18 Chapters
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3 The Governor

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

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The Governor

Politics has always played an important role in Indiana. For a century the state furnished candidates for national office for an assortment of American political parties. From 1840, when the Whig William Henry Harrison captured the White House with his “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” campaign, to 1940, when Wendell Willkie won the Republican presidential nomination and challenged incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his try for a third term in office, Hoosiers were on some party’s national ticket in approximately 60 percent of the elections. By the 1880s Indiana had become such a pivotal state in securing political success for presidential candidates that the Democratic and Republican parties did everything they could, including buying votes, to win the state’s allegiance for their candidates. Loyal party workers in the nineteenth state were proud to say they had risked going to jail in pursuit of their cause. Politics became so ingrained in the state’s character that the noted humorist and journalist George Ade once joked—playing off General William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous quote—that the first words of every Hoosier child upon birth were “If nominated I will run, if elected I will serve.”1

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8 LBJ and Adlai

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

DURING HIS SERVICE AS U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE DOMINICAN Republic, John Bartlow Martin had shunned the usual trappings of power that came with his high diplomatic post and had concentrated instead on his work. Martin had some trouble, however, transitioning from public office to private life and admitted that he missed “some of the perquisites of power.” Instead of being driven to his office in a chauffeured limousine, he had to endure Chicago-area winters with other commuters, and there were no U.S. Marine Corps guards on duty to snap to attention when he arrived every day at his office. Martin now faced the ultimate question: What would he do with the rest of his life? Martin could write – it was, as he said, “all I knew how to do” – but he could not return to his old freelance trade, producing heavy-fact stories for magazines, as the industry had fallen on hard times as television began to draw away its advertisers. His interests had also shifted away from writing about crime and its effect on society to such issues as national politics and foreign policy. “One doesn’t go back,” he noted.1

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7 The Train

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

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The Train

The call came to the home of Anthony M. Boysa, a fireman for the Penn Central Railroad, at eight o’clock the morning of Friday, June 8, 1968, from a crew dispatcher in Newark, New Jersey. Boysa had been assigned to a twenty-one-car train pulled by two black electric locomotives scheduled to leave New York on Saturday from Pennsylvania Station for a 226-mile journey to Union Station in Washington, D.C. “They told us when they called us up to dress special—but I didn’t stay clean long,” Boysa said. “When you walk through the aisles in the engine, you brush past all the motor casings.” He remembered that the train’s engineer came to work that day in a suit with a white shirt and tie. “That was unusual,” said Boysa. Supervisors and laborers worked most of the day Friday at the Sunnyside Yards loading the train with provisions for its trip, including steaks, hamburgers, and cheesecake. The train, with an observation car at the rear draped in black bunting, finally left Pennsylvania Station at 1:02 PM Saturday. Onboard were nearly a thousand people—the family and friends of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who had died two days earlier, another victim that violent year of an assassin’s bullets.1

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9 The Return of the Native

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

IN THE 1960S THE MAROTT HOTEL, LOCATED ON THE NEAR north side of Indianapolis at 2625 North Meridian Street, had faded from its original glory days of the 1920s and 1930s, when it had hosted key political and social events for the community and welcomed such famous guests as Winston Churchill, Clark Gable, and Herbert Hoover. On the evening of April 4, 1968, however, the hotel hummed once again with activity as staffers for U.S. senator Robert F. Kennedy strolled up and down its hallways. They were staying there after the end of a long first day in Kennedy’s quest to win Indiana’s Democratic presidential primary. Kennedy’s senate speechwriters Adam Walinsky and Jeff Greenfield, along with a new member of the team, John Bartlow Martin, were busy discussing the details of a foreign policy speech their candidate was slated to deliver later at Louisiana State University when they were interrupted by a secretary, who told them that civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot in Memphis, Tennessee. Later, while at dinner, they heard that King had died.1

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7 The Honorable Ambassador

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

NAMED FOR THE COUNT OF PEÑALVA, EL CONDE STREET IN Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is a cobblestone pedestrian road that stretches from the Parque Colón to the Parque Independencia. On the morning of March 8, 1962, young demonstrators, angry that two alleged enemies of the people had been allowed refuge on American soil, ranged up and down this popular shopping district, smashing windows, wrecking storefronts, and looting merchandise. Spying a car belonging to the new U.S. ambassador, whose driver had gone to a Spanish tailor’s shop to pick up a white linen suit for the diplomat to wear when he officially presented his credentials the following day at the National Palace, the mob pulled the driver from his seat, then smashed and burned the automobile. They went on to torch two other vehicles belonging to the U.S. government and attacked the school the ambassador’s two sons attended. The boys watched from their upstairs classroom window as the demonstrators, brandishing chains and manhole covers, tore down the American flag and wrecked the school’s first floor before finally being driven away by two truckloads of Dominican soldiers armed with machine guns. Realizing the danger, adults at the school quickly hustled the boys away from the scene, and they escaped unscathed.1

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