Paul Fusco – RFK Funeral Train

Untitled, From RFK Funeral Train, 1968 by Paul Fusco

At a time when politicians have to wear stupid American flag pins on their lapels in order to give evidence of their rampant patriotism, it’s refreshing to see these photographs by Paul Fusco.

The photographs project a deep sense of awe at what was happening and an air of patriotism that is both understandable and actually quite beautiful.

Untitled, From RFK Funeral Train, 1968 by Paul Fusco

Luckily this June at Danziger Projects, we will get the opportunity to see an exhibition titled RFK Funeral Train – Rediscovered consisting of Paul Fusco’s photographs including many images never seen before.

In August, Aperture will release a new and expanded book of the same work, title Paul Fusco: RFK. I really can’t wait as I missed out on the earlier edition published in 2001.

From the exhibition press release:

On June 5th, 1968, less than three months after the murder of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles as he was campaigning for the Presidential nomination. His death shook the country to its core. To Paul Fusco and millions of other Americans it seemed to represent the end of hope.

Kennedy’s body was subsequently flown to New York City for a memorial service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then carried by train from New York to Washington D.C. for burial at Arlington. That final journey took place on June 8th – a swelteringly hot early summer day. On board the train was the Magnum photographer Paul Fusco, then a young photographer on assignment for LOOK Magazine. As the train made its progress down the eastern seaboard, hundreds of thousands of mourners came out to line the railway tracks and pay their final respects to Bobby Kennedy and all he stood for.

From inside the train, Fusco began to take pictures of the mourners – people from every section of society – black, white, rich, poor, in large groups and on their own. By Fusco’s own calculation, he took approximately 2,000 pictures in the eight hours it took for the train to make the usually four-hour journey.

Untitled, From RFK Funeral Train, 1968 by Paul Fusco

The exhibition opens on June 6, 2008.

5 Responses to “Paul Fusco – RFK Funeral Train”

  1. H. ENGELHART Says:

    W.O.W. (withoutwords)

  2. Tom Rush Says:

    Outstanding, even though I was a child at the time, these photos bring back the “loss of hope”.

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