Robert Kennedy's 1968 Presidential big -- campaign rally at Buenaventura Mall

by Celia
(Santa Paula, California)

June 1968 -- Does anyone remember when Robert Kennedy and his wife, Ethel, and their dog, Freckles, stopped at the Buenaventura Mall to speak to a crowd that had gathered there?

I worked at the RFK campaign headquarters in Ventura when he was running in the California primary election and was there that day. I was lucky enough to get copies of some snapshots taken that day -- just a few days before he won the democratic primary election, and then tragically shot.

Comments for Robert Kennedy's 1968 Presidential big -- campaign rally at Buenaventura Mall

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 29, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I have a picture
by: Anonymous

I have a picture of Robert Kennedy in 1968 in Ventura. My parents went to a parade or something he was at, and he took the picture. On the back, my mom wrote "one week before he was shot"

Apr 26, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I was there
by: Glenn Hardy

I saw Robert Kennedy that day at the mall. He was speaking to the gathering outside. I had a new Leica camera and got some great close-ups of him smiling as he shook hands. I somehow managed to lose the photos in one of my moves.

May 28, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
RFK RALLY AT BUENA VENTURA CENTER
by: Douglas Abbe

Yes, I remember very well when Senator Robert F. Kennedy spoke at was then called Buena Ventura Center in Ventura, California. I was 10 years old, in the 4th grade and I desperately wanted to go see Bobby speak at the Rally but I was unable to attend. I asked my Mom if we could go but my older brother had a Little League game that day and we lived across town so I had no transportation. I had my Mom drive me by the Buena Ventura Center the next day and on the Mills Road side of the mall you could see the platform and podium in the parking lot still standing from where Robert F. Kennedy spoke from. The platform was centered between the then Broadway and the then J.C.Penney's stores. I was able to get a flyer from the event. It reads as follows: See Hear Meet Robert F. Kennedy In Ventura At Buena Ventura Center Tuesday May 28, 1968 4:45 P.M. One week later Bobby won the California Primary on June 4,1968. I WOULD LIKE COPIES OF PHOTOS TAKEN FROM THIS EVENT! Willing to pay or I can make you a copy from the original flyer. Contact me at liadoug@yahoo.com Thank you, Douglas Abbe

Aug 29, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
RFK
by: Max King

RFK was in a white Pontiac convertible
and I shook his hand when he leaned out. I still have a vivid image of him.

Oct 21, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I saw him in Oxnard
by: Anonymous

I grew up in Oxnard and was a 10 years old at the time. I remember a parade with Robert Kennedy where I saw him waving his hand while in a motorcade going by. During that parade someone pointed a toy gun at him. I think it was the very next day that he was shot in LA. This left a deep impression on me.

Oct 30, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
photo
by: Eric

Does anyone have a photo with Bobby Kennedy holding a baby? Kissing a baby? My mother told me years ago she was there with me and she told me he held and kissed me. I was a year old when he was there?

Nov 13, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I was there
by: Anonymwous

My girlfriend and I were there and I remember only one significant part of his speech: "I will end the war in Vietnam on my inauguration day" We were so sad to hear of his assassination the next day.

Jan 16, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Was there
by: Anonymous

I was a student at Anacapa Junior High School across Mills Rd from the Buenaventura Center. I went there with a bunch of friends because it was a remarkable event for sleepy Ventura. We were released from school early, as most of the teachers wanted to see RFK, except for the John Birch aligned history teacher Mr. C.....

Mar 12, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I remember being within 30 feet of him in Oxnard in a motorcade just a short time before his death
by: Melissa Duffy

I also grew up in Oxnard and was 10 years old when I saw Bobby Kennedy who was either standing or sitting up on an open convertible in a motorcade heading Eastbound on 5th street crossing H and proceeding to "C" street to what is now called Plaza Park. He was waving to all of us. I remember being within about 30 feet from him as he went by waving. That was extremely very exciting for me and left a deep impression on me, as did his death. Bobby had been very active in the farm workers rights movement and Oxnard was a town with many Latino workers and Caesar Chavez had been active in Oxnard. What I recall, just like the other 10 year old at that time who made a comment, was that it was the very next day that he was shot in LA. Can anyone else confirm the date of his motorcade...he was traveling East on 5th street towards what is now called Plaza Park on 5th and C street the day before election on June 4th? I did try to find it out through an Internet search but all I could find was a picture of him three days before he was shot at an Oxnard Church in La Colonia.

http://frankpbarajas.blogspot.com/2009/02/robert-f-kennedy-in-la-colonia-oxnard.html and https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/kt029002rt/

Mar 12, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I remember being within 30 feet of him in Oxnard in a motorcade just a short time before his death
by: Melissa Duffy

I also grew up in Oxnard and was 10 years old when I saw Bobby Kennedy waving to the crowd in an open convertible in a motorcade heading Eastbound on 5th street crossing "H" street and proceeding to "C" street towards what is now called Plaza Park.

He was waving to all of us. I remember being within about 30 feet from him as he went by waving. That was extremely very exciting for me and left a deep impression on me, as did his death.

Bobby had been very active in the farm workers rights movement and he had associated with Ceasar Chavez, who headed the United Farmworkers Movement and promoted rights of farm laborers. O

What I recall, just like the 'anon' other 10 year old at that time who made a comment, was that it was the very next day that he was shot in LA.

Can anyone else confirm the date of his motorcade in Oxnard as day before he was shot? All I could find was a photo of him in Oxnard three days prior to his being shot.

http://frankpbarajas.blogspot.com/2009/02/robert-f-kennedy-in-la-colonia-oxnard.html and https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/kt029002rt/

Mar 13, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I was there with him
by: Anonymous

Yes I stood with him Robert Kennedy on a flat bed truck, he came over and thanked us for helping him get elected, my name is Dennis Conner, I remember it, I sure wish there was a photo showing this. For I also have a photo of me and president Kennedy when he came to the Point Magoo Naval base years earlier, I was in elementary school 6th grade.

Mar 13, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Stood with him on flatbed truck
by: Dennis Conner

I d don't know if my other articles got through please forgive if this is a repeat but I remember well being on a election committee I was in the 11th grade from Ventura high school I stood with him on the back of a flatbed big semi truck from which he spoke to the crowd I sure wish someone had a picture of that to validate I also have a picture of me and John F Kennedy at point Magoo naval base when the president came thank you if anyone does have a picture of him at Ventura Buena Ventura shopping center

Jun 23, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Eight Year Old Supporter
by: Heather Mc

My mother took my 10-year-old sister, her friend and me to the BV Shopping Center to see RFK. I was so happy to be there to show support. She and my sister woke me up the night he was shot to bring me into my parent's bedroom to watch the news on TV. We were devastated.

Jun 02, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Ronert Kennedy in Ventura remembered NEW
by: Anonymous

I was 9 years old in the 4th grade at Lona Vista Elementary School. My mom dropped me off with my 11 year old sister and her classmate. We had a dime to call her when we wanted to get picked up. I could not see Robert Kennedy through the crowds so I decided to sit on the back of his large white convertible which was parked on the intersecting street in the shopping center parking lot acros from JC Pennys. I knew Robert Kennedy would have to return to his car after speaking so I waited. He returned to his car and a man guarding the car lifted me from the car saying "here you go little lady". I was wearing my Camop Fire Girl uniform. There was Robert Kennedy next to me. I shook his hand and took many photos with my 104 kodak instamatic camera. I then found a phone booth to call my mom. I was so saddened the news the next morning when I asked about the outcome of the primary and my mon told me he was shot dead.

Jun 05, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstar
I was there NEW
by: Anonymous

I too was a student at Anacapa Junior High School on that day. I remember being let out of school to watch RFK. I don't remember the crowd being exceptionally large. My friends and I were at the back of the crowd at yet could see and hear RFK easily. When he began his speech, my friends and I quickly got bored. He taking too long thanking various people for their help. I do also remember a large sign for Nixon at the back of the crowd.

Even at that young age, I was shocked to hear of him being shot and killed. To see someone in person one day and then realize he was killed was a brutal lesson.

Jul 14, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
My father worked for both brothers NEW
by: Ronny Martinez

"Gentle Ben" Martinez worked 5 days a week in LA with the "Viva Kennedy" campaign (JFK) while Mom held down the fort (6 kids) on Hurst Avenue in Midtown Ventura.
Dad's work with East LA Angelenos & JFK was the precursor of the "War on Poverty" after JFK was assassinated. Bobby knew Dad well from his work during JFK's Viva Kennedy efforts. Bobby promised him with national prominence appointments if elected & our whole family was grateful when he offered to speak in Ventura.
That day I will never forget. I was all of 7 years old, but remember thinking this guy (RFK) was bigger and better than Senator Tunney's visit to our home and bouncing me on his lap! I was watching Dad standing next to Bobby Kennedy as I tangled my legs off the platform truck overlooking a sea of people that filled the entire Broadway Shopping Center parking lot. I remember Johnny Strobel and Dad laughing and hugging Bobby after his speech. I never seen Dad smile so much..or laugh. I mean, Dad would come home (Ventura) on weekends (if lucky) and would give me the belt because I was spoiled (last kid of six) and wouldn't eat Mom's canned string beans. That day is ingrained to me because I knew Dad loved Bobby because he never seemed too happy around me!
When Dad lifted me up to see eye to eye what this lovefest was about Bobby looked at me and said, "Are you having fun son? Because I sure love being here!"...Without hesitation, I said, "I think my Dad loves you more than Senator Tunney."
Which Strobel laughed and his great voice said, "We all love you Mr. Kennedy...just look out there...no one is leaving."
And immediately John Strobel takes the microphone and begins a chant..."K-E-N-N-E-D-Y". The crowd responds in mass. Dad hugs Bobby and Bobby hugs me since I'm still in Dad's embrace. Then it hits me...I know why Dad loves this guy so much...his white shirt is wrinkled too, he must work hard and is far away from home...they probably do the same work and like working together.
I knew he wasn't Dad's boss because Dad and Bobby were standing now looking down from the platform truck bed arm in arm. I knew Dad was treating him like family and I would be seeing him alot in the future. That day was 05/28/68. RFK died 06/06/68 on Wilshire Blvd (Ambassador Hotel).
There is a picture of Dad in the Star-Free-Press showing him at RFK's campaign headquarters (Dad was county campaign manager) with his hands covering his face in agony upon hearing what happened in LA.
Like the whole nation,he was shocked, couldn't eat or sleep...so his campaign buddies decided to get him out of bed and outside to play basketball. It was after all, "Gentle Ben's" birthday. At the outdoor courts of Ventura High, Dad collapsed midcourt and died of a heart attack. He was exactly 38 years old.
As I became an adult, I'm amazed at the love and guidance Dad received throughout life and politics. People like the Arnolds, Strobel's, Finches, Tafayas, Martins, Marras, Williams, Rev. Wilkes and wife Thelma who told me stories of my father as she supported me and my brother and sisters while we all attended UCSB while Thelma was its Director of Financial Aid. Hell, Keith (Jamal) Wilkes may be a Hall of Famer for the Lakers but Thelma Wilkes will always be the MVP in the Martinez family.
Everyone is important to me and have a story to tell...so I treat everyone the same. I love representing immigrants and would do it for free and often do. But I also love the people of Ventura...true locos...I mean, locals.
I understand why Dad would work everyday in LA without break or vacation for years as long as his family remained home in Ventura. It is home to the MVP's.
San Buenaventura por siempre

rwm




Oct 05, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Buenaventura mall NEW
by: Anonymous

I was facing them..Seanator Kennedy, Ethel, wearing a white dress..he look so young and full of life...
Driving to school, when they announced he died..I was driving on foothill......so sad I screamed...

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ventura History.