American social and political activism is at a particularly important juncture at this point in history. For this reason, the AARS community would do well to recall some of its moments of tragedy and triumph in its past in considering how best to act next in the conflict-ridden world we must now all confront.
The history of activism concerning racial justice and its historical link to the anti-imperialist struggle around the world deserve particular attention in this regard. In addition, there were what might be called particular “punctuation” moments in that history that deserve to be remembered for what they encapsulated in their meaning both for the history of individual Rhodes Scholars themselves and for the history of the larger anti-imperialist and anti-racist narratives in which they played important roles.
In this regard, the members of the Rhodes Class of 1968 experienced a stunning sequence of events in their “Senior Years” – in both “high school” and in “college” prior to coming up to Oxford as Rhodes Scholars. Though they had never met one another in those “prior years” the events they endured as part of their collective experience in America shaped their outlook and trajectory through their Rhodes Scholar years and ever since.
It is worth remembering that during their “Senior Year” in high school – well before they ever dreamt of the Rhodes experience — members of what was to become the Rhodes ’68 class from America collectively experienced the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963. Four years later, as they were concluding their “Senior Year” in their respective American colleges, (and they had been selected as Rhodes Scholars), they were all to witness the assassinations of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.