Hearse carries RFK away from Good Samaritan Hospital, 1968 (photos)

rfk-hearse-wide-lapl.jpg
I was down at the Central Library on Saturday to do a few things. While there I was able to check out the exhibit for Josh Kun's amazing book of LAPL-owned sheet music, Songs in the Key of Los Angeles, in the first floor gallery. Downstairs in the History and Genealogy department, I caught "King, the Kennedys, & Los Angeles." The exhibition fills a wall with photos from the Los Angeles Public Library collection showing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in LA during various visits. Go here for online highlights.

I was stopped by a picture I don't think I had ever seen, above, of the hearse carrying RFK's remains away from Good Samaritan Hospital on June 6, 1968. It's from the Herald Examiner, uncredited, and shows the scene at Wilshire Boulevard and Lucas Avenue. There is a lot of history and emotion in the photo, even if you don't see faces.

Kennedy died at Good Sam after a day-long vigil. More than 24 hours earlier, he had won the California primary election, and probably the Democratic Party nomination for president, then was shot down by Sirhan Sirhan in the pantry at the Ambassador Hotel. Richard Nixon, who in the 1960s used to eat at the restaurant that occupied the current HMS Bounty space, right across Wilshire from the hotel, went on to be elected president.

After seeing this image, I had to go online and see what other photos the library has from that street scene. I knew there were people on sidewalks viewing the hearse everywhere along the route to LAX, where Kennedy's remains were flown to New York City and taken to Saint Patrick's Cathedral. These are two more images that I find powerful, both at the start of the trip. All are from the Her Ex.

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Photos: Los Angeles Public Library photo collection/LA Herald Examiner



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Recent Time travel stories on LA Observed:
Hearse carries RFK away from Good Samaritan Hospital, 1968 (photos)
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