Scripps Legacy: Paul Fusco photographed the Robert Kennedy Funeral Train
About this series: The Scripps College of Communication is recognizing prominent Scripps College of Communication alumni. Look for a new entry each day, June 6-10.
Scripps College of Communication Legacy Week highlights people who showcase Scripps’ impact on history, culture and journalism.
So for this week, #ScrippsLegacyWeek has celebrated athlete-turned-TV anchor Jericka Duncan, D-Day reporter John R. Wilhelm was the founding dean of Ohio University’s College of Communication, and music producer Ken Ehrlich.
Our next legacy leader is alumnus Paul Fusco, who photographed the Robert F. Kennedy funeral train from New York to Washington, DC, on June 8, 1968.
In 1968, presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles after winning the June 5 California primary. After a funeral mass in New York, mourners lined the train track to view the funeral train from New York to Washington, DC. The journey, on June 8, took eight hours followed by burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Fusco, a photographer for LOOK Magazine, documented this somber trip from inside the 21-car train. He recalled to Publishers Weekly in 2008: “. . . when the train emerged from beneath the Hudson, and I saw hundreds of people on the platform watching the train come slowly through — it went very slowly — I just opened the window and began to shoot.”
TIME magazine (2018) explained how Fusco’s poignant images emerged over decades.
Fusco graduated in 1957 from Ohio University with a fine arts degree in photography; he had photo experience in the US Army Signal Corps in Korea.
He returned to Ohio University in April of 2012 as a presenter at the Schuneman Symposium on Photojournalism and New Media. His topic: The Robert Kennedy Story and Photographs.
Fusco died on July 15, 2020, at the age of 90.