Americans for Democratic Action Roosevelt Day Dinner

Robert F. Kennedy, August 19, 1964.

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Theme of the evening: Human resources in an abundant society."

Politicians honor outgoing Mayor Robert F. Wagner who receives the A.D.A.'s annual award. Senator Robert F. Kennedy gives the keynote address at approximately 51:00 into the tape. He pays tribute to the policies and programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt and living up to them with future action. After listening to this speech you can see why he ran for President.

Begins with room noise and chatter. Mayor Lindsay introduces head table, welcomes guests. Howard J. Samuels, dinner co-chairman, talks about the role of the ADA and the US in foreign relations, the role the US could play in educating disadvantaged youth. A society that will struggle to put a man on the moon without first tapping its own human resources is not a just society. A society that will fight communism abroad without adequately fighting ignorance at home is not a wise society. Emily Scheuer introduces some international invitees, introduces Bentley Kassal. Kassal, New York ADA chapter chairman, welcomes students in the audience. Don Edwards applauds Lindsay's work in civil rights, presents Mayor Wagner with a citation from the ADA. Wagner thanks the ADA, recalls its history, discusses his own work as Mayor, specifically in education, social services, and unions. Don Edwards returns to the stage and tells a story of his son by way of introducing Senator Kennedy.

Kennedy: Congratulates Wagner, says New Yorkers will likely miss him now. A few other personal comments. Says he's sorry Lindsay had to leave (a bit of laughter from the audience). Makes a few jokes at Lindsay's expense. Talks about Roosevelt's legacy (social services). What is required of us? We must work for our own revolution. References jobs for minorities. Money is less important than a determination that all children must learn to the limit of their capacity. Welfare has destroyed self respect and encouraged family disintegration. Will we act on the level necessary to prevent mass starvation? A total effort to achieve a treaty to prevent spread of nuclear weapons? Will we be ready to associate ourselves with revolutionary forces in South America, Asia, and Africa? Capacity for patience and strength to save the world? They will need the spirit of FDR to move forward. (It's a great speech.)

Don Edwards (?) reads a cable from VP Humphrey.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70709
Municipal archives id: T1839