Archive - March 24, 2009

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Establishing The Peace Corps: A Proposal For The President, Post 10
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RPCV Charles Larson Gives His African Literature Collection to U of Texas
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Establishing The Peace Corps: A Towering Task, Post 9

Establishing The Peace Corps: A Proposal For The President, Post 10

Shriver introduced Wiggins and Josephson at the February 6th meeting and distributed copies of “A Towering Task.” From this point on, Wiggins and Josephson became the engine room of the Peace Corps. Shriver describes Wiggins as “the figure most responsible” for the planning and organization that brought the Peace Corps into being.      Twice more in February Kennedy telephoned Shriver to ask about progress on the Peace Corps. The final draft of the report was done with Charles Nelson sitting in one room writing basic copy, Josephson sitting in another room rewriting it, Wofford sitting in yet another room doing the final rewrite, and Wiggins running back and forth carrying pieces of paper. Shriver then made the final edits. On the morning of Friday, February 24, 1961, Shriver delivered to Kennedy what was, in effect, the Peace Corps Magna Carta. He told Kennedy: “If you decide to go ahead, we can . . .

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RPCV Charles Larson Gives His African Literature Collection to U of Texas

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired Charles Larson’s (Nigeria 1962-64) collection of African, African-American and Native-American literature.  Larson, a professor at American University, is well known as an authority on African and Third World writers.      This collection includes signed and inscribed books, rare publications and unique manuscripts and letters. There are more than 1,100 books by African writers, 250 books by African-American and Caribbean writers, and 60 books by Native-American writers.      “I began reading African writers in 1962 when I was a Peace Corps volunteer,” said Larson.  “It was immediately apparent to me that a rich and exciting literature was emerging across the continent.  My interests expanded when I returned to the United States and discovered similarly important (though sadly overlooked) writing by African-American and American Indian writers.  I feel as if I’ve been in a privileged position to . . .

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Establishing The Peace Corps: A Towering Task, Post 9

The day after the inauguration, Kennedy telephoned Shriver and asked him to form a presidential Task Force “to report how the Peace Corps should be organized and then to organize it.” When he heard from Kennedy, Shriver immediately called Harris Wofford.      At the time, Shriver was 44; Wofford was 34. They had become good friends during the campaign. Wofford had worked as Kennedy’s adviser on civil rights, and together they had worked on the talent hunt for staffing for the new administration.      Initially, the Task Force consisted solely of Shriver and Wofford, sitting in a suite they had rented at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Most of their time was spent making calls to personal friends they thought might be helpful. One name led to another: Gordon Boyce, president of the Experiment in International Living; Albert Sims of the Institute of International Education; Adam Yarmolinsky, a foundation executive; Father Theodore . . .

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