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A Brief Snapshot of Robert F. Kennedy's Life

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy speaking to student supporters at the University of Nebraska during his presidential campaign tour.
/ Art Shay/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Art Shay/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Sen. Robert F. Kennedy speaking to student supporters at the University of Nebraska during his presidential campaign tour.


Robert Francis Kennedy

(Nov. 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968)

Milton Academy, Harvard University, University of Virginia School of Law

U.S. Counsel (1953-1960)
Robert Kennedy joins the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations in 1953 under the tutelage of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. He eventually resigns from the committee over disagreements with Senator McCarthy's anti-communist campaign against federal officials. Once McCarthy is deposed from office in 1954, Kennedy rejoins the committee as chief counsel and director. He goes on to lead aggressive campaigns against union corruption and organized crime, and successfully prosecutes famed union leader James R. "Jimmy" Hoffa.

The Kennedy Campaign (1960)
Robert Kennedy leaves the Senate subcommittee to manage his brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy's successful bid for the presidency.

Attorney General (1961-1964)
President John Kennedy appoints Robert as attorney general, where he continues to focus on combating organized crime and racial discrimination. He becomes his brother's most trusted adviser on legislative issues ranging from civil rights to the Cuban Missile Crisis. His older brother's assassination in 1963 devastates him, and he remains in office only briefly thereafter.

Senator, New York (1964-1968)
Following a widening rift with John F. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy resigns from the federal cabinet in 1964. He pursues and wins the Senate seat from New York. By 1966, he becomes a vocal critic of President Johnson's domestic programs and the ongoing war in Vietnam.

The Last Campaign (1968)
After a period of speculation and doubt, Robert Kennedy launches his campaign for the presidency in March 1968. Drawing on an anti-war message and calling for racial reconciliation, Kennedy leads a whirlwind campaign across the country. He defeats opponent Eugene McCarthy in the Indiana and Nebraska primaries, but loses the Oregon primary in May.

June 5, 1968
After midnight, shortly after winning the South Dakota and California primaries and announcing " ... now it's on to Chicago," Kennedy is shot in the Ambassador Hotel by Sirhan Sirhan, a Jordanian immigrant. He dies the following day in Los Angeles.

Robert Kennedy is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

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