- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
Fifty years ago this week, on March 1, 196l, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924, which marked the official beginning of the Peace Corps. In his inaugural address, President Kennedy had proclaimed: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." The program began recruiting in July, 1962.. In the years since the Peace Corps was established, over 200,000 Americans have chosen to dedicate two years (and sometimes more) of their lives, serving in 139 countries. These young Americans became ambassadors of a different kind for the United States, whether living in rural villages or large cities. During intensive training, the volunteers received instruction in the native language, and spent many hours learning about the history and culture of the country where they would be serving.
Many volunteers have written books about their experiences. Here are some titles available at King Library: Living Poor, by Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador); Monique and the Mango Rains, by Kris Holloway (Mali); The Unheard: a Memoir of Deafness and Africa by Josh Swiller (Zambia); and Away from Home: Letters to My Family, by Lillian Carter and Gloria Carter Spann (India.) As you may remember, Lillian Carter was President Carter's mother.
During the month of March and continuing for several months thereafter, commemorative celebrations will be held all across the country, including at UCLA, Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley. The public is invited to attend these events, to meet returned Peace Corps Volunteers and hear about their experiences in their host countries. The Peace Corps is now sending volunteers to 77 countries around the world. To learn more about the Peace Corps, you can visit their website at www.peacecorps.gov.