Robert F. Kennedy and the Shaping of Civil Rights, 1960–1964


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About the Book

From the 1960 John F. Kennedy presidential campaign to the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and the Department of Justice worked tirelessly to change the climate of civil rights in the nation. This book explores how the Kennedy brothers and leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis and James Meredith, among others, pushed for change at a critical time. Through an analysis of White House memoranda, speeches, telephone conversations and recorded discussions as well as secondary sources, this study explores Robert Kennedy’s role in key events of the civil rights movement, which include the Freedom Rides in 1961, the Ole Miss crisis in 1962 and the Birmingham campaign and March on Washington in 1963. The combined efforts of the Kennedys and these leaders helped change the atmosphere in the nation to one of acceptance and opportunity for African Americans and other minorities.

About the Author(s)

Philip A. Goduti, Jr., is an adjunct assistant professor of history at Quinnipiac University and teaches U.S. history at Somers High School in Connecticut where he is the 2017 Somers Public Schools Teacher of the Year. He has also worked as a freelance reporter for the Hamden Chronicle and the Providence Journal Bulletin. He lives in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Bibliographic Details

Philip A. Goduti, Jr.
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 251
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4943-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0087-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix

Preface      1

Introduction      3

Prologue: 1950s—“A New Generation of Americans”      9

PART I: 1960—FINDING A VOICE: The Campaign

1. Sit-Ins, the Kennedys and King      25

2. The New Frontier      33

3. “We Few, We Happy Few”      41

PART II: 1961—ACTION: Freedom Rides and the Vote

4. Soldiers for Justice      51

5. CORE and the Freedom Rides      62

6. SNCC: Getting to Montgomery      70

7. First Baptist Church      79

8. Mississippi      87

9. Striving for Full Equality      103


10. Martin and Bobby      115

11. “Hello, Governor”      122

12. Leading to Confrontation      132

13. Enter JFK      143

14. Inside the White House; Riot at Ole Miss      153

PART IV: 1963—BEGINNINGS: Alabama, the Civil Rights Act and the March

15. The Kennedy Brothers      169

16. King and Birmingham      180

17. Crimson Tide: George Wallace and Robert Kennedy      191

18. Marching Orders      202

Epilogue: 1964—Bobby and Ted      221

Chapter Notes      225

Bibliography      235

Index      237