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Exhibit marks 54th anniversary of Kennedy speech, King assassination

Items on display at the 'Still We Reach' exhibit inside the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative Cultural Visitors Center inside Kennedy King Park Center in Indianapolis on April 4, 2022. (WISH Photo/Aleah Hordges)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s been 54 years since April 4, 1968, when Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech to a crowd near 17th and Broadway Streets in Indianapolis following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Kennedy had traveled to Indianapolis earlier that day for a planned rally in support of his presidential campaign and learned of Dr. King’s assassination when his plane landed.

Although he had been advised that riots had broken out in other cities following King’s death, Kennedy proceeded to address the crowd that had gathered to see him. His speech is credited with preventing the kind of violent reaction that other cities saw that night.

WISH-TV was there when Kennedy delivered his historic speech and captured it on film.

Each year on April 4, people gather at Dr. Martin Luther King Park on Indy’s north side, not far from the site of Kennedy’s speech, to honor and remember both men. A sculpture in the park, called Landmark for Peace, features the two men reaching out to each other.

This year, the public is invited to visit the park and check out the new ‘Still We Reach’ exhibit at the Kennedy King Park Center, says State Rep. Gregory Porter, the chairman of Kennedy King Memorial Initiative Board.

“Pretty much, [it follows] Robert Kennedy as he went through Ball State University and Notre Dame and came here and wound up on a flatbed of a truck and broke the news to the community of the death of assassination of Dr. King,” Porter said. “We have some exhibits of talking about racial equality and type of equity within our community trying to get away from the divisiveness that we have.”

This is the first time the exhibit has been open, Porter says.

“It was ready about a year ago, but because of COVID, we didn’t have anyone here,” Porter said. “People are able to come here on this day on this remarkable day to see the exhibit that we’ve been putting together.”

The exhibit is free and open Monday from noon to 5 p.m.