A small Peace Corps connection in the life of Tom Hayden who passed away on Sunday at age 76

Tom Hayden, who played a key role in student activism of the ’60s and went on to play a role in higher education as a California legislator in the ’80s, died Sunday at the age of 76.

While Hayden was one of the founders of Students for a Democratic Society, and was the chief author of the Port Huron Statement, which defined the goals of SDS and other activist groups of the ’60s to create a more just society in the United States. (and also known as one of Jane Fonda’s husbands), he also played a role in launching the Peace Corps. Harris Wofford points out in his book, Of Kennedys and Kings how Tom Hayden, editor of the Michigan Daily, was at the Student Union in Michigan when Kennedy spoke to the crowd of students and Wofford writes: “(Hayden) followed the development of the student organization with amazement. It had been an era in which few young people had been politically active, and in which graduate students were particularly known for their political apathy. That year Hayden’s paper won a journalism award for its “imaginative coverage and support of the Peace Corps movement.”

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