From the Ghettoes, Reservations and Backwoods of America

Don North was part of an ABC News team on the route from St. Patrick’s in New York to Arlington Cemetery of the funeral procession of Robert Kennedy who was buried 50 years ago today on June 8, 1968. Here is the report Don read on the air.

By Don North Special to Consortium News

Standing here at the base of the Grecian columns on the south side of the Lincoln Memorial there will be a very striking view of the funeral procession of Senator Robert Kennedy.

The first sight of the procession will be through the trees as it turns off Constitution Avenue onto Henry Bacon Drive…a short tree lined street. It will then be in full view as it turns into the circle around the Lincoln Memorial. It will pass directly below me between the monuments honouring two great Americans, Washington and Lincoln.

This is truly the scenic heart of this Capitol city.

Along the funeral train of Robert F. Kennedy. (Getty)

To the right of the reflecting pool is “Resurrection City” with a slight haze from burning trash hanging over it. Through the trees lining the street I can see the ramshackle plywood huts and the puddles and mud inside the encampment. It’s a blot on this scenic landscape, but it’s the kind Robert Kennedy would approve, for these were the people he worked to lift from the ghettoes they represent from the cities, native peoples reservations and the backwoods of America.

Some 2,000 residents of Resurrection City are lining the street in front of their camp to pay their last respects to a man they considered their champion. A delegation of 25 members of the Poor Peoples March are now meeting their leader Rev. Ralph Abernathy at Union Station to join the funeral procession to the grave.

The funeral cortege is now passing the Lincoln Memorial heading onto the Memorial Bridge that spans the Potomac. As it passes through the great golden Horsemen at the entrance of the bridge, the late Senator’s journey to his grave is almost over.

The Custis-Lee Mansion can be seen directly ahead in Arlington Cemetery. A verdant slope of grass spreads out below the Mansion and from this distance, almost a mile away the grave of President John Kennedy is only a tiny square. Senator Kennedy passed this same location four and a half years ago walking behind the gun carriage carrying his slain brother.

Today there is no gun carriage or riderless horse and no muffled drum beats…but the sadness of that November day is here and the love and respect for a lost leader is also here this afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial.

It’s somehow ironic, but fitting to the memory of Senator Kennedy that this last group of people lining his route to the grave as he leaves the city are largely the poor people of Resurrection City…the very people whose cause he spoke out for so eloquently and whose problems he understood and fought for. From these people he goes to Arlington where his remains will lie beside American soldiers, many the dead of Vietnam, a war Senator Kennedy fought to end.

It brings to mind one of the most moving moments of this sad day when his brother, Senator Ted Kennedy, eulogizing his fallen brother in St. Patricks Cathedral

Ted Kennedy: Eulogy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. (Photo by Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

this morning said:

He saw wrong and tried to right it.

He saw suffering and tried to heal it.

Saw war and tried to stop it.”

The hearse has now passed. Robert Kennedy has left Washington for the last time.

He should have died hereafter for he had much to do that may not now be done.

He was killed by hate in Los Angeles. Today, here in Washington he will be buried with love.

Don North ABC News reporting from the Lincoln Memorial on the funeral procession of Senator Robert Kennedy.

Here is an ABC News report from that day of the funeral and procession for Robert Kennedy, from St. Patrick’s Cathedral down the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks and through the streets of Washington to his final resting place in Arlington:\

Photographs by Paul Fusco for Life Magazine of the crowds lining the railroad tracks.

Don North, a veteran war correspondent who covered the Vietnam War and many other conflicts around the world, is the author of Inappropriate Conduct,  the story of a WW II correspondent whose career was crushed by the intrigue he uncovered.  

(Photo by Louis Liotta/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)

Jacqueline Kennedy with her children at RFK funeral. (Photo by Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

(Photo by PL Gould/Images)

11 comments for “From the Ghettoes, Reservations and Backwoods of America

  1. fogdart
    June 14, 2018 at 03:21

    An old lefty, this is- even older than me – told me Sirhan shot Bobby due to his granting export of US fighter jets to Israel. Anyone know about that?

  2. June 9, 2018 at 13:42

    War is a racket. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the murder of Robert Kennedy. The same gang of psychopathic, war-profiteering war-mongers in the military/industrial complex, the Deep State bureaucrats, and the lobbyists representing foreign countries eager to have USA military bases, are guilty, This is the gang that hated and murdered JFK and Martin Luther King. Any American political or social leader who consistently advocates World Peace, is a moving target for money-worshipping manipulators. War is their Cash-Cow. Killing prominent peace-activists keeps the blood-stained milk flowing.

    • john wilson
      June 10, 2018 at 04:42

      You are right Mike. so Trump better watch out. He’s trying to sort out North Korea peacefully, and has just said he wants Russia back in the G7. Looks like he’s due for the chop as he’s making all the wrong noises.

  3. Bob Van Noy
    June 9, 2018 at 10:54

    I was an older undergrad because I was encouraged by my HS mentor to go into the Military before College to “buy” the GI Bill. I was just finishing my Junior year, and I had only one more assignment to do before Summer, and that was a book report on assigned reading. I had followed Bobby’s campaign and became very impressed by his obvious sincerity. The Country was being torn apart because of Vietnam and deteriorating urban infrastructure. My military friends that I served with said Vietnam was a travesty. My college friends asked me what to do about the draft, I felt compromised about the war because I didn’t understand the dynamics.

    Because I live in California, I had just voted in the California Primary, and hurried to find a TV to watch the results. I followed the end of that campaign right up to the shooting at about 12:20 AM and then, heart broken and disgusted with my country, I still had to finish my book report. Instead of answering the Professor’s questions, I rattled on about how bad America was, and turned it in the next day, indifferent to the results.

    I’ve spent 50 years existing in this criminally run society, even thriving by following the old hippy dictate of “no business as usual”. But right now I think that every thing is changing. We have another opportunity to put things right. Identify who Killed Bobby, and shine a light on the internal corruption. CN is a very big part of that effort. Many Thanks Don North.,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

    • john wilson
      June 10, 2018 at 04:47

      No Don, nothing’s changing and if you think it is, you are whistling in the wind.

  4. June 9, 2018 at 01:20

    Being 74 yo I certainly recall the shocking news. Just the name Kennedy gave people hope ….and at that time it was really needed what with the Vietnam war and the riots in various cities . Anti war marches and rallies massive change going on in the US. Today we have conditions that are in some respects similar, and because of the internet ways of expressing ourselves. But strangely we have almost no anti war marches…. What we do have is a media that reports , or fails to report good accurate reporting of news. That is, we get biased news designed to deceive so as not to stir up the hoi-polie and not have us know that we are now living in a facist police state run by oligarchs and the Military industrial complex. Luckily we have Consortium news and others that cut through the fog of lies. Youtube ‘s Jimmy Dore , Christopher Bollyn and others are leading the charge…. Persevere.

    • Daniel
      June 9, 2018 at 14:25

      Indeed, Stephen. Right this minute, the “Poor People’s Campaign” is picking up the long-forgotten torch of MLK and RFK. In actions across the country, activists are being suppressed, clubbed and gassed, and scores have been arrested.

      Yet the MSM is silent, and most of the “alternative” media ignores or barely mentions it as well.

  5. June 9, 2018 at 00:28

    “From the ghettos, reservations and backwoods” — in a Working Class solidarity such as we had not seen before and shall never be allowed to know again.

    Thank you so much for reminding us of what we were robbed.

    • Daniel
      June 9, 2018 at 18:24

      Loren!!! This is Rad from RSN. I’ve been rather out of the loop, so it’s great so see your name.

      You may recall I posted a Syrian propaganda video as the tide of the war seemed to be shifting that you found moving. Have you seen this new one?

  6. June 8, 2018 at 21:17

    What can one say? Somehow, the Kennedys, having come from privilege, tried to do something to better the conditions of their fellow man. Instead, they ran up against fotces of evil. My friend has always said they were like the Gracchi brothers, social and land reformers of ancient Rome, who were assassinated most likely by the wealthy patrician class who wanted to put a stop to their reforms.

  7. William M
    June 8, 2018 at 19:29

    On that terrible day in 1968 my wife,our two boys and I were in the West Highlands of Scotland, having returned to a cottage where we had been staying as “B&B” guests. We had been up to the Falls of Glomach, Britain’s highest waterfall. The good lady of the house stood in the doorway and said to us, “We have heard some very sad news! Do yu know of Robert Kennedy?” I told her that we were well aware of him and that since we were from Upstate New York, he was in fact one of our state senators. She went on to tell us of his assassination. My wife said, “Oh,NO! This is terrible: another assassination! What must you over here think of us?” The lady said that she felt that most people felt very badly for Americans.” We think of you as very good folk who are having a very bad time and a great many problems just now!”
    “Just now”! “Just now”? We seem to have been in a downward slope ever since. The people of Britain and the Irish Republic gave every indication that they too felt a great loss; that perhaps the Western world had missed a great opportunity.

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