Grateful American® Foundation

June 1 — June 30, 2024

History Matters

Showing our children that their past is prelude to their future, with book recommendations

Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

On June 5, 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy stood before an enormous crowd of deliriously happy supporters in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and claimed victory in the California presidential primary. At forty-two, he had been borne along by the power of his name and the public’s widespread Vietnam War “fatigue.” It seemed probable that another Kennedy would soon ascend to the White House.

He concluded his remarks with the declaration, “Now it’s on to Chicago, and let’s win there!”

Trailed by admirers and hangers-on, Kennedy walked into the hotel kitchen; he was to be driven away from there, but an assassin lay in wait: Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian enraged by the Senator’s support of Israel, shot him in the head and body; others were also hit. A haunting image of Kennedy laying on the floor with his head supported by a stricken busboy, sped around the world. Kennedy was taken to the nearby Good Samaritan Hospital, where he lingered until his death the following day.

Later, Vice President Hubert Humphrey got the Democratic presidential nomination, but he was defeated in a close election with former Vice President Richard Nixon.

For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends The Last Patrician: Bobby Kennedy and the End of American Aristocracy by Michael Knox Beran.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles

Death of Michael Jackson

On June 25, 2009, the “King of Pop” died of complications from an accidental drug overdose at his Los Angeles home. He was 50. The story– broken by the gossipy TMZ, spread around the world, quickly.

Known everywhere for his swarm of hits–“Billie Jean” “Thriller” “Beat It” and “Bad” — Jackson had been a child superstar since performing with ‘his brother’s as part of the Jackson 5. When he went solo, Jackson’s popularity went stratospheric, and he became one of the most successful musical performers of all time.

Eventually, his reputation was tarnished by eccentric behavior, extensive cosmetic surgeries, and credible accusations of child abuse that repelled, repulsed-­ and riveted– some fans.

At his death Jackson was preparing for a comeback concert tour, but in meantime, he had become dependent on a cocktail of powerful drugs, administered mostly by Dr. Conrad Murray.

He was tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the singer’s death.

For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson by Randall Sullivan.

Michael F. Bishop, a writer and historian, is the former executive director of the International Churchill Society and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

History Matters is a feature courtesy of the Grateful American Book Prize,
an annual award for high quality, 7th to 9th grade-level books dealing with important moments in history.

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