Thursday, March 17, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
The Early Years of the Peace Corps

In commemoration of the agency’s 50th anniversary, the National Archives will present a discussion on the creation and early history the agency. Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-70-will moderate. Panelists include Bill Moyers, former U.S. Ambassador Jack Hood Vaughn; and Senator Harris Wofford-all of whom held leadership roles during the agency’s early years. Aaron Williams will introduce the panel.

During the month of March, 2011, The National Archives Experience will also exhibit Executive Order 10924 by President Kennedy.

This program is a joint project of the Peace Corps and the National Archives and Records Administration, with promotional support by the Foundation for the National Archives.

For more information, go to

I’m told that there will also be a panel discussion at the Peace Corps office during the day with Bill Josephson, C. Payne, Mary Ann Orlando and Charlie Peters.

There are really four key people in the development of the agency. Mary Ann was the only person that Shriver brought with him from Chicago. She was, as they were called in that day, an executive secretary, and now would be an administrative assistant. But Mary Ann was much more than that with Shriver’s office. If you couldn’t get by her, forgetaboutit! you couldn’t see Sarge.

Josephson, as chief counsel, was also a ‘gatekeeper.’ Shriver sent everything to Josephson to be ‘cleared’ before it became policy or law or anything at all. And if Josephson didn’t like you,(and there were many, many people he didn’t like) he would eat you alive.

Charlie Peters was (and is) one of my heroes and after all these years you wanted to pick a person who ‘make a difference’ in the success of the Peace Corps, I would pick Charlie.

C. Payne Lucas (CD in Niger and Peace Corps/Washington, (authored with Kevin Lowther (Sierra Leone & PC/HQ1963-68) Keeping Kennedy’s Promise: The Peace Corps Unmet Hope of the New Frontier,) was an early CD in Africa and then returned to HQ. Later C. Payne founded Africare. Lucas and Lowther wrote in their 1978 book that the Peace Corps was developed too rapidly, that the whole ‘idea’ of developing the agency quick and big was a BIG mistake by Shriver. But the Peace Corps has a big tent, as the Republicans like to say, and after all of these years there is still room for C. Payne and Kevin. Kevin is actually a good friend.