SSUSH23d

Describe the social and political turmoil of 1968;include the assassinations of MLK Jr, Robert Kennedy and the events surrounding the DNC.

In 1968 the United States was in political turmoil. MLK was assassinated, and so was Robert Kennedy. On top of that riots were seen across the US not just because of the assassination of arguably the most influential leader throughout the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr., but also because of the democratic national convention, which can be seen as a result of the “collapse” of the democratic party after the assassination of JFK. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray who did not agree that blacks should have the same rights as everybody else. He planned to kill MLK and eventually did it in 1968. After the murder of a beloved Civil Rights leader, riots broke out in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and other places around the country. 350 people were arrested in these riots, 11 people died, and lots of property damage was amassed including the destruction of buildings. White owned buildings and businesses were targeted, and the National Guard would have to come in and interfere. After all of this turmoil, Robert Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan because Kennedy opposed entry into the Vietnam war but was favoring military backing to Israel which he not only viewed as hypocritical but was also angered by since several of his family members were killed by Israelis. This was an issue since Robert Kennedy was trying to run for president for the democratic party, and his death hurt the party even more than it had been hurt by his brothers. The democratic convention was later held in Chicago to determine someone to run for the party. Riots broke out as a result of anger towards the assassination of MLK, Kennedy, and the opposing of the Vietnam war. After the Chicago police tried to stop the rioters, they grew violent. This showed the huge split in the democratic party at the time. They decided to elect Hubert Humphrey to represent them but he lost to Richard Nixon in the primary election.

 

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Reflection

This period of political turmoil really showed what Americans were made of.  Two members of a major political family assassinated, a Civil Rights leader murdered, and a political party in shambles all highlighted this tragic year. The disaster that was the DNC national convention led the party to be reorganized and to come back together beginning after the parties horrible defeat by Nixon in the primary elections. The murder of leaders, also speed up the process of change in what they were trying to accomplish, by showing a dark side to all those that opposed them, aiding the Civil Rights Movement.

Resources:

http://www.history.com/topics/robert-f-kennedy/videos/the-assassination-of-rfk

http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/martin-luther-king-jr-assassination

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/1968-democratic-convention-931079/

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