With a spectacular view of the Boston Harbor at sunset, O’Neill and Associates hosted a wonderful evening at the Boston Harbor Hotel with New York Times bestselling author and former award-winning Boston Globe reporter Larry Tye to celebrate the release of his new book, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon. At the reception, Tye entertained attendees by offering an oral preview of his book which details Bobby’s personal and professional transformation after his brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated.
Following a welcome by Boston Harbor Hotel General Manager Stephen Johnston, Tom O’Neill introduced the author and highlighted his successful accomplishments to date. Tye then followed suit and graciously gifted Tom a Superman t-shirt, inspired by his book, Superman: The High-Flying History of the Man of Steel.
One of the greatest takeaways of the night, as Tye shared, was that Bobby Kennedy’s story resonates more today than he could have ever anticipated when he first started writing the biography. He drew parallels between the tension that plagued the country during the 1968 elections and the growing internal divisions that we are experiencing now.
Tye carefully recounts the specific events that he believes shaped Bobby Kennedy into not only a liberal icon, but also the most loved white man in Black America in 1968 and a Democratic presidential candidate. Specifically, Tye brings attention to Bobby Kennedy’s speech to the grieving crowds of Indianapolis after MLK’s assassination:
“Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.”
Kennedy delivered his powerful speech from the heart, as he too was grieving. That night, Indianapolis was the only city in the country with a large black population to not riot. Tye adds that this is exactly the tone that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, President Obama and many other influential leaders are trying to channel today. Nearly forty years after these events took place, Tye encourages us to reflect on the lessons of Bobby Kennedy to help us “understand with compassion and love” and to continue to build bridges rather than erect walls.