Advocate, a local activist newsletter, the building tension “came to a head” on August 17, 1968, when officers entered the bar to begin checking IDs, which frequently resulted in patrons scattering from gay bars to avoid arrest or humiliation [6]. The owner of The Patch, Lee Glaze, however, encouraged patrons to resist intimidation from the police. “It’s not against the law to be a homosexual,” he said, “and it’s not a crime to be in a gay bar” [7]. The officers ultimately made two arrests for “lewd conduct.” But at Glaze’s urging, the remaining crowd of 250 stayed at the bar [7]. This marked the first act of resistance associated with this event.

Owner of The Patch, Lee Glaze. Photo: Box Turtle Bulletin.

Historians have been careful to note that with only two arrests made, this was not a full police raid as sometimes occurred at gay bars during this period, and that patrons did not leave after the arrests was already significant. But once the bar closed for the evening, Glaze bought all of the flowers from one of his patron’s flower shops, and invited the crowd to join him in taking them to the Los Angeles Police Department in protest, where the two patrons had been detained after their arrest [7].

Flower Power Protest of LAPD by patrons of The Patch, August 1968. Photo: Box Turtle Bulletin.

During the 1960s, flowers were frequently used as a means of peacefully protesting, and became known as Flower Power protests. Flowers were used as a symbol of peace during this act of resistance, and functioned as a site of usable memory [8]. By using flowers to protest the LAPD, patrons of The Patch peacefully protested their harassment and arrests, marking a second act of resistance against their treatment. By refusing to leave the bar after the raid and also protesting the police department, the patrons of The Patch demonstrated two acts of resistance.

A group of the Flower Power protesters from The Patch, pictured above at the LAPD Harbor Station after the two detainees had been released. August 1968. Photo: Press-Telegram.

The Patch and Gay Collective Memory

How is The Patch remembered? In short, it is seemingly forgotten in the gay collective memory of the United States. This is not altogether surprising, as Michael Schudson writes, “Distortion is inevitable. Memory is distortion since memory is invariably and inevitably selective” [9].

Today, one of the most iconic events of the modern LGBT rights movement in the United States is the Stonewall Inn riots of June 1969. In gay collective memory, the Stonewall riots are regarded as the turning point for gay liberation and are commemorated annually with pride parades in cities throughout the country [10]. But what about the important milestones and acts of gay resistance before Stonewall, including The Patch?

“Gay is Good” slogan created by gay rights activist Frank Kameny in 1968. Photo: “Gay Influence.”

While claims about Stonewall’s revolutionary importance continue, historians of sexuality have challenged the institutionalization of Stonewall, noting that the riots at the Stonewall Inn did not mark the first police raid, the first act of gay resistance against police, or the first instance of political organizing for gay interests [10]. Other events, such as The Patch raid and protest, have “failed to achieve the mythic stature of Stonewall and indeed have been virtually forgotten” [10].

At the time of The Patch raid and its subsequent protest, several other major acts of gay resistance and protest had occurred in response to police raids throughout the country. In San Francisco, significant raids took place at a New Year’s Ball in January 1965 and Compton’s Cafeteria in August 1966, and in Los Angeles, at The Black Cat in January 1967 [10]. These events, in addition to The Patch, seem to have been forgotten in the shadow of Stonewall’s annual pride commemorations.

Applying Barbie Zelizer’s [11] “Premises for Collective Remembering,” gay collective memory has been unpredictable in that it is not necessarily logical that The Patch has been forgotten, and it is difficult to determine why The Patch has become less significant. One can also see a rearrangement of time in gay collective memory with what Zelizer calls collapsing commemoration, in that Stonewall has come to represent a celebration of the acts of gay activism that came before it, including The Patch. While commemoration of Stonewall through pride parades is particular, it is also universal as it commemorates all acts of gay resistance and liberation, which again includes The Patch. The claims about Stonewall’s centrality to the movement also demonstrate the partiality and selectivity of memory: this one act could not liberate every individual represented by the LGBT rights movement in the United States, and its success is an achievement of the activism and events that came before it. If gay collective memory is a “mosaic,” as Zelizer suggests collective memories are, Stonewall and The Patch are each pieces of that dynamic mosaic.

Pride March on Christopher Street, New York, 1970. Photo: Time Out New York.

Armstrong and Crage offer a fascinating analysis of what they call “The Myth of Stonewall,” arguing that Stonewall’s successful commemoration was based on its mnemonic capacity and resonance in New York and other cities, and that this led to its institutionalization, rendering it “an achievement of gay liberation rather than an account of its origins” [11].

Though the gay collective memory at large has forgotten The Patch, it is an important site of memory for the Metropolitan Community Church. After being present for the night of The Patch raid and protest, Rev. Troy Perry cites his experience as part of his inspiration for founding a church that was welcoming of the LGBTQ community, which has spread throughout the world today [12] [13].

The LGBT rights movement continues to benefit from the annual commemorations of Stonewall, but celebration of this one event forgets The Patch and other specific, significant acts of the movement that came before Stonewall. While Stonewall and The Patch live on in the memory of individuals for whom these events have great personal significance, Armstrong and Crage’s argument offers a compelling explanation for the reasons The Patch Raid and Flower Power Protest have been forgotten in gay collective memory.

Pride Parade in New York City, 2010s. Photo: Time Out New York.

[1] The Box Turtle Bulletin.

[2] Ibid.

[2] Faderman, Lillian and Stuart Timmons. L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians. 2006.

[3] ‘Patch’ Fights Three-Way Battle. The Los Angeles Advocate (August 1968): 3, 25.

[4] The Box Turtle Bulletin.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] ‘Patch’ Fights Three-Way Battle. The Los Angeles Advocate (August 1968): 3, 25.

[8] “Processual Flower,” 1968 in American Memory.

[9] Schudson, Michael. “Dynamics of Distortion in Collective Memory,” Memory Distortion: How Minds, Brains, and Societies Reconstruct the Past. Eds. Daniel L. Schacter et al. (1995), 346-364.

[10] Armstrong, Elizabeth A. and Suzanna M. Crage. Movements and Memory: The Making of the Stonewall Myth. American Sociological Review, 2006, Vol. 71, October. 724-751.

[11] Zelizer, Barbie. “Reading the Past Against the Grain: The Shape of Memory Studies,” Critical Studies in Mass Communications (June 1995): 214-239.

[12] Founders Metropolitan Community Church.

[13] Perry, Troy. “UFMCC Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary,” Whosoever

Works Cited

Armstrong, Elizabeth A. and Suzanna M. Crage. Movements and Memory: The Making of the Stonewall Myth. American Sociological Review, 2006, Vol. 71, October. 724-751.

Faderman, Lillian and Stuart Timmons. L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians. 2006.

Founders Metropolitan Community Church.

“‘Patch’ Fights Three-Way Battle,” The Los Angeles Advocate (August 1968): 3, 25.

Perry, Troy. “UFMCC Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary,” Whosoever

“Processual Flower,” 1968 in American Memory.

Schudson, Michael. “Dynamics of Distortion in Collective Memory,” Memory Distortion: How Minds, Brains, and Societies Reconstruct the Past. Eds. Daniel L. Schacter et al. (1995), 346-364.

The Box Turtle Bulletin.

Zelizer, Barbie. “Reading the Past Against the Grain: The Shape of Memory Studies,” Critical Studies in Mass Communications (June 1995): 214-239.

Poor People’s Campaign

Poor People’s Campaign

Alexandra Simpson

The Poor People’s Campaign began in 1968 and is still an organization present day. The main event, a march, was held from May 12 through June 24, 1968 (Wikipedia). The march was originally planned to be on April 22, 1968 but was postponed due to MLK being murdered on April 8, 1968 (Cho). The march began in Marks, Mississippi Washington D.C (Wikipedia). The purpose was to gain economic justice for the poor people in the United States. The people demanded economic and human rights, the idea that all people should have what they need to live, for different backgrounds/races (Wikipedia). They also addressed the issues of unemployment, housing shortages for the poor, and the impact of poverty on the lives of Americans (Cho). At the beginning of the march, Mrs. King addressed the problem around welfare for poor mothers and their children (Franklin 1). At that point, the average child was receiving less than one dollar a day from the Dependent Children program (Franklin 2). The Poor People’s Campaign petitioned for the government to pass an Economic Bill of Rights that included a $30 billion annual appropriation for a real war on poverty, congressional passage of full employment and guaranteed income legislation, and construction of 500,00 low-cost housing units per year until slums were eliminated (Poor People’s Campaign). The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Committee of 100 and Martin Luther King Jr originally organized this event. It was later carried out by Ralph Abernath after King was assassinated (Wikipedia). About 5,000 demonstrators showed up during the first week of the protest, May 12-22 (Cho). The organization called for different groups of people to come together to make change. The Milwaukee Star informed people in the African-American community about this protest and its purpose as well as encouraged them to participate (Milwaukee Star).

Volunteers working on “Resurrection City” shelters in Washington, DC

The “Resurrection City” served as a symbol during the protest in Washington, DC. There were good and bad things associated with the makeshift city. The “City consisted of tents and shelter built by volunteers. The shelters were constructed by the campaign’s Building and Structures Committee (Wikipedia). A negative aspect was the unwillingness of Abernath and other leaders to go stay with the people staying Resurrection City (Mantler). An advantage of the “Resurrection City” was the unity it exhibited during the few week span of the demonstration. The government’s response to the protest in Washington, DC was based in fear. Many government leaders believed a riot would arise from the protests (Wikipedia). 20,000 soldiers were prepared for military occupation of the capital if the campaign became a threat (Wikipedia).

Many people were impacted positively during the duration of the march. A demonstrator named Gloria Arellanes said “I always told people, I learned more about people on that march than eve. I saw so many things, and observed so many things” (Mantler). As a result of participating in this movement, Arellanes got involved in other movements such as the Chicano movement (Mantler). This is significant because this campaign inspired others to get involved in more political campaigns to further change. There is a lot of distanciation associated with the memory of the original march. People seem to remember Martin Luther King Jr and his ties to the organization but there isn’t much to find about the actual event. When researching, it was difficult to find personal recounts of the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, DC in 1968. The narratization and use of MLK’s words from that time is also significant when analyzing this event. The Poor People’s Campaign is still an organization and it uses the memory of 1968 and Martin Luther King Jr to further its narrative for support. On the website, the organization asks for monetary donations to help their campaign. It does not list any physical demonstrations that could happen. From the news articles tagged on the website, it seems like the organization was just brought back. This is interesting and shows the processual aspect of memory. For a while, the organization strayed away from its purpose and was not participating in as much activism as they could’ve. It shows how people’s interests change over time and start to leave behind movements that were significant in the past when these problems seemed to be more pressing. Overall, the Poor People’s Campaign was a part of the memories of 1968 through its demonstration in Washington, DC.


Cho, Nancy. “Poor People’s Campaign (December 4, 1967 – June 19, 1968).” Black Past,

“Dr. King’s Vision: The Poor People’s Campaign of 1967-68.” Poor People’s Campaign,

Franklin, Ben A. “5,000 Open Poor People’s Campaign in Washington.” The New York Times, 13 May 1968,

Houston, Robert. “Constructing Tents. Resurrection City, Washington, D.C.” Smithsonian, Washington, DC, 1968,

Mantler, Gordon K. “Grassroots Voices, Memory, and the Poor People’s Campaign.” American Public Media,

“Poor People’s Campaign.” Milwaukee Star, 30 Mar. 1968, People’s Campaign.

“Poor People’s Campaign.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Apr. 2018,’s_Campaign.

Wright, Amy Nathan. “Labour, Leisure, Poverty and Protest: the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign as a Case Study.” Leisure Studies, vol. 27, no. 4, 14 Oct. 2008, pp. 443–458. Taylor & Francis Online, doi:10.1080/02614360802456964.

Visual Horror: Photography During the Vietnam War

Photography in the Vietnam War

A medic holds hands with children burned by napalm. Photo by Paul Schutzer

Initially, the Vietnam War was supported by many Americans. As the war went on, there seemed to be no end in sight. Young American men were being brutally and regularly killed by the “enemies.” Although the volume of young, dead soldiers was striking, there was not a very strong grasp on just how hellish this war was. In a true, Mathew Brady fashion, just shy of 100 years after the first photograph was taken, photographers took to the battlefields to expose the horrors and violence of the war, often risking or sacrificing their own lives in the process. These expository photographs of the war in Vietnam began to circulate in the media, and by the late 1960s, the support for the Vietnam War had decreased drastically.


Pro-War Photos

American corpsman carrying an injured child away from firing lines in Hue. Photo by Don McCullin, 1968

The year 1968 held the turning point of the Vietnam War, which was in part caused by the surfacing of war photographs. In this year, some of the most influential photographs of the Vietnam War were taken. Don McCullin, a British photojournalist, photographed a U.S. corpsman carrying an injured child away from the firing lines during the Battle of Huế. When interviewed, McCullin stated that his photograph “illustrates humanity, almost saintliness – a man carrying a child away from the sorrow and injuries of war.” This image inspired compassion and support for the war in Americans upon their exposure to it. Similarly, a photograph taken by Philip Jones Griffiths of an American army soldier offering children in rural Vietnam American candy bars. This photo was disseminated to encourage war support, but became a display of the “seductive and corrupting influence of consumerism on the innocent civilians of Vietnam” (Rothman et al. 2017) as the interpretation and memory of photo was partial and unpredictable.

“In an attempt to impose the American value system on the Vietnamese, the Marines concluded operations called, in Orwellian Newspeak, “county fairs.” Villagers were taught how to wash their children, made to watch Disney films on hygiene, had their teeth pulled, were given real toilets with seats, and were introduced to filter tips.” Gilles Caron, 1968.


Anti-War Photos

Confrontation between Vietnamese woman and American soldier. Photo by Gilles Caron, 1968

For every one photo of humanity in the war, there were dozens that “help[ed] to illuminate the “demons” of Vietnam” (Rothman et al. 2017). At this point in the war, it had become very difficult to discern civilians from Viet Cong. Gilles Caron, a French photographer, captured an image of tense confrontation between a rigid American soldier, clutching an automatic rifle, facing a Vietnamese woman. The woman stood just outside of the front door of her home, hugging a baby and accompanied by a small, half-naked child. The perspective of the interaction was over the shoulder of the unidentifiable American soldier, allowing the viewer to experience this photograph in a more personal way. The tension and rigidity of both subjects is clearly expressed, highlighting the distrust and uncertainty felt between American soldiers and the South Vietnamese citizens that they were allegedly aiding.

Dying Viet Cong soldier aided by American soldiers. Photo by Philip Jones Griffiths, 1968

The Vietnam War intensified while leading up to the Tet Offensive. Images continued to emerge in America, displaying exceedingly gruesome scenes. A later photograph by Philip Jones Griffiths showed a young Viet Cong soldier dying, cradled by American soldiers trying to help him drink water from their own canteen. The pitiable Viet Cong soldier’s expression shows nothing but pure anguish. Strapped onto his stomach is a cooking bowl, which had been attached for three days, holding his intestines against his body as he continued to fight. These photos revealed the pure desperation and pity that these young soldiers felt to be able to assist the enemy in this way. Feelings towards the war turned to disgust as many more horrific photos such as this were taken throughout the year, each one more shocking than the last.

“Saigon Execution” by Eddie Adams, 1968

Of all of the photographs taken in Vietnam during this year, one photo in particular marked the exact turning point in America’s sentiments towards the war. The photo, titled “Saigon Execution,” was taken by esteemed American photographer Eddie Adams and has been described as the “real underbelly of violence and summary execution” (Ruane 2018). Adams’s infamous photo caught the execution of the Viet Cong’s officer, Nguyen Van Lem, by General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a South Vietnamese general. Officer Lem’s face contorts as the bullet pierces his skull, a South Vietnamese soldier recoils at the spectacle, and General Loan remains cold and straight-faced, with his eyes fixed on the man he is executing. Each photograph during the war was troubling, however this photo deeply haunted its viewers.

The consequences of the dispersion of this photo were immense. This photograph became the one of the most recognizable images of the Vietnam War. It was polarizing photo was everywhere, and Loan became infamous. In an image, there exists only a single moment caught on film, out of context. In the case of this photo, viewers can only see one man mercilessly killing another, and they remembered it exactly that way. Although it did make pro-war Americans reconsider their stance and helped lead the U.S. to withdrawal from the war, it ruined the life of General Loan. Loan reported that he was treated disrespectfully in the U.S. while being treated for a lost leg at Old Walter Reed Army Hospital, Washington, D.C. in 1969. Although he fought with the U.S. in Vietnam, he was unwelcome in the country. This moment had an extremely negative effect on his life, and because it was documented in an unchangeable photo, he was unable to escape the repercussions of his wartime actions. Adams believed that he witnessed two deaths in the photo: “the recipient of the bullet and General Nguyen Ngoc Loan. The general killed the Viet Cong; [he] killed the general with [his] camera” (Ruane 2018).



My Lai Massacre pile of bodies. Photo by Ron Haeberle, 1968

The reason that this mode of documentation of the war is so impactful is because a photograph is a way of being able to precisely capture a scene without embellishment to create a tangible, external memory for its viewers to experience. The details of a single moment in a photo can truly be analyzed, picked apart piece by piece, in a way that videos and writing simply cannot offer. In the case of particularly graphic photos, the viewer is forced to absorb it all. They allow their viewer “to stare, to turn from the picture and then return to it” (Kuhn et al. 2006).  They are left with an imprint on their mind, similar to a bad taste left in your mouth. The imprint that the photo leaves on them will linger and the image, or only the feelings associated with viewing the image, will resurface whenever the event to which the photos were linked is mentioned (Kuhn et al. 2006). It forced Americans to deal with these feelings and to accept an uncomfortable truth.

For example, Americans had no idea of the horrors and atrocities that the American military committed during the My Lai Massacre until the Ron Haeberle’s photos of the bodies of civilians, primarily women and children, surfaced. What the photos suggested was an undeniable truth: we were not winning the war and innocent people were being harmed. This event had to be documented by photographs. The most powerful way that this shameful event could have been expressed properly and believed was through a series of unfiltered images, shared with the public.

The war was being fought very far from the comfortable homes of Americans. To see these photos forced Americans to come to terms with the very harsh reality of war – bloodied and fearful young men, smoke and fire, bodies, napalmed children. These photographs were almost entirely candid. The camera was able to permanently capture a moment in the midst of this awfulness. These captured moments became material and reproducible. Newscasts on television, magazines, and newspapers – especially those that were anti-war – were the primary distributors of war photographs. Once distributed, the media was able to use photographs were to create a narrative of the war through pictures. This narrative, although favoring the anti-war side, educated Americans about the painful truths of war and often instrumentalized these images in order to manipulate the emotions of the viewer into agreeing with a partial memory that the war was wholly bad. This created almost total opposition of the war.

50 years later, we remember these photos. Most people have seen at least one of the images referenced above, if not all of them. They are easily available in textbooks as well as online on blogs, in museums, and news sources. They are reposted frequently online, typically paired with text that recalls the atrocities of this war and eternally painting a portrait of the cold brutality of the Vietnam War. Today, we forget that there were people who supported the war and that the government did feel that there was a point to all of this madness. It is because of the grisly nature of almost all of the photos taken of the Vietnam War and the ease of accessibility to view these photographs that the war is remembered now as entirely unnecessary, senseless violence, and a seemingly endless sacrifice of young American men.


By Samantha Feinstein



Banta, Melissa, and Robert Burton. “Harvard’s History of Photography Timeline.” Harvard Univeristy. N.p., 2018. Web.

Hagopian, Patrick. Locating Memory : Photographic Acts. “Vietnam War Photography as a Locus of Memory.” Berghahn Books, 2006. pp. 201-219. Print.

Rothman, Lily, and Alice Gabriner. “The Vietnam War: The Pictures That Moved That Most.” TIME. N.p., 2017. Web.

Theiss, Evelyn. “The Photographer Who Showed the World What Really Happened at My Lai.” TIME. March 16, 2018. Web.

Ruane, Michael E. “Vietnam War Photographer Eddie Adams and the Saigon Execution Photo. That Shocked the World.” The Washington Post. February 1, 2018. Web.

The 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Anthony Hecht’s “The Dark Hours”

1968 was undoubtedly a year filled with political and social chaos, but also influential and defining moments in poetry. Especially during a time where uncertainty and unrest had become the norm, various forms of literature like poetry served as an essential means for individuals to express themselves, their discontent and reflections regarding the events that were happening around them, in both subtle and unambiguous manners. While Anthony Hecht’s The Hard Hours may not explicitly provide commentary on the chaotic events unfolding in 1968, its overarching theme of supporting order in times of chaos eloquently encapsulates the sentiments felt by many during these trying times.

Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prize is an American award that celebrates and honors notable works of literature, magazines, newspapers, online journalism and musical composition [1]. The Pulitzer Prize was established in 1917 by Joseph Pulitzer, a distinguished newspaper publisher [1]. Some notable poets that have won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry include Robert Frost, Robert Lowell and Richard Wilbur [2]. The memory site analyzed in this post is the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, which was awarded to Anthony Hecht for his book of poems, The Hard Hours [3].

Anthony Hecht’s mastery of linguistic control and traditional forms has earned him the status of being one of the most influential American poets of the 20th century. According to The Poetry Foundation, Hecht is described by many as a “Traditionalist”, as his pieces often featured references to traditional works of French Literature, Greek myth and tragedy, and English poetry – nevertheless, his poems successfully incorporated his own creative and individual voice while utilizing and contributing to traditional themes [4].

Anthony Hecht

Hecht’s The Hard Hours (1967) is often referred to as his “break-through” volume and won him the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1968 [4]. In The Hard Hours, Hecht utilizes his traumatizing and disturbing experiences as a soldier in Europe during World War II to provide commentary on the evil and wicked components of human nature – Hecht accomplishes this in this collection of poems through the use of his trademark lucid and flowing verse [4].

Dana Gioia (American poet and writer) on Anthony Hecht:

“Hecht exemplifies the paradox of great art. … He found a way to take his tragic sense of life and make it so beautiful that we have to pay attention to its painful truth.” [4]

Hecht’s poetic pieces prior to The Hard Hours (i.e. A Summoning of Stones (1954)) were described by critics as “mannered” and “dated” [4]. The Hard Hours was a defining and pivotal piece for Hecht because it marked a departure from the style he was previously criticized for using and transition to a more limpid and natural writing style [4].

“The Hard Hours” by         Anthony Hecht (1967)

Laurence Lieberman (American poet and professor) from Yale Review on Hecht’s writing style:

“In contrast with the ornate style of many Hecht’s earlier poems, the new work is characterized by starkly undecorated – and unpretentious – writing.” [4]

Hecht’s The Hard Hours represents a significant site of memory that characterizes the tumultuous year of 1968 due to its primary theme of asserting order over chaos. During such a tumultuous period, it is not hard to imagine that individuals could easily empathize and relate with such an idea. Perhaps the clearest parallel between the contents of The Dark Hours and the events unfolding throughout 1968 is the atrocities of war. The Dark Hours recounts Hecht’s first-hand experiences with World War II (i.e. collecting evidence from French Prisoners, liberating concentration camps) – on a related note, 1968 was a pivotal year in the Vietnam War with the Tet Offensive. Given the growing resistance and adverse sentiments towards the Vietnam War from the home-front, having a collection of poems that explicitly speak to the darkness of human nature and the atrocities of war win the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry represented a timely reminder to the American people of how brutal war can be and make people behave.

With regards to the legacy of Hecht’s “The Hard Hours” 50 years later, the memory of his 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry may be considered partial in the sense in that on the official “The Pulitzer Prizes” website for 1968 Pulitzer Prizes, some awards (i.e. journalism) receive brief blurbs explaining why the respective recipients were awarded, but Hecht’s The Hard Hours did not receive such a description. Through navigating the website, one cannot find what The Hard Hours is about or why it was deserving of this award, indicating that the memory of his award is less accessible than others [5].

Additionally, in an article written by David Biespiel in the Rumpus that recounts 1968 as a historic year for poetry, Biespiel states that he believes that Hecht’s The Hard Hours had little influence on modern American poets – this speaks to the partial and unpredictable nature of memory as the audience of Biespiel’s article may be influenced by his opinion and there was/is no way of telling whether or how The Hard Hours, written in 1967, would  influence the American poets of today [6]. Nevertheless, the memory of Hecht’s The Hard Hours lives on through websites such as goodreads, where individuals come together to continue the discussion on Hecht’s poetic style, along with their opinions on his works.


  1. Topping, Seymour. “History of the Pulitzer Prizes.” The Pulitzer Prizes. The Pulitzer Prizes.
  2. “Poetry.” The Pulitzer Prizes. The Pulitzer Prizes.
  3. Staff, Harriet. “1968: Poetry’s Year of Years.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. 22 Feb. 2013.
  4. “Anthony Hecht (1923-2004).” Poetry Foundation.  Poetry Foundation.
  5. “1968 Pulitzer Prizes.” The Pulitzer Prizes. The Pulitzer Prizes.
  6. Biespiel, David. David Biespiel’s Poetry Wire: Going Back to 1968. The Rumpus. 20 Feb. 2013.


Image, “Pulitzer Prize”:

Image, “Anthony Hecht”:

Image, “‘The Hard Hours’ by Anthony Hecht (1967)”:


Eric Mai

John Sinclair, the Icon and the Man

[1] Ann Arbor resident, Marsha Rabideau, holding the White Panther Party flag at 1520 Hill Street
In 1968, the White Panther Party emerged as a radical group that emphasized counterculture of the period that would eventually raise enough political power to draw the attention of FBI counter-intelligence. Established as the counterpart to Huey Newton and Bobby Seale’s Black Panther party, it was considered a dangerous left-wing activist organization with intent to confront culture and combat it by any means necessary. However, its rise to power would not have been as effective if not for one of the most influential countercultural leaders of the sixties John Sinclair, who is considered a living symbol of revolutionary action.

Early Life

[2] Picture of John Sinclair taken in 1969, a year after starting the White Panther Party as an offshoot of the Black Panther Party
His early life demonstrates an educated background as a member of the class of 1960 at Albion College in Albion, Michigan. After one year, he dropped out and instead attended the currently named University of Michigan-Flint where he graduated from in 1964. Sinclair began his activism as a member of an underground newspaper known as the Fifth Estate known for its politically and socially radical standpoint [5]. It was during this time that Sinclair also developed a taste for free jazz which led to his beliefs in the power of music. As a freedom seeker in 1968, he along with Leni Sinclair and Lawrence “Pun” Plamondon created an anti-racist political group in response to a statement by Black Panther’s Huey Newton about forming their own party that would allow white people to support the Black Panthers. Sinclair’s motivation to bring about cultural revolution gathered the masses making him one of the most influential countercultural leaders in 1968.

Activism in 1968

[3] MC5 poster designed by Gary Grimshaw with the White Panther Party’s symbol in the center
During the turmoil of 1968, Sinclair was a known poet, writer, and political activist that had a passion for music. Inspired by the Black Panther Party’s policies, The White Panther party advocated action against the state with claims such as abolishment of standard currency, true equality with no racial barriers, free sexual behavior and substance use, and many more that would theoretically give power to the common masses [6]. The party’s rising popularity was in part due to a band managed by Sinclair at this time called MC5 that campaigned for the White Panthers. Under his guidance, MC5 embraced Sinclair’s revolutionary politics performing at anti-war rallies such as the anti-Vietnam rally broken up at the 1968 Democratic National Convention [7]. However, some individuals without the same conviction and revolutionary spirit as Sinclair strayed away from the White Panther’s political agenda, including the members of MC5. Sinclair’s actions grew more radical over time, including an attack on the CIA. John Sinclair, while serving his legendary 10 year sentence for possession of marijuana, was charged for a bombing that occurred at the CIA recruitment office located at Ann Arbor [8]. The White Panther Party saw this as the government trying to shut down the party due to the threat of its nature and thus support for John Sinclair rose. These events would lead to Sinclair being remembered as a revolutionary among revolutionaries, rallying the people under a banner defined by its militant actions seeking to overturn a political agenda in the pursuit of Sinclair’s definition of freedom.

Aftermath: Where is Sinclair Today?

[4] Recent image of John Sinclair now remembered as an influential revolutionary and activist of his time

Sinclair continues his practices as a poet and a writer to this day. In his own time he also makes radio shows and broadcasts on a website called Radio Free Amsterdam [9]. A blog interview taken by an anonymous individual sought to hear Sinclair’s claims on freedom as they were in 1968. However, he now claims to have been wrong about a lot in 1968. Sinclair did not regret the things he stood for but rather meant that things have changed and that he would no longer stand by some of the stuff he said, such as how music was a weapon of revolution since now he sees it as a tool of oppression. He even has a statement that if he could go back he would. Another interview with The Guardian revealed Sinclair’s thoughts on his own idea of revolution [10]. The interviewers asked when his revolutionary dream died:

“Early 1975. That’s when the movement folded. President Nixon was removed from office, the Vietnam war ended, and it seemed everybody went back to their day jobs. I didn’t have a day job and I didn’t want one, so I became a poet and a community activist again.”

Sinclair, John

While the article may be four years old, it still demonstrates that over at least 46 years his ideology has changed with age. He rarely thinks of the past because he sees no good in focusing on things that can never change. Nevertheless, he still recognizes revolution as a constant in the nation as there will always be individuals who act only to change society.

Sinclair in Memory

John Sinclair has shown that he remembers his role in 1968 differently from the public. People remember Sinclair the icon, not the man. His memory is captured in his actions that can be traced back to White Panther speeches, rallies, and banners. Sinclair was admired for his actions and courage to defy norms, and therefore he is conveniently remembered as an influential figure in public memory. It is this circulation of recollection among members of a community that believe in the White Panther’s mission that create Sinclair’s falsified image as documented by the John Sinclair Foundation in Amsterdam, Holland. Public memory of John Sinclair shows that people remember his deeds as a revolutionary activist, form ways to record his history from a collective interpretation of the past, but forget him in his late age and his opinions of his place in 1968 in an attempt to preserve his past image as the founder of the White Panther Party.

– Tyler Robertson

Works Cited

[7] Blobaum, Dean. “Chicago ’68.” Chicago ’68: Myths of Chicago ’68, 2010,

[5] “Fifth Estate Records (1967-2016, Bulk 1982-1999).” M Library Special Collections Research Center Finding Aids, Fifth Estate,

[3] Grimshaw, Gary. “MC5 White Panther Poster.” Lofty.

[4] Hieber, Glenn. “Modern image of John Sinclair.” The Ann Arbor News,

[9] “Now, An Intimate Conversation With John Sinclair.” The Bigfoot Diaries,

[10] O’Hagan, Sean. “John Sinclair: ‘We Wanted to Kick Ass – and Raise Consciousness’.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 3 Mar. 2014,

[6] Sinclair, John. “Luminist Archives.” White Panther Party Program,

[2] Sinclair, Leni. “John Sinclair, circa 1969,” The Ann Arbor Chronicle,

[1] Sinclair, Leni. “Marsha Rabideau at 1520 Hill Street.” Ann Arbor District Library,

[8] Zbrozek, Christopher. “The Bombing of the A2 CIA Office.” The Michigan Daily, 24 Oct. 2016,

The Influential Material Memory of the Apollo 8 Mission

There’s no denying that 1968 was among the most eventful and tumultuous years in the history of the United States. Throughout the course of the hectic year that it was, American citizens were subjected to countless distressing events and stories in the news, from the assassinations of progressive leaders to the US sinking further and further into the seemingly endless conflict that was the Vietnam War. However, this chaotic year ended on a hopeful note for America, as on December 24th, viewers around the world watched on television as Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit.

The Apollo 8 crew just prior to departure. From left: Commander Frank Borman, Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, and Command Module Pilot James Lovell.

The Saturn V rocket launched from Cape Kennedy (now known as Cape Canaveral) on Dec. 21, 1968, positioning astronauts James Lovell Jr., Frank Borman, and William Anders into a 114 by 118 mile parking orbit at 32.6 degrees. [1] The second manned mission in the Apollo program, this venture seeked to send these brave astronauts into the moon’s orbit, where their ship would circle the moon 10 times, conducting experiments and research before returning to Earth. This mission was intended to test equipment and gain operational experience in preparation for a potential moon landing, which would ultimately occur 6 months later in 1969. The mission turned out to be a success, igniting a spark of hope for the future for the downcast country. As it was a moment of triumph in a year of great mayhem, the Apollo 8 mission was immortalized in many ways that have impacted the cultural memory of the event.

An RCA consumer ad from the years following the Apollo mission, advertising the use of an RCA camera by the crew during their live TV broadcasts, including the famous Christmas Eve message.

Per the request of NASA and various telecommunications experts, the Apollo 8 crew brought with them a television camera, with which they conducted six live broadcasts, seen by hundreds of millions of people around the globe. In a prime time TV spot on Christmas Eve, the most famous of these broadcasts was delivered. Speaking directly to the American people as they orbited the moon, the three astronauts on board recited passages from the Book of Genesis in what was at the time the most watched segment in the history of television with more than a billion viewers. [2] This unprecedented feat allowed citizens to keep up with the mission in real time, and has also impacted the way in which this mission has been remembered by the general populous. This broadcast represents the ways in which collective memory can be partial, as it has remained one of the most remembered aspects of the Apollo 8 mission while the scientific achievement and importance to the Space Race itself are often forgotten.

Another source of material memory, a US postage stamp featuring both the Earthrise photograph and a callback to the Christmas Eve broadcast of the Apollo crew reciting the Book of Genesis

On that very same day, the most iconic piece of material memory from the mission was created. As the ship took its fourth orbit around the moon, astronaut Bill Anders captured an unscheduled picture of the Earth rising above the moon’s surface that would become one of the most famous photographs in history. Aptly dubbed ‘Earthrise,’ the shot was the first picture of the earth taken with a human behind the camera. It quickly became an iconic photo, and has been reproduced more than almost any other picture in history. [3] In the years following, the picture’s significance has been recognized by the numerous accolades it has received, including being named number one in Life Magazine’s book 100 Photographs That Changed the World and being described by renowned nature photographer Galen Rowell as “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.” [4]

Bill Anders’ iconic Earthrise, the most recognizable material memory of the Apollo 8 mission and one of the most influential photographs in history.

In addition, Earthrise has served as a rallying point for other causes and sites of memory, most notably being credited with inspiring the first Earth Day and the environmental movement in general. Historian Christopher Riley declared that the photograph “fuelled an awareness of the vulnerability of the Earth which still resonates with us today and shapes our behaviour.” [5] Earthrise conveyed a message of Earth’s fragility, reminding the population that everyone lives here and it’s our duty to protect the only planet we have. Sure enough, the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, less than two years after Apollo 8 touched back down. In addition, various new environmental laws came into legislation as a result of the movement sparked by the photograph. [6] With the various ways in which Earthrise came to represent alternate events and ideals such as environmentalism, it’s clear that the photograph exhibits more than one of Barbie Zelizer’s processes of memory. It represents processual memory, as the photograph itself has modified the collective memory of Apollo 8 over time by associating it with Earth Day and environmentalism as a whole, even though this was not the initial focus of NASA, the astronauts, or even the families watching the mission unfold from their living rooms. The association of Earthrise with this cause also highlights the ways in which memories are usable, as the material memory of the great triumph that was a manned space mission around the moon was instrumentalized to work towards a somewhat unrelated cause, forever uniting the two. Finally, this famous photograph’s association with environmentalism represents a particular memory; although the universal memory linked with this shot will always be the Apollo mission itself, millions of people too attach it to ecological ideals.

Earthrise was soon featured on the cover of the first Whole Earth Catalog, an icon of the early environmental movement.

There’s no denying that the Apollo 8 mission was a needed bit of relief for America after the turbulent year that the country had faced. A great success to close out the year was only right, and helped send the nation into 1969 with a renewed sense of hope. In the 50 years that have followed the mission, there are various ways in which its memory has been preserved and modified. Material memory has sculpted both the official and vernacular memory of the event, most notably in the form of the Christmas Eve broadcast and the famed Earthrise photograph. These have grown to be associated with both the mission itself and the various movements that followed, such as the environmental movement and subsequent creation of Earth Day. No matter the ways in which the collective memory of Apollo 8 has been shaped, there’s no denying its overarching importance, both 50 years later and at the time it originally happened. Perhaps this sentiment can be best described by the words of an anonymous telegraph that the Apollo crew received just after returning to Earth: “Thank you Apollo 8. You saved 1968.” [7]

Link to a relevant, if not very, very, similar post that was published well after this one: This post goes more in depth on the circumstances surrounding the taking of the spontaneous Earthrise photo itself, including a transcription of the crew’s immediate reaction to seeing the view for the first time. It also focuses on different takes on the photo, including a rendition that depicts the Earth as a skull as a means to represent deaths caused by environmental destruction.



NASA. “Apollo 8.” NASA. July 8, 2009. Web. 20 Apr. 2018.


Apollo 8 Bill Anders’ Picture “Earthrise” was Taken on this Day 49 Years Ago. Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2017. ProQuest. 20 Apr. 2018 .


On Anniversary Of Apollo 8, How The ‘Earthrise’ Photo Was Made.” Morning Edition, 24 Dec. 2013. Science In Context, Accessed 20 Apr. 2018.


Sullivan, Robert. Life: 100 Photographs That Changed the World. Time-Life Books, 2003.


BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Happy Birthday Earthrise.” N. p., 2018. Web. 20 Apr. 2018.


Turner, Fred. “Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth (review).” Technology and Culture, vol. 51 no. 1, 2010, pp. 272-274. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/tech.0.0418


Chaikin, A. (1999). A man on the moon. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books.


Greenspan, Jesse
Broadcast, Remembering, and Christmas Earth. “Remembering The Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast.” N. p., 2015. Web. 20 Apr. 2018.


Andy Richardson




The Band’s Debut Album “Music From Big Pink”

It’s July 1, 1968. This Guy’s in Love with You by Herb Alpert is the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 list. But a debut album by a band with the simplest of names has been released. And it will change the future of music.

The Band members

The Band (the band’s name is “the Band”), composed of five members, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson, had just released one of the best albums of all time (34th according to the Rolling Stone’s 2012 definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time). The songs, title of the album, Music from Big Pink, as well as the album cover, came with an eventful backstory.

The group of guys who made up the Band started off as members of the backup band for Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan, the most influential American musician rock & roll has ever produced (Kemp, 2018). In July of 1966, Bob Dylan got into a serious motorcycle accident, having to cancel a large portion of his tour. He and his family retreated to Woodstock, NY. The backup band decided to relocate up there to be with their lead performer and continue to work in the laid back atmosphere of northern New York state. Two of the Band members moved into 2188 Stoll Road, the house known as Big Pink because of its pink paneled exterior.

The Band outside of Big Pink located 5 miles outside of Woodstock, NY 

It was in the basement of that house that the backup band and Dylan wrote and recorded songs together in a casual jam-session setting. Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman ultimately came to manage the backup band’s newly formed independent band, the Band, and secured them a recording contract. Grossman asked the Band members if they wanted to record with Dylan, and the group declined stating that they wanted “to do something new” (Pinnock, 2015). While the Band had separated themselves from Dylan’s shadow, they did a piece of him with them. The album cover was designed and painted by Dylan.

Music From Big Pink album cover painted by Bob Dylan

Music From Big Pink was an album like any other. A spinoff of the “Basement Tapes,” songs recorded with Dylan in the Big Pink basement, this album sound was completely new. Each of the Band’s members performed like individuals working towards a collective sound, instead of mixing and blending together smoothly as one. The sound was a mix of folk, blues, gospel, R&B, classical, and Rock & Roll (Eder, 2018). Although the album was not a chart topper (only reaching spot 30 with the album’s single, “The Weight” only reaching number 63), the Band’s debut album was critically acclaimed. Music legend, Al Kooper, wrote an article on August 10, 1968, just over a month after the album’s release, claiming that Music From Big Pink was the album of the year. Describing the sound as “White-Soul,” Kooper gave the album and the Band high praise (Kooper, 1968).

The album went on to inspire future musicians and their creations. Eric Clapton said that “it was one of his motivations for breaking up Cream” (a ’60’s power trio), and the Rolling Stones abandoned their “echoey psychedelic sound” and followed the Band’s authentic, “Americana” sound, leading to some of their most famous albums, Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, and Sticky Fingers (Tobocman, 2018). Even the Beatles tried to recreate their unique sound in their Let It Be sessions, the last album they would release as a group in 1970 (recorded in 1969).  The Band’s sound was honest and pure, making it stick out during the ’60’s sound of psychedelic rock. Music From Big Pink marked the end of an era of acid rock and inspired the sound of what would become some of sounds of classic ’70’s rock. The feeling of home that was projected through their sound provided a necessary sense of community during a time of political turmoil.

The album’s only single, and most famous song off of the album, “The Weight,” was used the following year in the Academy Award nominated movie, Easy Rider. The song was then covered by Diana Ross & The Supremes with The Temptations that same year in 1969. The soul cover reached 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 List, a significant 23 spots higher than the original. Then in 1970 Aretha Franklin covered the song with it reaching spot 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 List and #3 for soul/R&B tracks. The song continues to receive attention as it is still covered by a variety of artists such as The Grateful Dead, Panic! At The Disco, the Lumineers, Elle King and more.

Music From Big Pink continues to be an iconic and widely respected album. The Band was indicted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Then in 2012, Rolling Stone ranked Music From Big Pink as the 34th Greatest Album of All Time (Rolling Stone, 2012). In celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary, a popular tribute band, The THE BAND Band, is performing in bars and clubs across the NorthEast this summer with their “50th Anniversary of ‘Music From Big Pink'” show. Even Bob Dylan’s guitar, used by the Band’s singer and guitarist, Robbie Robertson, in Music From Big Pink and during their performances at Woodstock in 1969 is set to go on auction on May 19th for an expected sum upwards of $600,000 (Blistein, 2018). While the Band might no longer be alive, Music From Big Pink lives on.

Link to Relevant 1968 Site: Aretha Franklin covered Music From Big Pink‘s single, “The Weight” in 1970, becoming a bigger chart topper than the original. This site discusses Aretha Franklin’s hit 1968 song, “Respect.”

Work Cited

Kemp, Mark. “Bob Dylan Bio.” Rolling Stone, 2018,

Rolling Stone. “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Rolling Stone, May 2012,

Greene, Andy. “Readers’ Poll: The Band’s 10 Greatest Songs.” Rolling Stone, Dec. 2013,

Pinnock, Tom. “The Band, Bob Dylan and Music From Big Pink – the Full Story.” Uncut, July 2015,

Gallucci, Michael. “How Bob Dylan and the Band’s ‘Basement Tapes’ Finally Saw Official Release.” Ultimate Classic Rock, Loudwire Network, Townsquare Media, Inc, 2018,

Eder, Bruce. “The Band Biography.” AllMusic, AllMusic, 2018,

Tobocman, David. “Rock Albums That Changed the World: Music From Big Pink.” Esthetic Lens, Feb. 2018,

Blistein, Jon. “Bob Dylan’s ‘Going Electric’ Guitar Headed to Auction.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 29 Mar. 2018,


Who Was Bobby Kennedy?

Robert Kennedy- Leader, Follower, An Almost President


The Kennedy Family has a history of elegance and prestige in the United States political and social scene- about as close to royalty as a family has ever been. The Kennedy’s ruled the political elite, holding office for over half a century. The family’s greatest political achievement siphoned John F. Kennedy into office in 1960, yet saw him assassinated in 1963. Yet, in recent American memory, the story of the younger brother, Robert Kennedy, has not been as politicized.

PX 65-105:266 1957
John and Robert Kennedy, Hickory Hill, Virginia.
Photograph by Douglas Jones, LOOK Magazine [2].
1968 in American memory served as a tumultuous, transitionary, and influential time period- shaping the United States into what it is today and defining political and social ideologies. Robert Kennedy grew up in the wealthy Kennedy family and served as the United States Attorney General during his brother’s presidency. Immediately following his brother’s assassination, Bobby resigned from his position under the Johnson administration and decided to run for Senator of New York. Robert Kennedy was marked as a worthy predecessor to his brother and declared candidacy for presidency on March 6, 1968, just five years after his brother’s death. Yet, similarly to the fate of his brother, Bobby was assassinated on the campaign trail on June 5, 1968.

Kennedy referenced 1968 by stating, “Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world” [7].

Kennedy understood the world around him, feeling that 1968 was a transitional and tumultuous time, and thus felt that his agenda was best suited for the American future.

PC 180 The Kennedy Family in Hyannis Port, 1948. L-R: John F. Kennedy, Jean Kennedy, Rose Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., Patricia Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy, and in foreground, Edward M. Kennedy. Photograph in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston [3].
Candidacy Too Quick?

Hinging on the memory of his deceased older brother, Robert Kennedy utilized Zelizer’s premise of material and usable memory as he announced his presidential bid “from the same spot in the Senate Caucus Room where [JFK] had announced his presidential candidacy in January 1960” [11].

At his announcement Kennedy said, “I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I am obliged to do all I can” [8].

Kennedy’s platform hinged on racial equality and economic justice- the pressing matters of the time period. With the recent memory of his brother’s assassination just five years past, Kennedy’s presidential bid was repetitive, capitalizing on his brother’s publicity and worldwide admiration to stake a successful campaign.

After Lyndon B Johnson decided not to seek reelection in the 1968 election, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota pounced at the opportunity of the Democratic nomination. Yet, Robert Kennedy announced his candidacy after seeing the slated candidates and noting their catastrophic policies. After entering the candidacy late, Kennedy swept up Indiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and California- solidifying his presence and making him the most viable contender for the 1968 Democratic nomination [7].



Robert Kennedy was assassinated by a Jordanian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan on the morning of June 5, 1968. As the predicted Democratic nominee, Sirhan Sirhan slashed the Democratic party’s dream and reinforced the theory of “*The Kennedy Curse.” Sirhan Sirhan singled Kennedy out at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as he walked past the ice machine. Using a .22 revolver, Sirhan Sirhan repeatedly fired at Kennedy and surrounding others. Kennedy had very few enemies, yet the enemies he did have despised him as he had to make difficult decisions as Attorney General and he had “very liberal policies.” For more information regarding RFK’s assassination, and his “liberal policies,” please access this site

Yet, Sirhan Sirhan despised Kennedy due to his affiliation with Israeli politics and wrote in his journal months prior to the assassination, “My determination to eliminate RFK is becoming more and more of an unshakable obsession. RFK must die. RFK must be killed. Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated….. Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated before June 5th 1968” [10].

Sirhan Sirhan- Robert Kennedy’s assassin [5]
Robert F. Kennedy abruptly departed this world as his life was stolen from him. Yet, in the aftermath of his assassination, we ask ourselves: does anyone really remember?

For more information on the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, please watch this video here:

How is Bobby Remembered Today?

It is rare that the younger generation learn of Bobby F. Kennedy before they learn of John F. Kennedy, as JFK was the President of the United States and RFK was the Attorney General, United States Senator, and presidential candidate. Both brothers left the world in the same manner, as they were assassinated by an enemy. Their stories follow similar patterns, yet the story of Bobby Kennedy is often muddled by the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
For the time period of 1968, Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination served as a brutal reminder for the already brutal year, and reignited America’s sadness regarding JFK’s assassination just five years prior. Yet, today, Robert F. Kennedy is not remembered in the same dramatic fashion that his brother is. In line with Michael Schudson’s idea of “cognitivization,” American memory evidently decided that John F. Kennedy’s assassination was more important than his brother’s.

Yet, as time has passed, it is evident that Robert F. Kennedy’s legacy has grown stronger, and that his effect on American politics and memory has tripled. Netflix recently announced a series for the 50th anniversary of Bobby’s assassination titled, “Bobby Kennedy for President.” Netflix’s integration and instrumentalization of Bobby Kennedy’s legacy into material and modern American memory changes the way Kennedy is and was remembered. Memory is a processual process, and the way Bobby Kennedy is remembered is constantly changing [9]. Fifty years later, Bobby Kennedy is being “re-remembered” as an American hero and a proponent for civil rights and inclusion.


Anniversaries create a strange dichotomy for memory as they allow memory to be reintroduced and restated in importance, yet they also allow memory to be forgotten. In the case of Bobby Kennedy, his memory has only grown due to the fiftieth anniversary, and both the younger and newer generation will now know Bobby Kennedy as a household name, and realize that he and John are actually two different people.

*For more information regarding the Kennedy Curse, please reference this website –

Works Cited- Jacob Bendalin UNC 2021


[1] “Bobby Kennedy for President Official Trailer [HD].” Youtube, Netflix,

[2] Jones, Douglas. “Senator John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Hickory Hill, Virginia.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Senator John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Hickory Hill, Virginia. 

[3] “Kennedy Family House.” Carl Anthony Online,

[4] “Senator Robert F Kennedy Announces His Presidential Candidacy.” Youtube, Senator Robert F Kennedy Announces His Presidential Candidacy.

[5]  “Sirhan Sirhan.” Wikipedia,


[6] Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “United States Presidential Election of 1968.”Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 16 Oct. 2017,
Live link here

[7] Staff. “Robert F. Kennedy.”, A&E Television Networks, 2009,
Live Link here

[8] Kennedy, Robert. “Robert F. Kennedy Speeches.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum,
Live Link here 

[9] “Michael Schudson.” Michael Schudson | School of Journalism,
Live Link here 

[10] Pike, John. “Intelligence.” Who Killed Robert F. Kennedy?,
Live Link here 

[11] “The Kennedy Caucus Room.” U.S. Senate: The Kennedy Caucus Room, 24 Jan. 2017,
Live Link here 

Each cited reference has their respective URL. One photo does not have its respective URL but you can find that in the post, as well as one video. The video is also linked in the post.