Remembering RFK here

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Mary Sholler of the Madera County Library holds up a poster of a copy of the Madera Tribune in observance of the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to Madera six days before he was assassinated. The library will be hosting a free event in Kennedy’s honor on Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.


Events to commemorate Kennedy’s visit to Madera 50 years ago

A free community event will be held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to Madera during his campaign for the presidency.

The visit, on May 30, 1968, was just six days before Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles — the same night he had celebrated the winning of the California Democratic primary.

The Wednesday event will be at the Madera County Library, 121 N. G St., beginning at 5:30 p.m., and running until 7.

The next night, Thursday, May 21, a free showing of the film “Ripple of Hope” will begin at 7 p.m. at Movies Madera, 1140 N. Gateway Drive.

The event at the library will include exhibits of local RFK memorabilia and presentations by student orators in which participating youths will recite selections from speeches by Kennedy of their own choosing, followed by reflections and discussions, guest speakers and more.

“Ripple of Hope” is a documentary that features a speech given by Kennedy in Indianapolis immediately after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., at about 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968, in Memphis. Kennedy was in Indianapolis for a campaign appearance, and his advisors urged him not to speak because they feared the city was about to break out in violence. However, he gave an extemporaneous speech that is credited with having kept the inner city of Indianapolis calm that night.

Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian, confessed to shooting Kennedy because Kennedy supported Israel in its conflict with Palestine. Sirhan remains imprisoned, serving a life sentence at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County.

A committee headed by Madera City Council Member Will Oliver is putting the event together. Other members of the group are Madera Unified School District Superintendent Todd Lile, Robert Winslow of the Madera County Historical Society, Mary Sholler and Patrick Fitzgerald of the Madera County Library, Chuck Doud, Nancy Simpson and Wendy Alexander of the Madera Tribune.