4. How did Kennedy’s past work influence his work in Eastern Kentucky?

Kennedy’s work as a Senator, Attorney General, and advocating for his brothers Presidential campaign contributed to his character. People began to see how likable he was despite his Roman Catholic faith. Many people were fond of the way JFK brought political awareness to the nation and its poverty (Eller 52). Therefore, many people were accepting of RFK when he entered the region (Franklin). As Attorney General, Kennedy primarily worked with juvenile delinquents which would help him when he came to Eastern Kentucky (Franklin).

RFK speaks to group outside of a courthouse. (Appalachian Volunteers Records, Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College, Berea, Kentucky)

For instance, in the picture above there is large group crowding around Kennedy. RFK seems pretty eager to talk to them; he has a huge smile on his face. Kennedy would have been able to appeal to the youth in the crowd because of this previous work in the PCJD. Though not all faces are shown in this photograph, from those that can be seen and Kennedy’s, one can sense the respect the people held for the Senator and how accepting they were of him because of his past actions. Some people are holding picket signs, it is not clear what they say, but the one that is partially noticeable says something about lower…90%, which is most likely something the people wanted to see worked on in the government. The reporters are very noticeably surrounding Kennedy, again to document every move he made. The photographer effectively captures Kennedy in his true essence. He is speaking to the youth and many others, essentially “befriending” them. He is obviously wants to learn how he can help them and at the same time hope they will support him in the upcoming elections. The photographer captures this very well.

Kennedy may have worked a lot with the youth, but he also befriended the elderly as well. In the following photograph one can sense the respect and eagerness people had to meet the Senator. The look on the peoples face really brings joy to my heart, only because they had probably never met someone with such stature as Kennedy, and were glad because he was there to help them out. The frontal view of the Senators face is not noticeable, but by his body language and the side view of his face you can definitely tell he was happy to be there. I believe, that the author of this photograph meant to capture this image because it shows the eagerness of both sides to the poverty issue; the willing senator that will help and those people who are in need of help. It just brings a humbling feeling to myself. Though, many people may question, why would Kennedy want to help such people? What makes them so special? The truth is because of his past work in the youth programs, large cities, and the Mississippi Delta there was nothing unique about it. Just because it was not unique does not mean that Kennedy did not care, and if he didn’t care then he would not have traveled to Eastern Kentucky.

RFK speaks to people in the streets. (Appalachian Volunteers Records, Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College, Berea, Kentucky)


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