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Peace Corps

The Peace Corps was established by President John Kennedy on a trial basis in March 1961 with Sargent Shriver named director. In August, the first group of 51 volunteers went to Ghana. That fall, Congress passed legislation for the Peace Corps with a mandate to “promote world peace and friendship.” While Dr. King saw the Peace Corps as a step in the right direction toward a more compassionate American foreign policy, he cautioned in his sermon On Being a Good Neighbor: “The Peace Corps will fail if it seeks to do something for the underprivileged peoples of the world; it will succeed if it seeks creatively to do something with them. It will fail as a negative gesture to defeat Communism; it will succeed only as a positive effort to wipe poverty, ignorance, and disease from the earth.” Since 1961, more than 200,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in 139 countries.

Associated Archive Content : 23 results

Anonymous Letter to MLK

An unknown author questions Dr. King about his leadership and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. He references various racial, political, and social events, and stresses that Dr. King is responsible for all the riots, violence and looting.

Christianity and Crisis: April 3, 1967

Roger L. Shinn wrote this article for Christianity and Crisis: A Christian Journal of Opinion. Shinn defines a "conscientious objector" as one who believes a war morally unjustifiable, and chooses, therefore, not to serve in it. Several Christian organizations attempted to introduce legislation banning forced participation. The American Civil Liberties Union has encouraged the selective service system to recognize a policy "under which no person shall be compelled to participate in armed conflict when he believes it to be in violation of his conscience."

Draft Proposal for Southern Regional Community Services Council

As a draft proposal for the non-profit Southern Regional Community Services Council, this document outlines the purpose and intended methodologies of the organization. The Council's mission is to train local leaders to help the unemployed and poor find jobs. Local leaders would include representation from churches, colleges, farm groups, professionals, and small businesses. Other goals are to increase living standards and cycle income back into businesses that focus on community savings and development.

Letter from Andre Katz to MLK

Andrea Katz, editor of Quadrangle Books, informs Dr. King about a book titled, "Where to, Black Man?" It is a diary of an African American man, Ed Smith, who traveled to Africa to reaffirm his American identity.

Letter from Annie Emehel to Dr. King

In this letter, Mrs. Annie Emehel wishes Dr. King success, in his upcoming trip to Nigeria. Dr. King was going to Nigeria to try to help the government and Biafra find a solution to their disagreements. Mrs. Emehel states that she has confidence that Dr. King will be able to help both sides come to a resolution.

Letter from Captain Leonard Larsen to MLK

Captain Leonard Larsen writes Dr. King and attaches a copy of President John F. Kennedy's "Final Plea" regarding his sentiments about the Vietnam War. Larsen hopes to enhance and promote progress towards Dr. King's anti-war campaign.

Letter from E. Thomas Williams Jr. to MLK

On behalf of the Peace Corps Staff in Washington D. C., E. Thomas Williams, Jr. sends Dr. King a contribution to aid in the work of the SCLC. Williams also explains that many of the donors have made more than financial contributions to the civil rights movement.

Letter from Henry L. Gerner to MLK

Henry Gerner applauds Dr. King on his accomplishments and what he is doing for the Civil Rights Movement. He also invites Dr. King to speak at Bowling Green State University, a request that is echoed in a letter from Donald Stricker.

Letter from Jerome Miller to Andrew Young

Jerome Miller, a field representative for Encampment for Citizenship, writes to Andrew Young requesting a meeting and soliciting direction for selecting students to attend an upcoming event.

Letter from John Whyte to MLK

John Whyte, an eighth grader, describes his class's fundraising efforts for the SCLC.

Letter from Maurice A. Dawkins to MLK

In this letter, Mr. Dawkins informs Dr. King that the Summer Community Organization and Political Education, S.C.O.P.E., stands to benefit from the involvement of the VISTA organization.

Letter from Richard W. Boone to MLK

A letter from Richard Boone, Executive Director of Citizens Crusade Against Poverty, to Dr. King, enclosing the preliminary draft of the C.C.A.P.'s training proposal to the Ford Foundation.

Letter to the Editor regarding Harris Wofford

This letter to the editor comes to the defense of Harris Wofford, civil rights advisor to President Kennedy, who was inaccurately described in print.

Look Magazine: Can Johnson Win His Other War?

The Office of Economic Opportunity republished this spotlight on President Johnson's War on Poverty from Look Magazine in June 1967. The editors discuss the "poverty of opportunity" plaguing nearly 1 in every 6 Americans, saying that Johnson's War on Poverty makes an attempt to combat the economic conditions of America's most vulnerable, including Negro Americans. The articles also shed light on the numerous shortcomings the Johnson Administration-supported legislation has encountered amongst legislators and the American public.

MLK's Address to American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa

Drawing connections between the social injustices of two continents, Dr. King discusses the relationship between segregation in America and colonialism in Africa. Dr. King also shares his opinion about America dominating Africa politically and economically.

On Being a Good Neighbor

Dr. King tells the Biblical story of the "Good Samaritan on the Road to Jericho," in which a traveler has been robbed, beaten and left for dead. Dr. King connects this story to the Declaration of Independence and offers an analysis of the modern era. Following the example of the "Good Samaritan," he encourages looking beyond "race, religion and nationality" to help those wounded by injustices.

Public Statement at the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Dr. King speaks at a rally held for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Dr. King stresses the importance of government assistance in protecting African Americans citizens from violent actions when registering and voting during elections. In areas such as Mississippi where harassment and murders took place frequently, African Americans were in dire need of a political party that was free of racism so that they could fairly be represented in a prejudice society.

Race Role Urged For Girl Scouts

De. Harold Taylor, former president of Sarah Lawrence College, challenges the Girl Scouts of America to play a greater role in fighting racism in the South. He also suggest that the Girl Scouts work with the Peace Corps to help spread their teachings internationally.

Sen. Edward Brooke Press Release

Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts travels to Africa to discuss world affairs and the needs of the country with African leaders. Also, his itinerary for the trip is present.

Stars for Freedom 1967

This magazine highlights celebrities who have contributed to the Civil Rights Movement as well as the contributions of SCLC and other programs across America. Featured in the article is statement by SCLC President, Dr. King.

Statement on Nobel and Catholic Interracial Council Awards

John A. McDermott, Executive Director of the Catholic Interracial Council, lauds Dr. King's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize and announces that the Council is awarding King its John F. Kennedy Award.

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson about VISTA Director

Dr. King writes President Johnson recommending that Dr. Maurice Dawkins become the new director of VISTA.

The Stresses of the White Female Worker in the Civil Rights Movement in the South

Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint describes social and psychological stresses that white female civil rights workers encounter in both their living and working conditions in the American South in the 1960's.