Robert Kennedy urged civil rights workers to focus on voter registration because he...
A) thought voter registration would be easier to achieve than desegregation
B) believed voter registration was the key to achieving change
C) thought African Americans would guarantee the victory of the Kennedy administration in the next election
D) wanted to divert attention from civil rights violations in the North
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If you are operating out of a textbook or a set of class readings or course instruction, I would turn to these first. Perhaps, there is some answer that has already been stated from which you can draw. To be quite honest, I am not entirely comfortable with the choices offered here, which is why if you have specific readings or analysis, perhaps the answer would be more evident. I think that the selection of the answers featured might reflect bias or historical slant. For example, if one believed that Robert Kennedy was passionate about his defense and advocacy for Civil Rights, letters C and D might not be immediately embraced as they reflect the use of Civil Rights in a more political context. However, if one believed that Kennedy was intent about bringing Civil Rights for people of color into existence, there might be a more immediate embrace of A or B. Much is dependent on what is out there and what you have experienced in your class and instruction.
For me, I think that Kennedy was fairly zealous and legitimate about Civil Rights. I consider his landmark speech given in 1961:
We will not stand by or be aloof. We will move. I happen to believe that the 1954 Supreme Court school desegregation decision was right. But my belief does not matter. It is the law. Some of you may believe the decision was wrong. That does not matter. It is the law.
When examining these words and his overall stance towards Civil Rights, his willingness to send federal troops to accompany James Meredith to classes at the University Mississippi and his staunch support of Dr. King, I think that Kennedy would have been an advocate for voter registration as the key to fighting segregation practices. I also believe that he was pragmatic enough to see the issue as requiring benchmarks for success and voter registration was a part of this process. In my mind, I could live with B as an answer, with A as a close second. Yet, I stress that the need to refer back to your classwork becomes critical in this process, superseding anything written here.
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