From the 1960 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 the nation. Working with his brother, President John F. Kennedy, Robert had a unique opportunity to make a difference in race relations. This book explores how the Kennedy brothers and civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis and James Meredith, among others, pushed for change at a critical time in the civil rights movement. Through an analysis of White House memoranda, phone conversations and discussions as well as secondary source material, 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 Kennedy brothers and these leaders paved the way for future civil rights legislation by changing the atmosphere in the nation to one of acceptance and opportunity for African Americans and other minority groups, eventually leading to the election of Barack Obama, the first African American president.
Philip A. Goduti, Jr., is an adjunct assistant professor of history at Quinnipiac University, in Hamden, Connecticut (and the recipient of a Quinnipiac University Outstanding Faculty Award in 2002). He is also a history teacher at Somers High School in Somers, Connecticut, and a former freelance reporter for the Providence Journal Bulletin and Hamden Chronicle. He lives in Cromwell, Connecticut.