50 Years Ago Today: JFK Authorizes Peace Corps

On March 1, 1961, Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy signed Exec­u­tive Order 10924, offi­cial­ly autho­riz­ing the estab­lish­ment of an “agency in the Depart­ment of State which shall be known as the Peace Corps.” Fifty years lat­er, that Agency has sent more than 200,000 vol­un­teers to over 93 coun­tries.

A note:  If you’ve ever won­dered about all those CIA-Peace Corps con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, lis­ten to the Nation­al Archives’ fas­ci­nat­ing audio and tran­script of a con­ver­sa­tion between JFK and his broth­er-in-law R. Sar­gent Shriv­er, the Peace Corps’ first Direc­tor (and Maria Shriver’s grand­fa­ther), dis­cussing “pos­si­ble CIA pen­e­tra­tion” of the Agency.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

JFK Revis­it­ed on YouTube

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.