Teaching Students About Robert F. Kennedy: Empowering the Next Generation


Robert F. Kennedy, affectionately known as “Bobby” or “RFK,” was a prominent figure in American history as a politician, lawyer, and civil rights advocate. Teaching students about Robert F. Kennedy not only gives them a comprehensive understanding of an influential leader but also instills values that will empower them to become active, informed citizens.

Making Connections:

Students learn best when they can relate historical events and figures to their own lives. Begin by discussing RFK’s early life, his role as a brother to John F. Kennedy, and his experience growing up in a politically influential family. Encourage students to think about their own families or communities and how those relationships have shaped their lives.

Highlighting Key Accomplishments:

To give students an appreciation of RFK’s contributions to American society, focus on the key roles he played throughout his career: 

1) Attorney General: As the United States Attorney General under his brother’s administration, RFK achieved significant milestones in civil rights enforcement.

2) Senator: Representing New York State in the U.S Senate, RFK championed social justice causes throughout his tenure.

3) Presidential Campaign: Although cut short by his assassination, Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign highlighted important social issues of the era, such as ending poverty and racial injustice.

Encourage Debate and Discussion:

As controversial figures often spark interesting conversation, engage students in debates centered around RFK’s policies and decisions. This will not only solidify their knowledge but also develop critical thinking and respectful communication skills.

Exploring Robert F. Kennedy’s Legacy:

Discuss with your students the lasting impact of RFK’s work on today’s society – from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to current conversations about income inequality and racial injustice. Ask them to reflect on challenges they believe still need addressing and how they see themselves contributing to solving these issues.


Teaching students about Robert F. Kennedy can serve as a powerful tool for enlightening them about a bygone era of American history, connecting with their own life experiences, and empowering them to be active participants in shaping a more just and equitable future. With the right approach, students can carry forth the spirit of RFK and make lasting change in their own communities.

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