People return to index
President John F. Kennedy's younger brother, who served as his attorney general, shared the chief executive's hesitation to act in the civil rights arena. But savage violence against the Freedom Riders began to change Robert Kennedy's mind. Kennedy ordered federal marshals to intervene during James Meredith's integration of the University of Mississippi in 1962, and the attorney general also urged the president to submit a forceful federal civil rights bill in 1963. After his brother's death, Robert Kennedy became a senator from New York and anti-poverty advocate. A presidential candidate in 1968, he broke the news of Martin Luther King's assassination to the crowd at an Indianapolis campaign event and was himself gunned down just two months later.