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Robert F. Kennedy Funeral Train: The People’s View

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50 years ago today, Robert F. Kennedy's funeral train traveled from New York to Washington, DC, passing the nearly one million Americans lining the tracks to pay their respects. Looking at the iconic works of Paul Fusco that captured the scenes from the train windows, artist Rein Jelle Terpstra observed that many of the subjects too were holding cameras. 

Where were these photographs? What stories did they tell? He spent years tracking down more than two hundred vernacular images, home movies, and personal recollections to construct another vantage point of this historic day.

Robert F. Kennedy Funeral Train: The People’s View presents a photographic reconstruction of this historic train journey from the people's perspective. Published by FW:Books with support from the Magnum Foundation.

 
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At nine years old, I could feel the deep sadness and hopelessness from the adults. The mood from my elders was, “This president was going to make a difference for all Americans, and if they’re willing to assassinate him, there’s no hope for racial unity in our country.
— Martin Bennett, Jr
 
It was as painful for me, and the pain remains. We were all holding hands and singing “Glory, Glory Hallelujah.” Most people, including me, had tears streaming down our faces as we began swaying side to side. I wrote several poems about RFK’s passing to help me get through the pain.
— Judy Rogers
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I will never forget my mom running after that train and waving at Ted Kennedy. Then she tripped and fell, and even with blood trickling down her leg and tears down her cheek, she continued to wave to Ted.
— Anonymous
 
 
I feel that there is no doubt he overwhelmingly would have been elected in 1968. So, with his assassination, I thought as a sixteen-year-old that my town, my country, is falling apart. I felt that the world was falling apart.
— Larry Beers
 

Footage and narration by Larry Beers

Simone Salvo