Public speacking midterm class |

Overview: The short speech you will view was delivered on the evening of April 4th, 1968, by Robert F. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy (RFK) was a United States senator and former U.S. Attorney General in the administration of his late brother, John Kennedy, the U.S. president assassinated in Dallas in 1963. The speech you will examine was delivered by RFK on the night of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination and is considered one of the best speeches of its kind ever in American life.

Here is a link to it:

Your task is to answer a series of questions about this speech. I am looking for more than just your opinion. I am looking for you to connect your impressions, assessment and analysis with course concepts.Define an idea and cite Cindy L. Griffin and our textbook when you do.

Please view the speech as many times as you like, making notes as you do. Please also refer to the transcript of this speech I have included in this folder as “Robert Kennedy Speech Transcript.”

Your questions are based on concepts from our class textbook, Invitation to Public Speaking by Cindy L. Griffin (2015). For all your answers you’ll need to ground your responses in course content, so cite Griffin when you need to (and you will need to) and include this information in a required “Reference” page. APA format. Times New Roman 12pt, 1” margins.

You DO NOT need to compose an essay. Just write out each question and write out your response to it. A ONE-SENTENCE answer to any of these questions will not suffice. Yet any answer longer than a paragraph or two is likely too long. Remember to connect your ideas to Griffin via proper in-text citation.

TIP: You only need to mention year of publication, ONCE, when you first cite Griffin. After that, depending on how an individual answer is constructed, you’ll need to tell us you are citing Griffin and the page number in the manner APA prescribes.


Yet, if you do cite something Kennedy said, you can reference it by the paragraph of the transcript on which it appears, such as (para. 2).

Your questions:

A) In announcing to his audience the assassination earlier that day of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sen. Kennedy had some ethical issues to consider. Please refer to pages 3 and 4 of our book, and chapter 1 more broadly, and any notes or class Power Points, to answer the following:

Question A1: In what way do you see and hear Sen. Kennedy acting ethically as a public speaker? In other words, how was his speech the kind of public dialogue our book defines as an “ethical and civil exchange of ideas and opinions among communities about topics that affect the public?”

Question A2: Among the members of the audience assembled to hear Sen. Kennedy speak were whites and blacks. In a sense, the “community” of his audience was also two communities. How does Sen. Kennedy address the concerns and feelings of blacks during his speech? How was he, as an ethical speaker, audience centered? He does something very specific to connect with the black members of his audience grieving the death of Dr. King. What is it?

Question A3: Sen. Kennedy’s speech was praised and cited as the reason there was no rioting in Indianapolis that evening. How might a less ethical speaker have spoken in a way that incited violence or even hate?

B) In chapter 3 of our book, Griffin discusses the general and specific purposes to public speeches, and also talks about thesis statements. Consider this information as you answer the following questions:

Question B1) Listen to Robert Kennedy’s speech and discuss what you think was his general purpose, specific purpose and (though he never says it in so many words) his thesis.

C) Sen. Kennedy was a prominent son from a prominent white family endowed with wealth and privilege and power. It has too often been the case that others with this identity (rich, powerful and white) as their master statuses (defined in chapter 4) have been and are ethnocentric in their standpoints. Yet Kennedy’s family also knew of prejudice because they came from Irish immigrants to America (not welcomed here at first) and were Catholic, which was a MAJOR point of debate during his brother’s (successful) run for the White House in 1960. Consider all this as you answer the following:

Question C1) What evidence do you have from this speech about Robert Kennedy’s standpoint? How would you describe his standpoint? Is it ethnocentric? Explain.

D) Chapter 8 offers ideas for using quotations and even poetry in introductions and conclusions. Answer:

Question D1) When/where did Robert Kennedy use poetry and/or quotations in his speech? Were these part of his introduction or his conclusion?

Question D2) In your opinion, and based on what we’ve thus far read and discussed, how effective were these poems/quotations?

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