Here's an excerpt from the 1960 audiotape of Martin Luther King Jr. discussing the Kennedys' role in his release from Georgia State Prison.
"Many forces worked together to bring about my release. I don't think that any one force brought it about, but you had a plurality of forces working together. I'm sure that the interest of the public in general, all over America, had a great deal to do with it.
Now it is true that Sen. Kennedy did take a specific step. He was in contact with officials in Georgia during my arrest and he called my wife; made a personal call and expressed his concern and said to her that he was working and trying to do something to make my release possible.
His brother, who at that time was his campaign manager, also made direct contact with officials and even the judge in Georgia.
The Kennedy family did have some part; at least they expressed a concern, and they did have some part in the release. But I must make it clear that many other forces worked to bring it about also."