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On February 13th 1968...Senator Robert Kennedy visited East Kentucky.  It was part of his tour of Appalachia and came one week before he announced his candidacy for President.  He was assassinated some three months after his trip to Hazard.  In September 2004, Kennedy's entire tour was re-created as part of a major arts and community development project.  Kennedy's visit included a walking tour on Liberty Street in Hazard where he was interview by WSGS/WKIC Newsman - Virgil Walton Napier  HazardKentucky.com presents a photographic diary of Kennedy's visit to Perry County.

 

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Kennedy arrives on East Main Street

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Kennedy (left) inside the car 
Click here Greeted by WSGSs Virgil Napier & Hazard Herald's Oscar Combs

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In front of Gene Baker Motor Company Click here
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Entering Libery Street
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Kennedy & Bill Gorman

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with former Hazard mayor Willie Dawahare

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Kennedy & Bill Gorman

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Kennedy & Dawahare
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All photos by Paul Gordon.
See someone you know in one of the photos?  
Do you have additional pictures of this event? 
Contact us at HazardKentucky.com

"My mother, Betty Taulbee, was a witness in the hearing that they had a the Vortex School on Feb.13 1968.  Mr. Kennedy later sent her a letter thanking her which I have today."  Phyllis Buckner, Campton KY

"I attend ALC now.  I am very interested in Robert Kennedy.  Even today young people are influenced by him.  Everyone that got him to come to Hazard is very lucky.  I know I would have loved to have been there.  He was a great man, a man for the people of America.  Someone America really needed and still needs today.  He inspires me, because he loved humanity.  He loved us.  He wanted change.  I wonder sometimes if there will ever be someone like him today or tomorrow?  Sherise Mason in Tennessee

"I have a picture of Kennedy and Bill Gorman together.  It's not in the best shape but it's one of my favorite family pictures.  My Mom lived in Hazard with her grandmother for a time in the '70s and she loves your site.  Keep up the great work!"  Sarah in GA

"I enjoy reading the messages and looking at all the pictures on this site.  I only wish I could have seen him in person.  What family I have are so much like you and me."  Ivalene Estep, Saul, KY

"I was a little girl of 10 years when Robert Kennedy visited Appalachia.  He came into a cafe on Main Street in Hindman, KY, surrounded by his entourage.  I was 2 feet or less from him staring into his eyes for at least 35 seconds.  My father had lifted me up to eye level, and I remember thinking he needed to comb his hair and brush his teeth which appeared yellow.  Amazing what impressions a child has when confronted by a man who is a historical icon.  I asked for and cordially received his autograph, as did all my family members.  It remains in a photo album at my mother's home.  At the time, it meant nothing to me, just a curiosity at best, but today, it stands as a reminder of a moment that a man from perhaps the most remarkable family in the United States, took the  time to visit a town of 800 and shine the spotlight on an area which needed its government's help.  He was truly a hero." Bev Miller, Lexington, KY

"I remember being very sad as I watched the funeral procession driving down the street on television.  I was 12 years old.  My grandmother lived on Mason's Creek and I remember her saying the country would never be the same." Doris Roark Goodman, Mt. Vernon, Indiana

"I was in the first grade in 1968.  The world lost a great human being on June 6th of that year." John Robbins, West Portsmouth, Ohio

"I lived in Hazard during this time."  Mary Ann Combs, Hazel Park, MI

"RFK was a good man!" Tom Callahan, Elyria Ohio

"I was attending the Hazard Area Vocational school in 1968 with the photographer, Paul Gordon.  I remember hearing him tell about Robert Kennedy's visit and his taking the pictures.  I believe that one of the pictures was featured in the Hazard Herald.  Robert Kennedy meant a great deal to many young people at the time.  We had hopes of having a president that could better relate to and understand us.  We lost many ideals with his passing."  Larry Brashear, Sebastian, FL

"I was riding the school bus home from Buckhorn High School.  Kennedy followed behind our bus for several miles.  When my friends and I got off the bus to go home, Kennedy waved to us from his vehicle.  We were so excited that we got to see him."  Patsy Miller Collins, Hazard, KY

"I enjoyed your article.  I too attended ALC but it was a couple of months after the tragedy.  RFK was my hero too.  Any from ALC during that time I'd enjoy hearing from you.  Thanks again." Helen (Turmer) Brewer, Georgia

"February 13, 1968 was a Tuesday.  At that time I was a month off seven and in an atrocious class, a combined 1st - 3rd grade class.  Every morning the class policy was to "write the news," which was to write what was currently taking place.  Each pupil filled out a piece of note book paper with the 'news.'  The only thing I didn't like about this morning procedure was that part of the requirement was to give the 'weather report,' that is to describe the weather and give the temperature and type of clouds that were visible that day, e.g. cumulus clouds.  I really didn't like that.  The other thing I heartily disliked was the 'personal notes' that each pupil got.  The teacher I had at the time didn't have the intelligence of a radish and every morning would write personal notes to each pupil and leave them in an envelope that was taped to each person's desk.  Unfortunately, the notes became a competitive venture for me and I would count and compare everyone's notes with my own before I took my coat off.  I hate to say this, but I felt the notes were a way of ranking people by favored status.  Counting and comparing the notes naturally defeated the purpose.  I was the only one who did this because I just had to know where I stood.  Robert Kennedy, then a senator stood first place in my estimation.  He was my very first hero and I thought he was really cool.  On November 3, 1964 I was the youngest person who voted for him.  My mother brought me into the election booth, told me to find his name, push the button and pull the lever. I was so proud!  For days afterward I proudly told everyone I saw, 'I'm A Voter!' A late talker and early reader, I used to LOVE reading about Robert Kennedy in the newspaper and seeing him on the evening news.  'He's a man who cares about people,' my mother would tell me.  'That's why I had you vote for him.  Just remember YOU voted for him.'  I was SO proud!  I will never forget June 5 & 6, 1968.  My mother greeted me with the sad news of the Senator's assassination.  Let's just say I took the news very hard.  That morning, in class after I had counted up the notes and it was time to 'write the news,' I filled my page with what I knew about the assassination. That whole day I prayed that Robert Kennedy would pull through; I kept thinking, 'please don't die.  We need you.  Just be alive when I get home tonight.'  Once home, I remained RIVETED to the evening news and read through every related article in the paper.  On the morning of June 6, 1968 my mother would not turn on the news, no matter how hard I pleaded.  Since I had to catch a 7:30 bus, I had to get up very early and be ready to leave.  Nobody turned a radio on or left a newspaper anywhere in that building; it was only when I got home that afternoon that my mother broke the sad news to me.  'I hate the man who shot Senator Kennedy!  I hate him and I hope they throw him in jail forever!  And I wish Rosey Grier had broken his [the assassin's] head!'  I can remember to this very day saying.  I watched the news and read every article about the Senator's death and spent the rest of that day crying my heart out.  'Senator Kennedy would not want you to hate anyone,' my mother told me.  'Instead of hating the assassin, pray for the Senator and his family instead and pray for an end to this kind of violence.'  For months I had nightmares about the assassination.  The part that upset me the most was that Robert Kennedy suffered brain trauma and the idea that his intelligence would be impaired was very upsetting to me.  My mother was a special education teacher at the time and would often tell me about the brain and its many functions.  At the time I thought 'brain damage' and impaired cognition were synonymous.  The idea of this vital, intelligent man suffering any trauma was very upsetting to me.  I grew up.  I never forgot."  Lisa N. Collins

"I really enjoyed the documentary 'American Hollow' by Rory Kennedy. You should put some information about the Bowling family on your website.  Also, maybe info on how the public can purchase Iree Bowling's quilts."  Octavia Williams, South Carolina

"I was attending Alice Lloyd College at the time Robert Kennedy came to Eastern Kentucky.  I attended a dinner for Robert Kennedy at the home of Clayton Atkins family.  I was able to get his autograph which I treasure even today.  What an experience for a coal miners daughter from Leatherwood, Ky.  I will never forget the meeting in Cushing Hall.  Carl Perkins was also in attendance.  The people who attended only wanted to direct their questions to Carl Perkins.  I don't think they realized the importance of that evening.  Only to hear a few weeks later that Robert Kennedy had been killed.   Thanks for the memories.  I hope you enjoyed my memory of that special week in February 1968."  Anonymous



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