On Saturday 18th of August 2018, we welcomed Dr Steven McVeigh, Associate Professor of Political and Social Sciences at Swansea University, who gave us a fantastic talk titled ‘August Talk: Killing Dream: 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King’.
The talk focused on 1968 as a pivotal year in the history of the United States. It is now 50 years since the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, dramatic events in a tumultuous year.
King’s speech with the dream of an inclusive America was projected onto Robert Kennedy. However, their deaths produced a conservative reaction. Violent opposition to the Vietnam War, severe economic problems caused by the war and an impatient civil rights movement fostering the Black Power movement, were all evident. Class distinctions persisted whilst feminist and gender issues took root in the Universities.
Increasing sexual freedom, use of drugs and abortion widened the generation gap. Openness was promoted by T.V., literature and films, which encouraged the challenge of Authority. The pervasive power of T.V. intensified the maelstrom. Reporting of the Vietnam war showed a disconnect between reporters and the Government which undermined the credibility of the leaders.
A cultural war developed with hippies, yippies and revolutionary hedonists emerging. People were encouraged to express individuality. A perfect storm which crystallised differences in society and still reverberates today.
We wish to thank Dr Steven McVeigh for his fascinating and insightful talk.