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Fri Jul 17, 2020, 10:19 AM

Paul Fusco, photographer on RFK's Funeral Train, passes away

Mr. Fusco passed away on July 15, 2020. It was Fusco who took the poignant photographs of mourners who waited for Robert F. Kennedy's funeral train to pass on its journey from New York City to Washington, D.C. (Arlington Cemetery).

The Guardian: Gallery of Pictures from Robert F. Kennedy's Funeral Train

CBS This Morning: RFK's Final Journey

In a period of just five years -- from 1963 to 1968 -- President John F. Kennedy, his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were all assassinated. At the news of President Kennedy's assassination, my grade school was dismissed. My sister and I held hands and ran all the way home. For the first and last time ever, we witnessed people -- men and women -- openly sobbing in the street.

Abraham, Martin and John song (by Dion)

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Reply Paul Fusco, photographer on RFK's Funeral Train, passes away (Original post)
Larissa Jul 2020 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Jul 2020 #1

Response to Larissa (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2020, 11:15 AM

1. Robert F. Kennedy's Funeral Train, June 8, 1968

Fri Jun 7, 2019: Robert F. Kennedy's Funeral Train, June 8, 1968

Also along route of Robert Kennedy’s funeral train, tomorrow 1968:

Wed Apr 4, 2018: Robert F. Kennedy's Funeral Train, Fifty Years Later

Hat tip, Trainorders: Nostalgia & History > Photo Essay on RFK Funeral Train

Robert F. Kennedy’s Funeral Train, Fifty Years Later

By Louis Menand April 3, 2018

The Train: RFK’s Last Journey” is an ingenious and, in a surprising way, affecting exhibition that opened last month at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Although the train in question is the one that, almost fifty years ago, carried Robert Kennedy’s body from New York City to Washington, D.C., for burial in Arlington Cemetery, the show is not about Kennedy. The show is about death—or, more exactly, about the relationship between photography and death. .... Robert Kennedy is now dead. He was shot in the head at 12:15 a.m., on June 5, 1968, in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, in Los Angeles, moments after declaring victory in the California Democratic primary. He had been campaigning for President for not even three months. He never regained consciousness and died the following day. His body was flown to New York City, where, on June 8th, a funeral was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Immediately afterward, the casket was put on a train to Washington.

The heart of the sfmoma show is a set of twenty-one photographs taken from aboard that train by a photographer named Paul Fusco. It was a last-minute assignment from Look, where Fusco was a staff photographer, and he assumed that his main task would be in Arlington, where Kennedy was to be buried next to his brother John. But when the train emerged from the Hudson River tunnel, Fusco was amazed to see people lining the tracks. He found a spot at an open window, and, for the eight hours it took the train to get to Washington, he shot picture after picture of the crowds who came out to witness Kennedy’s body being carried to its grave.

“Untitled,” from the series “RFK Funeral Train,” 1968. Photograph by Paul Fusco / Magnum / Courtesy Danziger Gallery

Those pictures eventually became some the most famous works of photojournalism from what was a golden age, the era of the big mass-circulation picture magazines: Life, Look, The Saturday Evening Post, Paris Match, and Stern. Fusco carried three cameras with him on the train: two Leica rangefinder cameras and a Nikon S.L.R. For almost all of the shots, he used Kodachrome film, and he took around a thousand pictures. By the end of the journey, as dusk fell, his exposure times were up to one second.

Trains in the Northeast corridor do not run through upscale neighborhoods. The people who spontaneously turned out to watch the funeral train pass by—Kennedy’s biographer Evan Thomas says there were a million—were, by appearance, mostly working class, and there were whites and African-Americans often standing in clusters together. In 2018, looking back at those images, as the train approaches the terminal and the light begins to fade, you realize that you are watching the final hours of the great Democratic coalition that had dominated American politics since the election of Franklin Roosevelt, in 1932—the coalition that would fracture six months later with the election of Richard Nixon, and which is now as dead as Robert Kennedy.

“Untitled,” from the series “RFK Funeral Train,” 1968.Photograph by Paul Fusco / Magnum / Courtesy Danziger Gallery

The pictures won't link correctly from the article in The New Yorker. I took these images from an article in the New York Times:

One more article:

R.F.K., R.I.P., Revisited


PROCESSION: After Kennedy’s funeral in New York the morning of June 8, 1968, his body was transported to Washington. Mourners, about a million by some estimates, lined the tracks, and the trip, usually about four hours, took twice that long. Credit Paul Fusco

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