Inside the Vault: Robert F. Kennedy's Report on Civil Rights

At the end of 1962, President John F. Kennedy asked his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to compile a report on the civil rights enforcement activities of the Justice Department over the previous year. In this report, submitted on January 24, 1963, Robert Kennedy notes progress overall, but reminds the President that difficult race problems remain “not only in the South . . . but throughout the country.” What information did he share with his brother? What did he leave out? In the August 12, 2021 session of Inside the Vault, Lois MacMillan, 2006 Oregon History Teacher of the Year, joins us as we discuss Kennedy’s report.

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

Use the timestamps below to jump to the topics you want to view

  • The Kennedys and civil rights: 5:13–13:11
  • Introduction to Robert Kennedy’s report: 13:11–16:53
  • “A year of great progress . . .”: 16:56–28:22
  • Robert Kennedy on voting rights: 28:24–40:15
  • Robert Kennedy on education and civil rights: 40:16–46:54
  • Robert Kennedy’s parting words: 46:55–55:14
  • Robert Kennedy’s legacy: 55:14–1:13:35