Robert Kennedy at Park View Elementary

Attorney-General Robert Kennedy at an assembly, Park View Elementary School

Attorney General Robert Kennedy at an assembly, Park View Elementary School, June 6, 1963

On October 29, 2009, I posted the image above and queried readers on whether or not anyone knew the story behind the photo. The date on the photo was listed as August 29, 1963.

Well, I finally have an answer. While the year on the photo is correct, the date isn’t. The image is actually from June 6, 1963, and does indeed document a visit to Park View Elementary by then Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

On June 6, 1963, Kennedy added Cardozo High and Park View Elementary to the list of schools he’d visited delivering the message that children needed to stay in school and that their hope for future jobs was through education.

The story is documented in the June 7, 1963, Evening Star. Sitting at the end of a row of child’s-sized chairs, he led an audience participation quiz on history. This gave one of the students the opportunity to ask him when he’d become Attorney General. Kennedy’s answer was: “January 21, 1961 and I was appointed by my brother — so if you want to become attorney general yourselves, get your brother to be President.” He was also asked if he’d run for president, which he stated he was not planning to do.

When Kennedy was asked “what do you do about Alabama?,” he stated “if we feel laws of a State are unconstitutional we go to the Supreme Court and say the law should not be on the books.” This question referred to Gov. Wallace’s threat to bar Black students from the University of Alabama, a struggle Kennedy asserted would be won.

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