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Law Day Address by Robert F. Kennedy: The Speech

On May 6, 1961 Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy delivered the Law Day Address at the University of Georgia Law School. While there is an official version of the speech found at the National Archives there are other markedly different versions.

Versions of the Speech

Official version from the Department of Justice. This version was prepared in advance and then released after the speech was delivered.

Version published by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights; with audio and still photographs.

Version published on American Rhetoric. Includes an audio recording.

Respect for Law, 48 ABA Journal 31 (Jan. 1962); authored by Robert F. Kennedy

On May 10, 1961 Rep. John Brademas of Indiana made remarks praising Attorney General Kennedy's speech. Those remarks are available in the Congressional Record, 107 Cong. Rec. A3263 (daily ed. May 10, 1961) (statement of Rep. Brademas).

References in the Speech

Books by and about Robert F. Kennedy

During the speech, Attorney General Kennedy highlighted three "major areas of difficulty within the purview of my responsibilities that sap our national strength, that weaken our people, that require our immediate attention." These included organized crime, corrupt practices in business and by unions, and civil rights which included school desegregation. These would continue to be areas of focus for the rest of his professional life.

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