RFK in EKY The Robert F. Kennedy Performance Project: Recreating Robert Kennedy's two-day, 200 mile
RFK in EKY: The Project
About the Project Tour Sites: 1968 & 2004 The 2004 Performance Artists and Community RFK in EKY's Ongoing Work
The Performance Schedule: September 8 - 11, 2004 // The 2004 Performance
Performance Broadsheet · Performance Schedule · Styling for RFK in EKY · Transcripts & Pictures

Day One, Wednesday, September 8, 2004

On February 13, 1968, RFK began his EKY tour, arriving at Bluegrass Airport. After a welcome from Representative Carl D. Perkins, Kennedy makes brief remarks, and they begin the eighty-some mile drive to Vortex.

RFK in EKY begins its tour with Peter Edelman – sharing an overview of Robert Kennedy and what he hoped to accomplish by returning the nation’s focus to the war on poverty.

September 8, 3:00pm · University of Kentucky Main Student Center, Rooms 113 and 115

Orientation for Journalists, Acting Journalists, and Entourage Actors (Appalachian Volunteers, Vistas, Aides, Etc.)

September 8, 7:30pm · University of Kentucky Student Center Annex, Room 230

An Evening with Peter Edelman: "Searching for America 's Heart: RFK and the Renewal of Hope"
Reception to follow
Sponsored by the Appalachian Studies Program, the College of Education, the departments of Sociology and Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, the Appalachian Center, and RFK in EKY.

Day Two, Thursday, September 9, 2004

The first day of the reenactment begins with a community breakfast and the chance for audience members to fix their hair and put on some retro clothing - creating the look and getting into the spirit of 1968.

September 9, 9:00am · Wolfe County Senior Citizens Center, Campton, KY

Pancake Breakfast and Styling Party

Kennedy's first stop was the one-room school in Vortex, where he conducted a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment, Manpower and Poverty. The school then had five students - all members of the same family.

The school was torn down some years ago, so the reenacted hearing will take place next door in the community church.

September 9, 11:00am · Vortex Community Church, Vortex, KY

Reenactment: Hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment, Manpower and Poverty

Kennedy's next stop was at a one-room school in Barwick. Rather than a speech, Kennedy moved from desk to desk, speaking to each child individually, creating a private moment. Rather than recreate these intimate moments, RFK in EKY has chosen to use the space for a public conversation.

Thanks to the Akemon family, the Barwick School still exists. It has been used as a community center and library over the years.

September 9, 12:30pm · Barwick School, Barwick, KY

Peter Edelman, teacher Bonnie Jean Carroll, and Zona Akemon discuss hunger, poverty, and the Barwick School, circa 1968

Arriving in Hazard, Kennedy is brought to Liberty Street by Mayor Willie Dawahare, who talks about the need for housing aid. Liberty Street was, at the time, Hazard's primary African American neighborhood. Kennedy walked the length of the street, and visited the Olinger home.

Shortly thereafter, Kennedy is interviewed by local television personality, and current mayor, Bill Gorman.

RFK in EKY expands on the historic moment, here, with an exhibit of photographs and a discussion of Liberty Street history with the Olinger daughters.

September 9, 3:00pm · Hazard, KY

Liberty Street, Hazard
- RFK walking tour; exhibition and discussion at the Liberty Street Community Center
City Hall, Main Street, Hazard
- Bill Gorman will speak on Kennedy's visit and job creation

While traveling to Alice Lloyd College , Kennedy is convinced by members of the Appalachian Volunteers to view a strip mine site. Mine owner Bill Sturgill denies access to Kennedy's caravan, but Kennedy and Perkins get into a State Police vehicle and head up, followed by reporters. There are contradictory stories of what happened next . . .

September 9, 4:30pm · Strip Mine Site, Knott County, KY

Former Appalachian Volunteer Steve Cawood discusses Kennedy's tour of the Yellow Creek Mine

At the invitation of Professor Lawrence Baldridge, Kennedy comes to Alice Lloyd College, near Representative Perkins' hometown of Hindman. In Cushing Hall, Kennedy speaks to the student body and answers their questions on leadership, education, the war in Viet Nam , and economic development.

Cushing Hall is uninhabitable at present - the college is planning for its renovation. Kennedy's speech will take place in the McGaw Hall Library and Learning Center across the street.

September 9, 5:30pm · Alice Lloyd College, Pippa Passes, KY


September 9, 7:00pm · Ralph Edwards Auditorium, Alice Lloyd College, Pippa Passes, KY

RFK addresses student body

September 9, 8:00pm · Ralph Edwards Auditorium, Alice Lloyd College, Pippa Passes, KY

Peter Edelman, Dee Davis of the center for Rural Strategies, and audience discuss current issues raised in the RFK tour recreation

Day Three, Friday, September 10, 2004

Begin the day's recreation with a pancake breakfast and the opportunity to style hair and dress in the 60's style. Then join the crowd as they welcome Kennedy at the courthouse steps.

September 10, 9:00am · Appalshop, 91 Madison Ave, Whitesburg, KY

Pancake Breakfast and Styling Party

September 10, 10:00am · Letcher County Courthouse, Whitesburg, KY

RFK speech

The Fleming-Neon hearing was the centerpiece of Kennedy's visit. The planned testimony brought together noted mountain activists like Harry Caudill, social workers, and unemployed mine workers. The audience included groups protesting a planned dam at Kingdom Come and poor quality schools. Members of the audience volunteered to speak.

The old gym no longer exists, so the hearing will be held in the new Fleming-Neon gym. Students from the school will join the audience.

September 10, 11:00am · Fleming-Neon, KY

Fleming-Neon High School Gym, Neon, KY
- Hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment, Manpower and Poverty
Fleming Head Start, Fleming, KY
- RFK visits and reads story to Head Start class
Home visit in Haymond, TBA

Kennedy's last stop of the day was at the Prestonsburg Fiscal Court House, where he and Carl D. Perkins gave short speeches. The story is that local officials were concerned there wouldn't be a good crowd for Kennedy, so they brought the prisoners down from the jail to fill up the room.

Kennedy's speech was taped and photographed by a young student from Prestonsburg Community College, Ronnie Dee Blair.

September 10, 4:30pm · Floyd County Fiscal Court, Prestonsburg, KY

- Ronnie Dee Blair shares the tape and his story of Kennedy's speech
- Loyal Jones, historian and author, and Tom Kiffmeyer, professor at Morehead University, discuss Kennedy's Appalachian legacy, the war on poverty, and issues raised by the recreation

Day Four, Saturday, September 11, 2004

The Neon Days Festival is part county fair, part heritage and music showcase, and part midway. RFK in EKY will have both a booth where memorabilia from the performance project will be available, and visitors can have their photo made with Robert Kennedy and Carl D. Perkins.

September 11, All Day · Neon Days Festival, Neon, KY

Exhibition: RFK Memorabilia, Artifacts, and Commemoration
Curated by Harrell Fletcher, John Malpede and RFK in EKY staff

September 11, 1:00pm · Neon Days Festival, Neon, KY

Discussion with eastern Kentucky (LKLP) Headstart beneficiaries, teachers, and program directors on their history and the legacy of the "Maximum Feasible Participation of the Poor" programs

September 11, 3:30pm · Neon Days Festival, Neon, KY

Memory and Mirrors to History - Artist Talk
with John Malpede, Harrell Fletcher, RFK in EKY cast and staff