In the first of a week-long series to celebrate International Podcast Month, the Hisdoryan blog is proud to play host to several wonderful female-led independent history podcasts who are members of the History Girls Community on Instagram. First up, we have Leah and Rachel from the Hashtag History podcast – Series 5 of this great podcast starts today!
Hi! I am Rachel, one of the co-host of the Hashtag History podcast! Alongside my co-host, Leah, we release weekly episodes about History’s greatest stories of controversy, conspiracy, and corruption. Our favourite topics to cover are dark History that contain lots of mystery and scandal! And we do all of this while drinking a cocktail themed to that week’s topic.
The Hashtag History podcast began in July 2019 as a passion project of two best friends with a lot of heart and determination to deliver History in bite-size, compact, and relatable packages. One thing we really strive for with the Hashtag History podcast is to reach an audience that wouldn’t consider themselves to be History nerds. Our ultimate goal is to engage and interest an audience that previously was never interested in History. We are big believers that History is for everybody and that there is something for everybody to love about it!
A perfect example of who we are and the types of topics we cover on the podcast can be found in Episode Eighteen: The RFK Assassination. We love to cover topics either no one has ever heard of before or to cover topics that everyone has heard of before but that they don’t actually know much about.
Many people know that Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. But his assassination is largely overlooked by the assassination of his much more infamous brother, the late President John F. Kennedy. This is why we felt it was important to cover this topic. In Episode Eighteen: The RFK Assassination, we take a deep dive into Robert Kennedy’s upbringing, political career, and his eventual death.
Bobby (as he was called), immediately fell under the political pressure of his family while growing up. Sadly, Bobby was considered to be the “runt” of the family by his father who didn’t like Bobby’s sweet demeanour, his gentleness, and his generosity for others. His father felt that all of those things made him too soft. He constantly strove to impress his parents though.
In one particular attempt to impress his parents, Bobby told them that he had taken up a newspaper route as a kid. His parents were super impressed with him taking the initiative and being so hard-working…that is until they found out that it was the family chauffeur that was actually driving Bobby around in a Rolls-Royce from house to house as he made his newspaper deliveries.
Although Bobby and his brother, John F. Kennedy, were not close as kids (which isn’t too unusual since they were eight years apart in age), they became closer as JFK began his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Bobby successfully ran John’s Senate campaigns and, later, his campaign for the presidency. Once JFK became president in 1960, he made his baby brother Attorney General.
As we all know, JFK was tragically assassinated in 1963. Following his brother’s death, Bobby would become a Senator. But attention was quickly thrust upon him to begin his own campaign for the presidency. And so he did.
On June 4, 1968, Bobby won the California presidential primary elections. At 12:10 AM on June 5th, 1968, he was speaking with supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in the Embassy Room ballroom in Los Angeles. There were reporters at another location in the hotel so Bobby and his staff decided to go meet with them to do a press conference following his victory in the California polls. A manager of the hotel took Bobby through the kitchen area of the hotel.
There, Bobby met a busboy by the name of Juan Romero. It was as he was shaking hands with Romero that another man by the name of Sirhan Sirhan appeared, rushing towards Bobby, firing eight times and hitting him three of those times with a .22 Long Rifle caliber Iver Johnson Cadet 55-A revolver.
Bobby had a bodyguard and former FBI agent there that quickly rushed Sirhan and got the gun from him. Bobby slipped to the floor where the busboy he had just met, Romero, can be seen kneeling beside him and comforting him immediately after the shooting. Romero later reported that Bobby asked him immediately following the incident as he was laying on the floor, “Is everybody okay?” Romero told him, “Yes, everybody’s okay.” To which Bobby replied, “Everything’s going to be okay” and then relaxed. There had been a total of eight shots fired. Bobby had been hit in the head once and twice in the upper body. Robert Kennedy would die the following day on June 5, 1968.
Conspiracy theories immediately began to take root. There were many that believed, similar to his brother’s 1963 assassination, that it could not have been a lone shooter. These theories are based on the trajectory and proximity of the shots, eyewitness accounts, and even audio recordings revealing what appears to be a discrepancy in the number of shots heard versus the number of bullets later found
Sirhan himself has created quite a bit of confusion himself in interviews since the assassination. He denied involvement in Kennedy’s death in a very confusing and vague way. I encourage you all to check out the link here to one of his interviews and see if you can make sense of it: https://youtu.be/NHgSZ_SaL5U. Regardless, Sirhan was convicted of murder on April 17, 1969. He was sentenced to death but that sentence was later commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
This is just one of the many fascinating topics we have covered on the podcast. We encourage readers to go check out some of our other episodes which include topics such as Chappaquiddick, the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Black Plague, the Salem Witch Trials, and even the History of Disneyland (because, yes; there is even some controversy and corruption surrounding that!).
We have truly had the best time ever putting this podcast together and connecting with other History lovers throughout the world. We look forward to putting out more content (because, trust us; we are never in short supply of Historical controversies!) and to continue to build and foster friendships with this incredible History podcast community.